In Chinese tea culture, qi (pronounced as chi) is a phrase used amongst tea connoisseurs that refers to a tea’s energy or life force. It’s believed the energy stems from the innate character of the tea, depending on several factors: where it’s grown, how its grown, how its processed and the age of the tea plant itself.
Teas that are said to have qi are harvested from older tea plants, meaning they’re one hundred or two hundred plus years old. They’re typically seed propagated and have roots that dig deep into the ground, which some believe infuse the tea with a higher frequency of energy.
In order to tap into the tea’s life force, you need to be in a place that allows for your senses to be heighted, such as the comfort of your own home. You can either mindfully drink one cup or several, depending on whether you want to make a ceremony out of the experience.
“You’ll know right away when you experience the effects of qi. There is a warmth that radiates from your core to your head as an aura of calm envelopes you,” says Ravi Kroesen, our Head Teamaker.
The scientific theory behind this concept is that when caffeine intersects with L-Theanine you feel an elevated yet relaxed episode that poses the question: is it the caffeine or is there a deeper sort of essence the tea holds?
How to Experience QI
We recently asked Ravi how to experience qi and he outlined a few tips along with three teas recommendations with high levels of qi.
One thing to remember before you get started: there is no scale. Qi is purely based off and individual’s experience. However, if you drink enough quality tea in your daily life, you’ll have a higher chance of recognizing the effects.
What Teas to Use
Ravi recommends to first start with our Ali Shan, then First Flush Darjeeling where you’ll be able to experience the tea at its most vibrant (the energy of the tea can deplete as it becomes older) and then finish with our Bai Hao Oolong.
Be mindful to use quality filtered water and to follow our recommended steeping instructions.
Invite Your Friends
You could perform this ritual by yourself, but like with most things in life, it’s best when shared with friends. Ask them to come over with an empty stomach and an open mind. Once the ceremony is done, do a share and tell while you enjoy snacks.
Five to Six Rounds of Tea
Ravi recommends using a gaiwan (like this one) the small pot brewing method of choice when steeping teas, such as oolongs, over multiple infusions and then prepare to sit for 5 to 6 rounds of tea drinking.
What to Look For
Look for an elevated mood, sharpened awareness, slightly euphoric, inner warmth and a bit of the giggles.