Suzette Hammond is the founder of Being Tea, an education-focused private practice offering skills training, custom tea workshops and project development for tea programs. A professional taster and trainer, as well as devoted tea spiritual practitioner, Suzette has been deeply involved in the US tea industry for more than 15 years. Currently she also serves as a co-founder executive for the non-profit American Specialty Tea Alliance (ASTA), and works with the non-profit International Specialty Tea Association (ISTA). Suzette teaches regularly at conferences and festivals across the country and internationally. Her background is a colorful blend of disciplines and study: She is a trained broadcast journalist, a tea ceremony student, a teacher of tea meditation and mindfulness, an advocate of tea practice for mental health and emotional wellbeing, a student of movement therapies such as Alexander Technique. This summer, she will also graduate a 200-hour teacher training program in psych-sensitive yoga through Room to Breathe here in Chicago. In 2018, Suzette was recognized by her peers with an award for Best Tea Educator at the World Tea Awards.
Tea general education, including varieties and preparation, as well as specifically how tea works to reduce stress
Creating an easy to follow, highly adaptable and personal tea practice
Choosing teas for practice based on both the calendar season and the seasonal needs of the individual
Ideal for individuals or office groups a part of wellbeing package for employees
Note: Suzette's work specifically involves traditional teas from the tea plant (green, white, oolong, black, etc), as they have a long documented history of specific usage in meditation. She does not work with medicinal or herbal teas, nor does she prescribe blends for specific health conditions.
Favorite book or podcast?
Prose book: "Fragrant Palm Leaves", Thich Nhat Hanh. Graphic novel: "Rolling Blackouts", Sarah Glidden
Funny teaching moment?
I once had a student tell me, in a class of about 60 people, that this tea "tastes like bacon." The comment got a lot of laughs, but was a great teaching moment because, actually, this person was not that far off. The particular tea being shared is rich in savory amino acids, and so, yes, it can taste savory, brothy and almost meaty (some folks also say "fishy" - same deal). It was an awesome demonstration in the way we build vocabulary, why and where words come from, and how with practice, we learn to reach a common understanding. Tea is amazing at connecting us to our very core senses and instinct.
Favorite self care strategy?
Tea practice (daily), regular acupuncture, salt baths, playing with plush animals (um, also daily)
Why are you excited about Inner Sense Healing Arts?
The world of therapeutic practices and cultural healing traditions is enormously diverse and requires proper space to share those insights with people in need. It can't be limited to just what normally fits into the organizational "activity buckets" as we know them. Tea is one such practice that seems off the beaten path at first, but really isn't once you give it a try. It can add a unique perspective and weight to methods people currently utilize in their wellbeing. Tea can also be powerfully life-changing just on its own. It's been really difficult to find studios to offer tea workshops regularly here in Chicago, and I'm so thrilled and touched that Inner Sense sees there can be a home here for tea, too! Inner Sense is creating that space where people - students or teachers - don't have to be in the "other" checkbox anymore.