Why tea is a great tool for a tester!

I’ve now officially added tea in my top 5 “tools for a tester” list!
What’s that? You think I’m joking? I’m not…. let me explain.










If you think about having tea (or coffee) while at work, we can break it down into 3 areas:

Making tea…

When we make tea in the office this gives us the opportunity to take advantage of “the water-cooler effect“. This is when employees inevitably chat when they bump into each other over at the water-cooler. Or in the case of tea, we get the chance to chat when we’re gathered around the kettle…

So why is this important for testers? Well, the opportunity to chat to colleagues opens up the opportunity to build up a rapport with them. Communication is a key skill for tester, with being able to communicate with developers, project managers, stakeholders and senior management. And this instantly becomes easier if you already have a good relationship with them. They are more likely to listen to you and take on board what you are saying. Hence there is an obvious benefit of having a casual chat with them while that kettle is boiling.

Chatting while waiting for the kettle also offers a great opportunity to informally discuss any work related ideas that you want to bounce around, or for asking for ideas to aid with any issues you have and need help with.

Drinking tea…

Aside from the fact that tea is good for you, keeps you hydrated, is calming and is apparently brain fuel, it also offers us the opportunity to take a break.

Last month, I attended the London Tester Gathering where Paul Holland presented his talk about “What you should know about your brain”. He made a great point about how your brain is at its peak for being able to process difficult thinking tasks first thing in the morning and immediately after having a break.

Since hearing Paul’s talk, I have been experimenting with taking tea breaks in the afternoon and I can vouch that this is true in my own experience! And the fact that the number one tool in a tester’s arsenal is your brain means that tea breaks can be important for testers to allow their brains to be their peak after having the break.

Offering tea…

Offering a colleague some tea and making tea for them can be an amazing way to instigate the “rule of reciprocation”. I first read about the rule of reciprocation in the book “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion” by Dr. Robert Cialdini. The rule says that if you do a favor for someone, then they are more than likely to return the favor. It’s ingrained in our instinct.

This can be great if you want to pair with a colleague for example…
“Hey developer, I’ve got the kettle on and a tea with your name on it along with a packet of custard creams… can we pair as it’d be great if you could talk me through this new feature that your working on while your programming it”.


So, from making tea, drinking tea and offering tea (or coffee) there are many aspects of how each of these can really help us in the workplace! Add it to your testing tool arsenal and let me know how it works out for you! 🙂




10 thoughts on “Why tea is a great tool for a tester!

  1. Dan, I really like your thinking, I have been using the same approach with coffee but I never though about formalizing it into something like this, nice idea. You could it TDT as in Tea Driven Teambuilding 🙂


    1. @mysoftwarequality – Thanks for the comment! I like that idea!! TDT! Brilliant… 😀
      It’s something I scribbled down as a mind-map in my notebook a while ago that I’ve only managed to turn into a blog just now!


      1. I’ve got my ticket to Agile Testing Days! Definitely up for a few beers while discussing how to conquer the world using TDT! 🙂


  2. Thanks Dan,
    Indeed the casual corridor / coffee corner / pantry meetups are a great chance to express views,
    learn about what other colleagues are working on, what they struggle with and so on.
    (Just like the “Breaking Bread” idea mentioned on a later post you wrote)
    I always wonder if we can ever overcome these needs for interpersonal relations (which are also key to Agile Dev.),
    in a business world pushing us towards Off-Shoring parts of the team or even worst – just specific roles.

    I was always thinking on way to enhance these coffee/tea talks,
    and have long been dreaming of placing an LCD in these corners,
    presenting the version Dashboard, and maybe even a revolving Tips corner.

    @halperinko – Kobi Halperin


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