This article was originally posted to T Ching in August of 2015.
When we encounter something new that we want to add to our lives, it is only normal that we also want to share it with others. It starts almost as an obsession sometimes, as if we are “spreading the gospel.”
Tea has that effect on us as well, especially good tea.
We tea drinkers have a way of getting so passionate about tea and have all the fancy utensils and methods that now we are just looking for some doors to start knocking on.
Before you become a Teahovah’s Witness, let’s go over some basics that make it more likely that they will listen, and hopefully start trying tea themselves as well.
Step 1: Find a great tea that is really worth sharing.
If you want to convince someone that traveling is great, don’t take them to Arizona in August. Giving tea a fair chance is important too. Arizona is great, but one may not think so when it is 115 degrees out. Pu’er Tea is great, but one may not think so when it is a poorly processed ripe version that tastes like Grandma’s basement.
For your own sake and the sake of your friends, buy great tea and drink great tea. Give yourself a little cooling off period when you sit with each tea. If you are still crazy about it after a few days, then it’s a good tea to present to a friend. And try to present a tea that they may like as well. If you know they love sweet drinks but have never tried tea, maybe its best to offer them a sweeter tea from the beginning. If they like the tea, give them a baggy to take home and enjoy and maybe study on their own.
Step 2: Educate without intimidating.
So you know the exact altitude of the mountain and the annual rainfall of the region? Great. When sitting with anything new, however, we want it to be accessible and not overwhelming. Sure, let them know that the world of tea is so much bigger than this cup or this variety, but also bring it to a level that they can relate to. Show them what tea can do for them. Pour them a great raw Pu’er tea and ask them how they feel now versus a few minutes ago. Calmer? Stir up a matcha tea and ask them if they feel like they have more energy.
Once we see tea as more than just a beverage, it starts to sink in. “Wow, this whole tea thing is more than I thought it was.” That’s a great place to start. Plant the seed and be there to water it along the way. They will definitely have questions, and it will be fun when they start making tea purchases on their own to share with you later too.
Step 3: Enhance the moment with tea.
Tea is so much more than a beverage, it is truly a lifestyle. It is a moment of calmness in the afternoon. It is a breath before a big meeting or a wind-down after a long day.
Tea has been poured billions of times for strangers meeting strangers or fathers meeting sons. Showing your friend that tea is actually an event is huge.
They will find a new beverage that is so much more honest than any other. It’s more exciting than water, more humble than coffee, and more honest than liquor. Sharing tea with someone is unlike any experience. Share this moment with your friend and watch what comes out, and maybe point it out to them so that they see the beauty in conversation and the clarity of mind that came from this moment.
Remember, the key is to find great tea first and make sure it is clean and worth sharing. In sharing tea, you will have a beautiful new connection with someone who you may not have otherwise. All this and you are paying it forward for whomever first introduced you to tea.