It’s a fact known to be true that people are enamored and drawn to the undeniable allure of Chingkeetea, whose combination of tea and art successfully paved its way from a small teashop to becoming a trademark in the city.

Behind all its design quirks and authentic tea that customers always come back to is Sharee Mae Uy Te, known by everyone as Chingkee, a young entrepreneur who embodies simply everything that her shop stands for. So how did Chingkee really manage to achieve a fusion which seems impossible for us all? Ahead, take a peek at a newly renovated Chingkeetea branch and find out how creativity, faith, art and business collide. 

What was the inspiration behind Chingkeetea? How did it start?

The idea of Chingkeetea was first conceived right after I graduated from college. I wanted to put up a cafe where i can display my artworks and create d-i-y decors. During that time, the milk tea industry in manila was thriving,while there was none yet in CDO. Also, i don't drink coffee hehe so, i decided to put up a milk tea cafe. I prayed to God about it and asked for His "go" signal. A few months after, I traveled to Taiwan to take up a Bubble Tea training course (yes, may ganun hehe). It took me 8 months before this idea came to fruition. We opened March of 2012.

Out of all your work so far, which piece is your favorite?

It would probably be this huge paper artwork I created for Chingkeetea. It was a self-portrait that didn't really look like me, but it took me around 8 hours to complete and gave me back pain that lasted for 2 days. I liked how it got me to go out of my comfort zone. It was one of my biggest artworks. It went missing when we moved out of our old branch in Marfori and moved to the one in Pimentel house.

As an artist, what is your greatest motivation to keep on creating? 

I'll be a little cheesy about this, hehe. I believe God has given each of us talents and skills, and they're there for a purpose. We should use them for His glory and to bless the people around us. 

Was there a time in your life when you felt you wanted to give up your craft?

There are times when I feel exhausted, and I think it's pretty normal for entrepreneurs to feel this way. But so far, I have not come to that point of actually quitting. I think the key is to being passionate about your craft, like the legit kind. I think we have to learn how to discern if it's really passion (something you're willing to fight and wake up for each day) or just something you want to follow to look cool (or if it's just for the profits). If it's the latter, you're bound to give up the moment it forced you to go out of your comfort zone.

We all know how successful Chingkeetea is as tea house/big art piece. How does this success feel like now?

It still feels surreal that we're turning 5 next year. Kinikilig pa din whenever I see old familiar faces (and new one). I feel blessed and humbled because I know that I have so many flaws and I've made some wrong decisions, and yet, God has brought us this far. It's always been Him carrying us.

Who are the artists that inspired your art? Do you have any muse?

I don't have any specific artist in mind but i find inspiration in random things.

What's an advice you can give to budding artists and young entrepreneurs out there?

Again, the talents and skills you have now are there for a purpose. Use it to be a blessing to the people around you.

I hold this verse close to my heart:

"Observe the commands of the Lord your God, walking in obedience to him and revering him.  For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land — a land with brooks, streams, and deep springs gushing out into the valleys and hills;... When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day. You may say to yourself, 'My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.' But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today." - Deuteronomy 8:6-7, 10-11,17-18

What's next for Chingkeetea and Chingkee Te?

I don't have any concrete plans yet, but definitely more artistic ventures :))


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