Suzette Hammond of Being Tea, teaching tea classes

Hello, I’m Sooz and teaching tea is my way of life

My original career path was not tea education – it was broadcast news. From 1999 – 2003, I worked as a news producer; definitely not a lighthearted time for journalism in America. Although I eventually recognized the physical and mental toll of working in news was not for me, the technical skills I learned as a producer shaped who I eventually became as a communicator and educator.

In 2003, I took a chance and turned to working with coffee and tea, which seemed more naturally peaceful and people-focused. Realizing that the story of humanity’s connection to tea was actually the story that compelled me the most, I knew this was the place where my journalism skills would best be utilized.

Now, I’ve been working as a professional skills trainer and tea educator for nearly 20 years. My work experience includes more than 10 years in training management and education director roles for leading tea companies, as well as in leadership for industry trade groups. (You can view my full work experience here.)

In addition to teaching in public spaces frequently, I’m also published in a number of outlets and on podcasts, talking about what I love most – teaching tea. Check out some of my press and published works here.

The philosophy that feeds Being Tea

My personal background is also multidisciplinary and feeds my growing interest for tea as a contemplative, spiritual and mental health practice. Previously, I was an enrolled a student of chanoyu, the Japanese tea ceremony with Urasenke in San Francisco. My spiritual beliefs align with Buddhism and animism. I’m also really passionate about movement therapy and somatics.

I also teach tea meditation and have been sharing this practice since 2010. The combination of meditation with tea – two deeply therapeutic physical studies and philosophical traditions – is very inspiring to me. My longtime interest in this practice led me to pursue my 200-hr yoga teacher training in Chicago with Room to Breathe – a unique yoga studio that’s integrated with a psychotherapy center. In 2019, I graduated as a certified trauma-informed yoga teacher. Additionally, I also engage in continuing education whenever I can. Most recently, I attended a program through Teachers College at Columbia University – the Awakened Schools Institute – which explores spirituality in educational settings.

You can learn more about my teachers and influences here.

In 2018, I gratefully received the honor of a World Tea Award for Best Tea Educator. 

Award statue for Best Tea Educator, Suzette Hammond of Being Tea, World Tea Awards 2018

I left corporate tea life in early 2015 and created Being Tea as an independent, non-academic educational space. A space that’s rooted in personalized, experiential, non-linear learning. Something that exists outside of corporate structure and the pressure of testing, certifications, and performance measures. I wanted to create the space that I wish I had when I first started in tea. A place not only for tea professionals but also for budding tea enthusiasts and devoted tea followers.

Through access to holistic and meaningful tea skills that serve mind, body and spirit together, I’ve seen how tea can spark deep creativity and act as an agent for positive change. Even more inspiring, tea puts us in touch with our quiet, softer side. Tea reminds us of the bravery in being seen for who we really are.

“True belonging doesn’t require you to change who you are; it requires you to be who you are.”

– Brene Brown

Check out these testimonials from many folks I’ve had the joy to work with over the years. Also, hear what some of my students have to say about their experience studying with Being Tea. I would love to see you here sometime for tea!