Of all the beverages known to man, tea is probably the least likely to be associated with the feeling of getting drunk.
A cup of tea conjures up images of quiet, reflective moments and the many traditions on how to brew, serve and enjoy it.
But for centuries, tea aficionados, especially those from China, where tea was first cultivated, have reported getting high off tea.
If your initial reaction is “What? Can you get drunk on tea?” you’re not alone.
Not many people know that it is possible to get Tea Drunk.
Tea drunk, or “cha zui” in Chinese, is when you feel the psychoactive effects of the tea you are drinking.
Some have described it to be like a caffeine buzz, but you’re calmer, yet more aware and alert of your surroundings.
How is it possible to get high off tea?
Three main compounds give Tea psychoactive effects: Caffeine, L-Theanine and Catechins.
Caffeine is present in all kinds of tea. Tea leaves contain more caffeine than coffee beans. It is a stimulant that makes us feel energised and alert. You will find that the various types of tea have different caffeine levels, due to the difference in their processing methods. For example, there are specially made high caffeine tea available.
L – Theanine
L – Theanine is an amino acid that is almost exclusively found in tea and one mushroom species. It reduces stress and anxiety, helps increase focus, boosts your immunity as well as promotes a good night’s sleep. It can be found in every kind of tea but is also available as supplements.
Catechins are potent antioxidants found in your tea. They help alleviate pain and protect from cell damage and are responsible for most of the benefits you get when drinking tea. They also bind to the cannabinoid receptors found all over your body. These are the same receptors that Cannabis binds to as well, giving catechins a significant role in getting that tea drunk/high off tea feeling when you drink your cup of tea.
The types of teas that can get you drunk
It is possible to get tea drunk with any loose-leaf tea variant since all tea has caffeine, L-Theanine and catechins.
However, there are certain types of tea, including Chinese tea that gets you high a lot faster than others.
- Matcha and Gyokuro – These Japanese, shade-grown, green teas have incredibly high amounts of L-Theanine and catechins.
- Pu’erh Tea – A fermented tea that is mainly grown in the Yunnan province of China and sold in compact balls or pressed discs called cakes. Pu’erh tea is very much coveted by tea connoisseurs, with older and aged cakes costing thousands of dollars.
- White Tea – This tea variant is from the leaves and buds that grow at the very top of tea plants. They don’t get processed as much as other teas, so they are not as oxidised as different variants.
How to get tea drunk
Before you start steeping entire cakes of tea to experience cha zui or getting tea drunk, there are specific steps you should follow to ensure that it will be an enjoyable and meaningful experience. These steps will prevent you from feeling sick and having a bad tea high.
- Make sure your stomach isn’t totally empty. Enjoy a light meal or some snacks with your tea, so you don’t get too drunk off it.
- On the other hand, since your body already absorbs tea slowly in general, a full stomach might prevent you from experiencing the positive effects of getting a tea high.
- Choose top-shelf, high-quality tea to get the full experience and of course to enjoy their wonderful flavors.
- Drink your tea gong fu style, the Chinese way of brewing tea where tea is steeped repeatedly, as you take it slowly, and in very small amounts.
So yes, getting Tea Drunk is possible and is something that many people enjoy all over the world, particularly in the East.
It makes people feel very calm yet alert and aware of those around them in a positive way.
It is an excellent substitute for alcohol as well so send invites and share this unique experience with some like-minded friends too!