Why not?  Tea can certainly be a substitute for a business lunch.  In fact, it should be the obvious choice over coffee.  Tea has a distinct advantage. It contains an amino acid called L-theanine.  L-theanine and the caffeine in tea work together to improve your concentration, accuracy, and alertness.  Tea actually calms you and helps you focus all at the same time.  This boost in mental energy combined with its ability to reduce one’s anxiety is tea’s secret weapon. It helps provide the perfect combination for winning over business partners and securing deals.  There is no crash from the caffeine, so you can stay level headed, while negotiating the intricate details of business.  

Plus, inviting someone to tea will be a nice surprise for your guest.  People always remember something different.  A business tea offers a change in routine and a more social element than the standard business lunch.  People will enjoy the welcomed break in their day. It will relax them and they will associate those good feelings with you and your company.

The meeting should take place at either three or four o’clock in the afternoon. Clients and guests will expect cocktails after the five o’clock hour. Therefore, tea should conclude before this time, especially, if cost is an issue for your company.  The bill should be paid prior to the meeting, if at all possible, by the host.  The business tea is leisurely but need not take more than one hour.

The tea party should also be aesthetically pleasing. The host should choose a comfortable, warm, and attractive place for tea to take place. The linens should be pressed, the china should be pretty, and the silver must shine. The host should make every effort to choose a place that is well versed in serving afternoon tea and the wait staff should be properly trained.  You are still making every effort to impress and wow your client at tea.  The last thing you want to do is embarrass yourself in front of a veteran tea drinker. So, study up on tea etiquette prior to your meeting.

Lastly, do not be ashamed of considering tea for business meetings.  Although, it is a more affordable option than lunch or dinner, it is by no means cheap. Tea is wildly celebrated in other parts of the world and is affectionately taken daily.  You may actually impress an international visitor by offering a taste of home or engage a novice by  introducing them to a practice that is over three thousand years old.  By choosing to share an experience such as tea with your client, you are making a lasting memory and an impression that one does not easily forget.

 “If you are cold , tea will warm you; if you are too heated, it will cool you; If you are depressed, it will cheer you; If you are excited, it will calm you.” – William Ewart Gladstone