By Niya Vatel, Tea and I
As we in the tea industry know, drinking tea is much more than simply pouring hot water over a tea bag from your local grocery store. The practice of drinking tea can be a gateway to communing with yourself and, in the right setting, it creates space for you to reach a new level of intention, reflection and mindfulness.
In its simplest form, a tea ritual is a ritualized, ceremonial way of preparing and drinking tea. Tea rituals, in fact, are common in China, Korea and Japan. You can also find traditional tea drinking principles or a “tea culture” outside of Asia, with Millennials in the U.K. and U.S. developing a booming tea culture of their own.
How to Create a Tea Ritual?
For the tea industry, encouraging your customers to start tea rituals is vital. Or, you may simply want to start a tea ritual yourself, if you haven’t already. Here are some tips and advice.
When creating a tea ritual, start with the cup. Choose your favorite mug or tea brewing set, preferably one that has meaning for you. Then, choose your tea. Keep it in a special container or location, one that is visually appealing and helps you treat your tea ritual as a sacred time. It’s also important to make sure you understand how to brew your chosen tea blend to ensure optimal flavor. Lastly, design your space and set aside some time.
When Is the Right Time to Have a Tea Ritual?
Choose a time of day that will allow you to best connect with yourself and your environment and be present in the moment. If morning is your optimal time, consider setting your intensions for the day, conducting a visualization exercise, or choosing to meditate on what you’re grateful for.
While afternoon tea may not be as popular, taking a mindful break in the middle of the day may be just what you need to promote productivity and give you renewed energy to finish your day.
A nighttime tea ritual may include options for winding down and releasing stress, including teas with valerian root, chamomile, lavender or skullcap, to name a few that may help reduce anxiety, stress, and insomnia.
No matter what time of day you choose, it’s important to check in with yourself to understand what your body, heart, and mind need in that moment. You can lend all of your senses to not only preparing the tea, but to enjoying every part of the process, using your five senses to get into the habit of staying present.
Tea Ritual Tips to Engage Your Five Senses Include:
- Watching the tea leaves unfurl in your cup and the colors change while steeping.
- Paying attention to what the herbs smell like before and after adding water or lighting your favorite candle or incense.
- Creating a playlist of go-to songs that help you wind down. (One of my personal favorites is “In a Sentimental Mood” by Duke Ellington and John Coltrane.)
- Experimenting with different sweeteners. Try different recipes to enhance the flavor of various herbs, or pair your tea with your favorite dessert.
- Getting as comfortable as possible. Select the seating or clothing that will make you the most relaxed.
- Sipping consciously. Every sip can be a rejuvenating moment to enjoy!
- Staying flexible. No part of your ritual has to be set in stone. Feel free to tweak your plans based on your needs at the moment.
Tea rituals don’t take a lot of time to create and can be a source of calm, as well as a great reminder to slow down. Encourage your customers to create their own tea rituals, and offer your own advice for creating a tea moment. Overall, tea is a self-care indulgence that’s affordable and can help put one’s mind, body and spirit into alignment. Happy sipping!
Niya Vatel is the owner of the tea brand Tea and I, which promotes integrating tea to support healthy lifestyle choices and create moments of mindfulness. She’s also a resume writer and career coach by day and tea connoisseur by night, who studies the power of tea for pleasure and medicinal purposes.