Many of us at times have wondered how to become a tea drinker, or how to be a better tea drinker. Perhaps we’re bored with our usual beverage (like I was) or perhaps you have a different aim? It doesn’t mean you want to suddenly be a tea sommelier! …perhaps you just want to dip your toe …in tea!
Whatever the reason, there are some simple steps you can take to begin your tea journey. And I’ve added in some tips and some of my experience in here too.
Here’s how to become a tea drinker…
- Be firm in your mind on “why” you want to drink tea
- Experiment with flavors and brewing methods to find one initially that suits you
- Gather any special equipment to aid the learning and enjoyment
- Get opinions from avid tea drinkers on the best options
- Build tea into a habit
- Enjoy your tea in a relaxing environment
- Share your experience with others
- Take a short tea course to increase your breadth of knowledge and understanding
- For advanced tea drinking, try pairing tea with foods that complement it
They say happiness is a cup of tea, and if you’re ready to explore this happiness then you’re in the right place.
Let’s get into some steps you can take to either begin your tea drinking journey, or take your tea drinking, and expertise to the next level, starting with the first step which involves being firm in your mind…
Be firm in your mind – follow your “Why”
The key to starting anything is to get your mindset down on why you want to start a specific thing or habit.
This mindset is important for lots of new hobbies or adventures that you start. It’s your “game face!” Right?
So if you have a specific reason why you want to start drinking tea, identify it, give it a flag …and head toward it!
This also makes it easy for you to focus, and (at least initially) narrow down what types of teas or what brewing method would suit you best.
And even though I offer some suggestions later (and in my tea sommelier course), start with what interests you – not what others think you should start with.
Perhaps you liked that white tea you tried? …then why not start there?
Spend some time getting an overview on the types of tea
For example, knowing there are four (ish) types of true teas is a start, but there are just so many variables out there, with so many variables there’s always something new to try.
But not all types of tea are the same. The health benefits, flavor profiles, and other properties of tea vary from one another.
So if you want to become a tea drinker to move over from coffee, for example, then you might want to steer clear of tea varieties that are high in caffeine such as white tea.
Or if you want to drink tea for a specific benefit or flavor, or a specific tea variety, then you might want to narrow down the search to teas that best suit your goals and then start trying.
TEAHOW TIP: Having a “why” you want to drink tea really helps. Is it because you want to reduce caffeine? Are you starting a new health regime? Whatever the reason is; get clear on it and let it drive your choice and your journey. It can be simple; for me, it was simply down to the boredom of store-bought teabags!
Experiment with flavors and brewing methods
Just like coffee …or actually, more than coffee … tea has so many varieties that you’ll be spoilt for choice.
You won’t like every tea
Lots of variety also means that you’re unlikely to love every single tea out there, but you will probably find some tea … or one tea … that you’ll fall in love with before too long.
Your taste buds are your best guide for this, so while experimenting, you’ll know which teas to keep in mind, and which ones to discard – perhaps for reviewing again later.
Many of the responses to my global tea survey (over 66%) said they got into tea because of the taste. But it’s not all about taste, a good portion of respondents (over 29%) said they also pay special attention to the branding of tea, so for many, it’s about not only taste …but an overall lifestyle, and creating a greater and wider enjoyment for themselves.
Experiment with brewing methods
The same applies to brewing methods. There are many brewing methods for tea, unlike coffee. And will experimenting with different brewing methods make a difference? absolutely yes.
The perfect flavor of any tea comes as a result of an equally perfect brewing method.
From the right water temperature to the right steep time, it’s all minor tweaks but goes a long way in making a cup of tea an absolute delight.
Even getting it wrong means you’ll end up learning some great brewing methods as well. And even builders like a certain type of tea!
TEAHOW TIP: If you’re not a “detail type of person”, then don’t get hung up straight away on all the minutiae of tea preparation and brewing. If you’re getting near the mark on the brewing then you won’t be far wrong. You can get perfect later.
When I started exploring teas, I found people tried to overcomplicate them. Tea doesn’t have to be complicated.
Gather some special equipment to enhance the journey
If you’re new to teas, then keep it simple, maybe start with a standard teapot, with a tea strainer and some loose leaf tea. That’s all you need, and they’re readily available, here’s a simple modern teapot from amazon complete with infusers as an example starting point!
If you are looking to get fully into the Chinese tea method, then start with a Kung Fu set like this one. I actually do own this set and it’s a great starting point. It has everything you need to get going … apart from the actual tea of course!
If simple tea tasting is your thing, then aside from the cup and the loose leaf tea, you only need this one simple item to get started. It’s a simple tasting cup and away you go! In fact, this set even has the drinking cup with it.
I should just caveat that by saying you may need a tea strainer for some of the finer cut teas.
So it doesn’t have to start expensive.
If you really get into it, well then you can “geek out” about it all later and add further to your equipment.
Like I have a superb kettle with tea settings so it makes it to the exact temperature!
Get opinions from avid tea drinkers
A great way to learn about tea and tea varieties is simply by asking people who have gone through the whole process before you.
They can impart the benefits of their experience.
So if you know someone who is a tea-head, then let them know your aims (your why – see above) and learn from their experience.
In terms of flavors or benefits, this can help with some shortcuts for people on how to become a tea drinker …from someone who knows more about tea. Even to start by getting a few beginner teas to try.
If you have issues with any particular brewing style or methodology, then you can always observe people and learn or even ask them how to do it right. Or simply change the style!
Build tea into a habit
Starting anything is easy …but consistency is key to sustain a habit.
So always find ways in which you can incorporate tea as a replacement to another activity – even if that activity is “doing nothing!” that’ll help turn your tea drinking into a habit more than an occasional drink.
So for example, if you typically start your day with a coffee, or have a sweet treat in the evening, try replacing these with a tea that’ll best match the drink/food in replacement. See my guide on the best teas to drink in the morning as a starting point.
So if you want a caffeine punch to kick start your morning, consider black tea, which has the highest caffeine content.
And if you want to eat a lemon cheesecake in the evening, consider lemon tea or anything that goes along the same lines of flavor, mint, or peppermint tea.
Although you may find it difficult at the start to create this habit, once it becomes a routine, you’ll always keep looking forward to that daily cuppa.
Enjoy your tea in a relaxing environment
Tea is unique in many ways, one of those is it can be both a social drink or a solitary drink. But either way, adding in a positive environment to the experience will only serve to make you enjoy it more and want more of it!
For the social side of tea, there’s plenty you can do when it comes to group tea drinking.
You can organize a tea tasting session with friends or family. I tell you the simple 8 step way of doing this in my easy Tea Sommelier Course …complete with a quick reference guide.
So host a tea tasting, or take it along when hanging out with your friends on a picnic, and so on.
EIther way, tea is a happy drink. It’s a drink to have to be calm and relaxed – in good company, or to savor alone.
The full loose leaf tea experience is nothing like the coffee experience. It should rarely be rushed on the way to work, or taken “to go”!
So try drinking your evening tea outside in the back yard with the light evening breeze or in a pleasant social environment with a friend, either will give you enough relaxation to enjoy the real texture of your tea.
Share your experience with others
As many of us know, often the best way to learn is to teach. So even when you’ve acquired some starting knowledge, share it with someone.
Not because you’re suddenly a tea expert, but because it will help cement the learning in your mind, and it will also throw up questions that you’ll want to find the answers too as well.
It also adds to the enthusiasm. Suddenly, your interest is coming alive, so that’s what you do now … “you drink tea and you know things!”
Take a short and easy tea course
You can get an enormous head start just by gaining some essential knowledge and skills to start you off.
And I’ve set out with the intention of making tea an easy subject to get into. So take my course and give yourself a good grounding to impress your friends and family with!
Take the fast track to become a tea connoisseur
Whether for enjoyment or considering a career as a tea sommelier. This course has everything you need to enhance your tea knowledge and tea tasting skills.
This course keeps it simple with step by step tea tasting, and easy reference guides
For pleasure, or as a precursor to a career in the tea industry. Find out what a tea sommelier actually does, career paths, and what they earn.
Find out more about the Teahow Tea Sommelier Course!
Find out more about the Teahow Tea Sommelier Course!
Try Pairing your tea with food
Sometimes, the best tea experience comes with the food you pair tea up with. I mean milk and cookies or wine and cheese rarely goes wrong … right?
Similarly, there are different foods – or even snacks – like dunking biscuits that you can pair up with your teas.
This gives a great way to elevate the flavors of both your tea and your food. And what a great all round occasion to offer if someone joins you?
To set you off, black teas with their robust flavors pair well with hearty, rich proteins like roast meats such as beef, lamb, and venison.
Black tea also goes well with heavy pasta dishes like lasagna.
On the other hand, Green teas with their earthy, vegetative palettes combine well with vegetarian dishes, salads, mild green curries, and even light chicken dishes.
If you enjoy a strong milk tea, masala tea, or any other types of milk tea, try dunking (yes I said dunking!) biscuits that go well with these flavors. For example, many enjoy dunking rusks in masala chai.
Always remember there is a no-hard set rule for tea, it’s all about pleasing your taste buds.
The journey of how to become a tea drinker…
So this is how to become a tea drinker. Failing to have some kind of starting point, or settling into something early on means you might end up randomly jumping from tea to tea and getting bored, or hitting more mundane experiences.
It might sound like using a sledgehammer to crack a nut, and you don’t want the journey to be too rigid or it might get boring. But it just helps to have some kind of direction.
Don’t let a bad tea put you off…
I’m all for testing things out, but a total scattergun approach to flavors, brewing styles, and benefits might just get you all confused. Or worse still – overwhelmed due to the wealth of brewing styles, benefits, and tastes on the market. Then one bad tea and you might just throw in the towel!
Of course, if you’re the kind who simply must sample a host of different types and flavors and want to experiment …then sure go ahead.
But once you hit on a style or flavor that appeals to you, try spending some time exploring the intricacies of that tea a little before moving on.
You’ll be glad you did as this will help you compare it to other similar types far more easily.