Getting into conversations about tea has definitely been an ice breaker for me on more than one occasion. It’s funny how, as soon as you mention you are into tea, other tea lovers immediately open up.
On one occasion, I was attending a work-related event where I didn’t really know anyone. I was there to get some information about a specific event, so I was planning to find out what I needed to know and then head out. However, despite my sneaky strategy, I ended up in a corner talking to someone I had never met, and with whom it seemed I had nothing in common. When they asked what I did, I mumbled something about dance, choreography, and writing, and, when they asked me what sort of writing, I said oh this and that, stuff related to my dance…oh, and I also write for a tea blog. “Tea?” they exclaimed, “I am a huge tea drinker!” Needless to say, we didn’t waste any more time on small talk and plunged right in. I discovered that they were particularly partial to Assams, that they didn’t really mind which flush (“they’re different for sure, but all good”), and that the only tea they really couldn’t stand was pu-erh.
Another time, I was with a dance colleague from Argentina. They are not that confident with their English, despite it being absolutely fine, and as a consequence they do not usually initiate conversations (sadly, I do not speak any Spanish). But as I was sipping a cup of tea one day (Genmaicha, if I remember correctly), they exclaimed that Genmaicha was one of their favourite teas. They had no idea I liked it too, or any other tea for that matter. Suddenly we discovered that we had a whole new way to relate to one another, despite not always having the words to do so.
Tea brings people together, but it doesn’t have to be while you’re drinking it. Just finding out that someone else is into tea can be a conversation starter and I’ve found that makes a good first step to connecting with someone.
See more of Elise Nuding’s articles here.
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