Even if you have yet to experience the sensation you’ve probably heard of the expression “tea drunk” or even “tea high". So, what does this mean? Of course, we all know that tea contains zero alcohol (unless you choose to make a tea cocktail). Tea drunk (茶醉 – Cha Zui) is a state we are in when we drink significant amounts of a particular type of tea. The tea type doesn’t have to be too specific, but it should be a high-quality loose leaf tea.
Many of us might have experienced that state of being tea drunk before. The state of being when we feel alert, creative and blissful; at the same time peaceful and relaxed. If you have, read on to see what exactly it is in tea that causes us to feel this way. On the other hand, if you have never experienced yourself being high off tea follow the steps in this article to experiencing it!
What Makes Us Feel Tea Drunk?
Tea drunk is the feeling we get from the psychoactive components of Camellia Sinensis, the tea plant.
This plant has several vital components making it unique and giving us the feeling of being tea drunk.
caffeine. All types of tea have at least some caffeine in them, depending on the growing conditions and the processing method, some have more and some less. Caffeine gives us energy, creativity, and alertness. Moreover, caffeine sometimes gives tea that slightly bitter, astringent taste. (Read more: Caffeine In Tea Vs Coffee)
L-theanine. We can find L-theanine in all teas, and it’s also exclusive to tea. It stimulates alpha brain waves. By doing so, it puts us in a state of alertness, creativity, and relaxed, meditative space. When L-theanine and caffeine are combined (like they are in tea) the effects of caffeine get subdued. L-theanine is a powerful relaxer and anxiety reducer. It also gives some teas their pleasant savory taste.
- catechins. These are the antioxidants in tea. Catechins are one of the main reasons you might feel high after drinking tea. They are especially abundant in Japanese teas such as Gyokuro and matcha.
Certainly, it is no coincidence that in feudal Japan the samurai would hold matcha tasting competitions where they would oftentimes drink up to 50 cups of tea. Therefore, getting completely drunk on it!
Which Teas Get You Tea Drunk?
Technically you can get tea drunk off of almost any tea. But definitely, some teas bring you there much faster and stronger.
These are the best teas for getting tea drunk:
- High-quality loose leaf teas (no tea bag teas)
- Teas that have the highest content of catechins, caffeine, and L-theanine. For example our Gyokuro and our Organic Ceremonial Grade Matcha.
- Teas made from the very top leaves and the buds. For example our Bai Hao Yin Zhen White Tea.
- Teas that aren’t oxidized or are lightly oxidized (green, white, yellow teas, light oolongs)
- Shade-grown teas like matcha and Gyokuro (highest L-theanine content)
- Teas from old trees (GuShu). For example our 2012 Chun Jian GuShu Raw Pu-erh and "Wild Orchid" GuShu Raw Pu-erh
Steps to Getting Tea Drunk
If you want to ensure a pleasant and uplifting experience make sure to follow the following steps.
- Only drink high-quality tea. Our top recommendations for this purpose are oolongs, pu-erh, and shade-grown Japanese green teas (like gyokuro and matcha). You can tell that it is shade-grown by its deep, deep green color. Surely, it's like no other!
- Don’t drink tea on an empty stomach. Certainly have some light snacks, nuts, or fruits before or during the tea ceremony
- Don’t drink on a very full stomach. Since the body needs more time to absorb the tea and you might miss out on some of its wonderful effects
- With Chinese teas, always drink tea gong fu style so you can get the full experience of the tea.
Gong fu style allows you to experience the tea in small concentrated doses over a long period of time (sometimes 10+ steeps, depending on the tea). This allows you time to get fully connected with the tea and feel its effects slowly.
- Be mindful. Certainly, having a few friends to enjoy the tea with you is great. However, try not to have too many distractions whether sipping alone or in company. Likewise, take the time to prepare yourself for the tea ritual. By having a tranquil mind, it is easier to notice the subtleties that our body and mind are going through. Furthermore, for the length of the tea ceremony, try not thinking about work, errands, or any negative thoughts. Most importantly, follow your mind carefully, and see where it leads you.
How Does Being Tea Drunk Feel?
Being tea drunk or high on tea feels different depending on the tea. Here are a few states that we’ve noticed throughout our tea journeys:
Feeling very light, almost flying. Creative. Emotional and introspective. Uplifted, happy, giggly and silly. Content, peaceful and blissful. Meditative and philosophic. Trippy. Relaxed. Feeling a deep connection with everything and everyone around you. If you are drinking tea with family or friends, you might feel exceptionally grateful to be in their company at the moment.
Many people feel a deep sense of relaxation. If they are anxious, the anxiety goes away. It is a Zen feeling. Not everyone can drink or enjoys drinking alcohol, getting tea drunk can be a good alternative to many of the more positive feelings we associate with drinking.
One thing that we've noticed to come in handy is keeping a tea journal. Start by writing down the date, time, and tea that you are drinking. You can also note any other details that may be important. For example, how were you feeling before you started drinking the tea? How full was your stomach?
A tea journal may help you remember the effects a particular tea has depending on the day. It is interesting to notice that the same tea may not always have the same effects on us, depending on the day.
For a slightly more scientific approach on the topic, check out this article.
Furthermore, if you enjoyed this article check out Practicing Mindfulness In Simple Tea Meditation.