Hello, I’m Suzette Hammond and teaching Tea is my way of life.
My original path was journalism and the intense environment of broadcast news – which, I came to believe if you can handle live television, you truly can handle almost anything. The skills I learned as a producer in the control room completely shaped who I eventually became as a communicator and educator, although I eventually recognized the physical and mental toll of working in news was not for me as a long-term occupation.
I took a chance and turned to studying coffee and tea, which inherently seemed more peaceful, people-focused and thought provoking. Realizing the story of our connection to tea was actually the story that compelled me the most, I knew I found the place where my skills as a journalist would best be utilized.
I started working in with tea in 2003, where I’ve been a professional skills trainer and tea educator ever since. My work experience includes more than 10 years in training management and education director roles for leading tea companies, as well as leadership in industry trade groups. (You can see my work resume here.)
Many years later, I’m still not looking back.
My personal background is also multidisciplinary, influencing my growing interest for tea as a contemplative, spiritual and mental health practice. I’ve been a student of chanoyu, the Japanese tea ceremony. My spiritual beliefs align with Buddhism and animism. I’m also really passionate about movement therapy and somatics.
I’m also a certified trauma-informed yoga and meditation teacher, and have been teaching tea meditation since 2010, bringing together two deeply therapeutic physical studies and philosophical traditions. I completed my 200-hr training in Chicago with Room to Breathe – a uniquely integrated yoga and psychotherapy center. Additionally, I’m currently engaged in a year-long program through Teachers College at Columbia University – the Awakened Schools Institute – exploring spirituality in educational settings.
You can learn more about my teachers and influences here.
Leaving corporate tea life in 2014, I founded Being Tea as an independent, non-certification support system that’s rooted in personalized, experiential, non-linear learning. I wanted this to exist not only for tea professionals and their partners, but also for budding tea enthusiasts and devoted tea followers. In 2018, I was recognized for my work in education with the honor of a World Tea Award for Best Tea Educator.
Through access to functional, holistic and meaningful tea skills that serve mind, body and spirit altogether – practices that can be demonstrated every day – I’ve really seen that tea can spark greater creativity and act as an agent for positive change.
“True belonging doesn’t require you to change who you are; it requires you to be who you are.”
– Brene Brown