Tea Time with Lauren: Improve Your Mental Health
Q: What’s your background in the tea industry?
A: I don't have a formal background in the tea industry, but I have loved tea for as long as I can remember. I got my first tea set when I was 3 or 4, and used to pour little cups of tea in the yard for my stuffed animals. My mom and I would make sun tea in a large jug on hot days. As I grew older, I got a job in a cafe, where I had an endless supply of both tea and coffee to sustain me. Tea got me through three cold Massachusetts winters and a stint working in an over-air-conditioned high rise. Now, I collect vintage tea cups and try to keep a well-stocked tea cupboard at all times.
Q: What do you appreciate about tea?
A: I love that there is a variety of tea for every occasion - whether I need a jolt of caffeine in the morning, something soothing when I'm not feeling well, or a warm cup on a cold day, there's a tea that will fit the bill. I also love how social tea-drinking is, and how it has a long history of bringing people together to chat and relax.
Q: What do you enjoy doing while drinking tea?
A: I'm a knitter, and for as long as I've been knitting, I've been doing it with a hot cup of tea by my side.
Q: What are some of your favorite tea brands/sellers?
A: There is a tea shop in Harvard Square in Cambridge, Massachusetts called Tealuxe. It feels like something transported to the present from 300 years ago. They have an entire wall of drawers filled with tea and you can buy it by the ounce. Buying tea there is a real treat.
Q: How would you encourage someone to start drinking tea?
A: The best way to encourage somebody to try something new is to do it with them. If I discovered a friend of mine had never tried tea, I'd invite her over for a tea party as soon as possible.
Q: What health benefits have you experienced from your tea routine?
A: For me, tea is more about mental health than physical health. It's an opportunity to take a break in my day, slow down for a cherished ritual, sit quietly while enjoying a warm drink, and reset my brain.
Q: Five years from now, what direction do you see the tea industry headed?
A: I don't have any particular insider information, but I've noticed over the last decade or so that there has been a steady increase in the variety and quality of teas available for the average shopper. I hope that trend continues.