Adrienne Nascimento – Tea Master:
Photo credit: Anna Barnat
Tea Mixoloxist, Yoga Master and Co-founder of Admari Tea Adrienne Nascimento, tell us about her journey into the Tea World.
Adrienne, When does your love for tea begun?
AN: I left the hospitality industry in 2006 when I opened up my brick and mortar tea shop, Admari Tea, in Northern New Jersey. The long and late hours were having a detrimental effect on my relationships and quality of life, so I turned to what I love most in the world. Tea.
Early on in life, at 7 years old, I fell in love with the intoxicating aroma of tea. I can thank both my grandmothers for their influence on my earliest introduction to tea. I would bury my nose in my maternal Grandmother’s box of White Rose and deeply inhale the sweet tea scent. My paternal grandmother used to take me to Chinese and Japanese restaurants in New York frequently, where I was exposed to drinking different types of tea and tea rituals.
As enamored I was of tea, my immediate family was a coffee family; my father is in the coffee industry as a green coffee commodities broker and coffee business consultant. I grew up learning about coffee, not just as a beverage, but as a plant which helped me to understand the intricacies of tea.
By the time I was a teen in the 1990’s I was drinking Chinese green tea regularly to fuel my days of dancing and performing (I attended a performing arts high school and was a dancer on Club MTV). Tea gave me a more focused energy for my busy life than coffee did.
While in college in New Orleans, I started a yoga practice and witnessed that the way I feel after yoga practice was how I felt after drinking tea. The first seed was planted that perhaps the tea was more than just a beverage. Maybe there was something deeper.
In my 20’s, because of a career in the NYC restaurant industry, I developed a taste for Japanese green teas and started to see parallels between wine and tea. In 2003, as managing partner of a Wine and Martini Lounge in Ohio, I created my first loose leaf tea menu as well as built an elegant cocktail menu using fresh fruit purees and made all our syrups in house.
In 2007, I opened a brick and mortar tea shop, Admari Tea in Northern New Jersey and became certified with the Specialty Tea Institute. We began a tea education series; one of the more popular workshops was, “Not Your Grandmother’s Tea Party” where we shared tea cocktails and explored using tea in cuisine.
Most recently, I was able to blend past and present career and win the Tea Mixology category at the US Tea Masters Cup in Las Vegas. I will go on to compete against 22+ countries for the Tea Masters Cup World Title.
As my tea path unfolded, so did my yoga path. In 2014, I completed my first 200-hour teacher training and in 2019, I earned my Yoga Acharya (Master of Yoga) in the Sivananda lineage. I recognized the calm awareness I develop through my yoga and meditation studies is further enhanced by my tea studies and practice of tea. It’s a natural partnership – tea and meditation. Tea is liquid meditation.
Why did you decide to move to Sunshine state?
AN: To be closer to my immediate family and to thrive in the sunshine. I am much happier in warm climates.
How do you feel about the Tea culture in Miami?
AN: I am thrilled with how people are responding to Tea here in Miami. When I first moved here, I was warned by many people that Miami was going to be a difficult place to introduce tea; its hot and coffee is ingrained into Miami’s culture. But if you look at it, cafecito culture is simply a different kind of ritual. Rituals translate when introduced properly. And as our Miami society grows more mindful of their consumption habits, tea is a natural addition to a healthy lifestyle.
You recently won the US Tea Master’s cup. How do you prepare yourself for the World title?
AN: It was exhilarating! I am not a traditionally competitive person so this was an interesting and new experience for me. I was thrilled to bring a bit of the 305 with me with my competition cocktail, Miami Masala Chai. Even my soundtrack brought that sunny Miami vibe.
I am working on a Tea Mixology book, so that is helpful for my preparation for competition. I am doing a lot of research and have product development kitchen hours each week where I play with different ingredients and liquors. The key is to really bring out the tea highlights in the cocktails, which can be challenging when dealing with alcohol.
As we draw closer to competition time, I will set up a practice stage in my house and spend a few hours each day practicing.
How does Adrienne describe a good cup of Tea?
AN: A good cup of tea is one that inspires you to reflect and remember. A good cup of tea will remind you to breathe.
What’s the best way or ritual to drink your Tea?
AN: There is no best way! There is only your way. During the course of the day, I will drink tea in a number of ways. I always start my day in quiet contemplation preparing gongfu cha (tea made with skill) usually using a gaiwan (lidded cup), a gong dao bei (fairness pitcher) and a small cup. This preparation involves short multiple steepings. For me, it is a moving meditation and a great way to move into my days.
Then perhaps in the afternoon I will prepare matcha, or a matcha latte or steep a pot western style of tea.
Tell us about Admari Tea on your own words, is it a brand? a movement?
AN: Admari embodies the spirit of the ritual of tea while honoring the body and mind with creativity, innovation, and nature. More than just exceptional tea, Admari is a lifestyle brand influencing modern American tea culture through curated teaware, tea education, tea mixology, and tea-infused wellness events.
- Instagram Handle: @lotuseyed.adrienne