Teance Team

FuTung Cheng is a co-founder of Teance, along with Winnie Yu and Peter Li, who were all close friends. Winnnie Yu was the driving force of Teance, beginning in 2002, with her dedication to obtaining the highest quality teas from artisan farmers–often in remote locations.

Many of the teas that Teance customers enjoy today were sourced by Winnie. The relationships with the farmers and producers were earned with trust and hard work. She passed away in 2017, but today the company is carrying forward classic traditions that Teance had begun, but with a modern flair.

FuTung was the original designer of the brand and graphics, establishing the “look andfeel” of the brand. This includes all of the iterations of the company’s tea shops, first on Solano, called Celedon, then Teance on Fourth Street in Berkeley until 2019, and now on Grayson Street. He is the principal and architect of Cheng Design, handling primarily residential architectural design as well as commercial design projects. He is well known for his award winning artistic and modern aesthetic designs of concrete homes.

FuTung is from Los Angeles, California. He was first introduced to tea, in particular high quality Baochong tea, following Tai Chi practice with Grandmaster Y. C. Chiang. Drinking tea is considered an important health practice in Martial Arts.

“I usually use a teapot or a Gaiwan for my daily tea. Typically I drink Baochong for its fresh spring bouquet aroma; Lu Shan Clouds and Mist for its fresh cut grass, light and airy aroma; or Ali Shan unroasted, for its clean, rich fields of hay, and earthy aroma.

“The most important thing to me about tea is that it has great taste, is clean and salubrious!”

FuTung Cheng - Co-Founder Teance and Principal Cheng Design


Robert Vincent has been the Chief Operating Officer of Teance since 2019 and was an early investor in the company. He is originally from the Great Plains. After meeting Winnie Yu, the original co-founder, and learning of her plans to develop a company dedicated to sourcing and selling the highest quality teas primarily from small, artisan tea farmers throughout Asia, he decided to get involved.

After her untimely passing in 2017, and a series of management changes, he was asked by other shareholders to assume management control. He currently owns and previously managed a successful financial services firm in the Bay Area for many years. That business is run by his wife and son.

Winnie first introduced Robert to high quality tea when they first met in the early 2000's. He was not raised as a tea drinker.

He doesn’t have a specific ritual but usually drinks tea in the afternoon–to take a break and relax. He prefers teas that have a variety of flavor profiles and complexities. He enjoys exploring the flavor notes and differences in teas that are similar to those in wine tasting.

His personal philosophy about tea:

“Tea is an important element in many cultures. As a result, it can both help bind cultures together and be used to bring different cultures together.”

He can’t live without a gaiwan, a porcelain server and a tea master. Still a coffee drinker, he wakes up with coffee to start his day then switches to tea in the afternoon and evening.

“Our commitment to quality is demonstrated in several ways: We only buy in small lots in order to keep tea stocks as fresh as possible. We label our tea as wine is labeled, i.e., by the type of tea, location where it is grown, specific harvest, and, unlike wine, serving (steeping) recommendations”. 

“We are very concerned about the provenance of our teas. We buy direct from artisan farmers through painstakingly earned relationships that took many years. And our staff are genuine tea enthusiasts. Our customers understand this and it’s important to them.”

“I feel very fortunate to be involved in the stewardship of Teance and keeping its mission alive.

Teance customers appreciate quality and are very loyal as long as we continue to uphold our standards—which we intend to do!”

Robert Vincent - CEO


Chih Hui Burns 黃智慧, Teance's Tea Buyer, is the bridge between our skilled tea farmers and producers and our Teance customers. She brings their handcrafted, artisanal teas to our customer's cups. ChihHui has been with Teance since 2003. She was raised in a tea growing region in Taiwan famous for its Oolongs. Growing up in Taiwan, most people around her were drinking tea –it was part of daily life. Her upbringing and exposure to some of the best Oolongs in the world naturally immersed her into tea culture, and firmly entrenched tea drinking into her life. As an example, in Taiwan she would be offered a good cup of tea while waiting for her car to be fixed at the auto mechanic.

In 2003, Chih Hui continued adding to her tea knowledge and experiences by joining Teance. Teance was a warm and friendly environment for her. The community of Teance (colleagues and customers) made her feel welcomed as a new immigrant. Now, Teance is still an open and friendly place to socialize with others through tea drinking.

“I drink primarily Oolongs, but I do enjoy other types of teas depending on the weather and how my body feels. I brew my tea in a Gaiwan at home, which my young daughter uses as well. Sometimes I drink tea with my Iranian neighbors, who have completely different tea rituals. We have a good time sharing tea without preaching about one style of tea drinking over another. Although, after showing them how I brew tea, my neighbors recently started using a Gaiwan and practicing Gongfu style. Everyone should find their own comfortable way of tea drinking and tea rituals!”

A number of years ago a customer shared with her that he felt that tea learning was an “Infinite Journey”. Chih Hui was in total agreement with that assessment, and she is still learning about tea everyday from customers, friends, and fellow associates.“

~Tea is more than a drink, but a lifestyle品的不只是茶, 更是一種生活方式~”

Chih Hui Burns - Teance Tea Director and Operations Manager


Sonia Hernandez is the Director of Quality Control for Teance and the company’s first employee! She has been with Teance since its founding in 2002. Sonia is responsible for the company’s quality and inventory control ensuring that only the finest quality teas get into the hands of our customers. She takes great pains to make sure that our customers only receive the best and on time. She is a Teance treasure and cares deeply about the company. 

A native of El Salvador, she grew up in a coffee drinking household. Through her exposure to fine teas during her long tenure with Teance, she has developed such a sophisticated tea palette that she helps the team determine which teas to carry and which producers have the best tasting teas or harvest.

Sonia prepares her tea with a Gaiwan or a teapot. She likes just about all teas. She does not think it’s unusual for her to be a tea drinker instead of a coffee drinker even though she is from one of the most famous coffee regions in the world.

When asked what she likes about working at Teance, she says: “The people are ‘mucho gusto’ (a pleasure). And I love tea!”

Sonia Hernandez - Director of Quality Control


I-ting Su works in the Teance tea shop and assists with internet sales. She started in December of 2021. She, like Chih Hui Burns, (our Tea Buyer) are both from Taiwan, and she grew up drinking delicious Oolong teas native to her country. She was introduced to tea by her parents and they drank tea every day. Her tea drinking style is simple, just a big tea cup and refilling it often!

“The Teance customers are so friendly. We have special events and tea tastings and I enjoy being part of teaching new and experienced tea drinkers abouttea and tea practice. My favorite teas are Oolongs but I branch out and try new teas all the time. After all, It is more than a drink, tea really is a way of life.”

I-ting Su -Tea Shop Sommelier and Internet Sales