Tea Time with Lu Ann: Inspiration for Tea Lovers

Q: What’s your background in the tea industry?

A: Aside from being a self-proclaimed teaaholic since I was about 7 years old, I am also a tea blogger and author. For the past 7 years, I’ve been writing the award winning tea blog, The Cup of Life, where I share my steeped stories, tea infused recipes, crafts and tea tips to show the world just how wonderful and versatile the beverage of tea truly is.

I wrote and published my first book, Tea-spiration: Inspirational Words for Tea Lovers, in November 2016. It celebrates all of the (big and small) moments we experience with tea. There are times I consultant with companies on their tea marketing, as it is another profession of mine.

Q: What do you appreciate about tea?

A: I appreciate that tea offers me a moment to slow down, because it's not something that can be done fast. Also, one of my most favorite things about tea (aside from the taste) is the connection it provides. Tea brings people together and whether it is family, close friends or even online tea friends, I will forever be grateful for the relationships that are partially all because of tea. 

Q: What do you enjoy doing while drinking tea?

A: I drink tea throughout the day so often I either have a cup by my side while I'm working, making/eating food, reading or even watching Netflix. During all of those activities, tea provides a sense of calm and relaxation. But, I think my ultimate favorite thing to do while drinking tea is absolutely nothing. I truly love the moments when it can be just me and my tea -- sitting, sipping and just focusing on the beverage in front of me and those behind the scenes and responsible for the leaves that are in my cup. This simple act was one of the inspirations behind writing my book, Tea-spiration. Through my writing, I wanted to help others enjoy my favorite way of drinking tea.

Q: What are some of your favorite tea brands/sellers?

A: Since I drink a lot of tea, I don't always settle on just a few tea brands, but I do have some favorites for specific types of teas. For instance, I'm passionate about helping fellow tea drinkers find high quality, authentic matcha without the high price, and I always share these five brands that are at the top of my list. Another example is for oolongs, which is probably my favorite type of tea. I've always had amazing experiences with Tea Ave, and Tillerman Tea, just to name a couple. As a tea writer, I'm on the look out for new brands, and am always willing to try something new. 

Q: How would you encourage someone to start drinking tea?

A: I think everyone should start drinking tea (and continue doing so) however they like. Don't feel like you have to begin with loose leaf tea because tea bags can be frowned upon. Don't feel like you have to start with matcha because it's been very trendy these days. Follow your own taste buds. Drink what you enjoy, even if that means a very milky cup of tea that is essentially liquid sugar (that was my first tea experience!). I fear that if people start trying to drink tea because they want to "teatox" or want to listen to tea snobbery, they'll be turned away from one bad experience. There are many different teas out in the world, luckily, and I firmly believe there is a tea for everyone. 

Q: What health benefits have you experienced from your tea routine?

A: I love tea and have been drinking it for years, but never really focused on the physical health benefits of tea. I consider whatever they may be, to just be a bonus to tea. I do, however, notice that tea is a great stress reliever as it is something that can require more attention and when we focus on one thing, our minds are off of the other 5 million things we seem to usually have to think about. I also feel that tea, especially with my routine, enhances my creativity. I find it is always easier to write or design with a cup of tea by my side. 

Q: Five years from now, what direction do you see the tea industry headed?

A: I see the consumption of tea continuing to grow, not only by drinking but also through tea infused food items. There is no doubt that the health benefits of tea is a hot topic for many, and I think people will be interested in consuming more of the whole leaf tea, as they do with matcha, to reap the entire benefits. I also see loose leaf tea on the rise, not just because of quality, but also because of environmental impacts. Teabags are a popular choice, especially when you want something convenient, but the way they are manufactured with plastic, bleach, strings, etc., are not the best. I think tea drinkers will become more aware of how their favourite steeps are packaged and affecting the planet. My one big hope is that tea education will be on the rise and tea drinkers will be more mindful when preparing and enjoying their cup of tea. So much goes on behind the scenes, with the tea farms, workers, that should not be unnoticed. 

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