This article was originally posted to T Ching in July of 2013

To foster a corporate culture of inclusion and acceptance in the workplace, tea needs equal time in the break room. It is as simple as that. Anyone who enjoys a morning or afternoon tea break should not feel they have to hide their habit from their coffee-drinking counterparts. Why should coffee drinkers get a new superautomatic espresso machine with cappuccino capabilities and tea drinkers get a warehouse-size box of bagged tea on a shelf in the corner?

A break is a break no matter what beverage you prefer to sip. As more offices upgrade their coffee service to keep up with rising employee expectations (often called the Starbucks effect), it is high time to give tea its due in U.S. offices. When the right technique and equipment combine, tea can appeal to even the most staunch coffee drinkers. Let’s make tea the next strategic initiative.

First of all, operationalize tea brewing for quality results! Focus on the basics to brew a good cup of tea that you will be happy to drink and proud to share with coworkers. Start with fresh filtered water, not tap water. This will eliminate impurities and additives that can make your tea taste off, like chlorine and fluoride. Next, use a kettle to boil the filtered water. This allows for aeration and a fresher taste compared to a microwave that can make water taste flat. Finally, loose leaf tea will yield a more enjoyable taste than bagged teas, which, in general, use lesser quality tea leaves.

To maximize these universal tea making truths, check out sample set-ups for the home office, the corner office and every cubicle in between.

For the Solo Sipper

Have an underutilized corner of your desk? An electric kettle and stainless steel infuser allows you to enjoy a spot of tea–on the spot! This works equally well with a small French press or a combination travel mug and press. You’re the boss and you get to decide what’s brewing.

Tea is My Favorite Co-Worker

Have two to five tea drinkers? A shared tea station among multiple coworkers allows for more choices. Try an auto-brewer like the Breville One-Touch Tea Maker. It saves time by making up to 41 ounces of loose leaf tea at the push of a button. This is about the same volume as a standard coffee maker. Refills anyone?

We’re Going to Need A Bigger Mug

Larger corporations like Microsoft have micro kitchens interspersed throughout their headquarters. Even a micro kitchen has room for the Curtis WB5GT Digital Hot Water Dispenser. This commercial water tower is only 9.25 inches wide and can hold up to 5 gallons of hot water. You can program the temperature and it has aeration for fresher tasting water. Now that is handy to have on tap for all types of tea drinkers. Don’t be surprised if you catch someone using it for instant oatmeal, cup o’noodles or Americano coffee drinkers too.

Economies of Scale

Your office is big and your employees are thirsty! What’s brewing in your corporate cafe? Most commercial style coffee makers also come equipped with a dedicated hot water spigot and so do most commercial espresso machines. This answers the question of quantity but where is the quality you ask? Up employee morale to new heights with the latest American-made marvel, the Alpha Dominche Steampunk 4.0. It brews tea (and coffee) with a siphon brewing system that is fun to watch and delicious to drink.

There is always room for ingenui-tea in the workplace. And in case you were wondering about Seattle Coffee Gear, our company includes coffee and tea drinkers too. The break room is stocked with black, green, white and herbals along with coffees–and the synergy is win-win. Happy employees are the best employees!

Featured Image courtesy of Jomphong of freedigitalphotos.net