Tea House Etiquette 101

If you’re reading this, you probably have gone to your fair share of tea houses and if you’re probably wondering what’s the big deal about etiquette?

After all, you may think that if you just go to a tea house or go to Starbucks, it’s really not that big of a deal. You line up, you order at the end of the line and you go to another line to pick up your stuff.

Where’s the big mystery? What’s there to worry about? Where are the opportunities to practice etiquette?

If you are completely honest with yourself, you would quickly realize that all those different operations and stages in navigating and using the services of a typical tea house, all involve etiquette. Make no mistake about it.

When you are looking up at the listing of the coffee and tea concoctions available, that require etiquette because you can say certain things, you can send off non verbal signals that turn people off. I’m not talking about the service staff. Service staff are trained to love their customers regardless of how rude these people are. That’s how professional service staff are. Instead, I’m talking about the other people around you.

You have to remember that each and every tea house really is a community.

Each community has their collective identity and personality.

If you visit the Roebling tea room, you can see that it’s a very mellow place. Regardless of where you come from originally, what your sexual orientation is, what gender you identify with or what race you identify with, we accept you.

We have our own vibe but we also know that this does not apply across the board. So if we were to jump on a jet plane and go to Indonesia, hang out at a tea house there, we expect the environment to be different and that’s perfectly okay. That’s a key part of etiquette. You have to have a very open mind and, most importantly, you have to do whatever the locals are doing. If there are certain ways of doing things, don’t rock the boat. You’re there to enjoy the experience. You’re there to witness.


If you have moved to our community, then that’s a different matter entirely. If you hang out here long enough, you start changing the vibe.

It starts reflecting a little bit more of your personality. But that’s a fairly special situation. By enlarge, etiquette really boils down to when in Rome, do what the Romans do. This has little to do with going along just to get along.

This has more to do with respect.

This has more to do with understanding the existing flow of things and allowing yourself to be open-minded enough to be moved by that flow.

You see how this works? Because if you go there a complete and total stranger and basically tell everybody how to do things and why they should do it because you come from a place that knows better, don’t be surprised if people think that you are rude and disrespectful. It’s like farting at a dinner party. Not exactly a great way to make a first impression.