The Ritual of Tea Time at Orbitkey

The Ritual of Tea Time at Orbitkey

Firstly, why tea time?

Every week, the team at Orbitkey gather around our meeting space for a morning ritual known to us as “tea time,” complete with a rotating host known as the “tea master.” While we share stories from the weekend, the tea master selects the tea and tea time begins with a unique story behind their tea choice for the day. From there, we discuss our week, update each other on our tasks and goals while planning for the projects ahead.

“When you’re the tea master, you have to sell the tea to everyone. I would say, for example, ‘This tea is from my ancestors in Switzerland, and it has to be brewed at exactly 98 degrees. You have to be enthusiastic about it and remember to have fun .”’

The origins of tea time at Orbitkey began when we first launched in 2013. Thanks to the help of 4961 backers on Kickstarter, the founders; Charles and Rex, left their jobs, packed their suitcases, and travelled for 3 months in China - bringing the dream to life.

After visiting numerous suppliers across the vast and expansive land, one key experience stood out - drinking tea. Each owner would greet Charles and Rex with warmth and kindly invite them to join in drinking tea at their uniquely customised tea-table with intricately detailed teapots and water boilers.

Although they were there for business, the initial discussions were never about work. It always centred around the tea. Each owner would talk about their tea with pride and have multiple stories to share - (“This tea is from the high mountains of Taiwan…”) and they would always describe their ritual behind the process of brewing the tea. It was a great opportunity to break the ice and relax before jumping into more serious conversations.

Much like work, tea time is an opportunity for us to bond before jumping into a meeting or discussion. Hosting tea time helps with conversation starters, public speaking skills, and helps you practice your improvisation when you need to think of a new story on the spot.

How to be a Tea Master?

It’s always daunting to start something new but tea time quickly becomes second nature. The importance of being a tea master is on the process of presenting tea, not the tea itself. We recommend a large teapot and kettle of hot water ready, as the meeting progresses the teapot will need to be refilled.

Firstly decide on the tea you wish to brew. Is it warm or cold outside? Do you feel like brewing a green or black tea today, maybe something a little more delicate and aromatic? There are multiple types and flavours of teas to choose from which can help you decide on the story you want to share.

Like the business factory owners in China, talk about your tea and why it’s so special. The story can be completely fictional or as true as you want it to be. Educate your team on the flavour notes present, the scent, or the warmth of the brew. Be creative and have fun.

Serve the tea and make sure everyone has a cup and is regularly topped up throughout the meeting. You’re the host, remember?
Photos by John Tan for Compendium Design Store & Martin Maras for Orbitkey.

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