Best tea varietals for warming up your vocal chords

Posted by Seapora Category: Music Life

So your studio session is booked and you are ready to head in to the musical den that will foster the magical fire of your words of wisdom. Once in the studio, your main goal will be to get your passion through the vocal microphone and breathe life into the song. This is one of the most exciting moments for a recording artist, and it is important to be equipped and ready for your session, so your pipes can lay down your carefully crafted lyrics.

Your liquid of choice is key to your vocal performance and tea is your golden ticket to a carefree experience. If you are thinking maybe an alcoholic beverage like a glass of wine before a session would help you relax, think again. Alcohol causes the muscles in your throat to constrict, which may affect your vocal range and capacity. A cup of coffee may wake you up, but it contributes to excessive dryness in the throat. Water is essential to existence and keeps you hydrated and yes there are other beverages or vices of choice, but tea is the only one that covers all your bases.

A study conducted at the Saitama Caner Center Research Institute found that regular green tea consumption was linked to a reduced cancer risk in the Japanese population.  Other studies have also shown that green tea can help build immune function and has many psychological benefits.  From a singing perspective, tea will moisten your vocal chords and will keep them warm, which is essential for opening up your full range and capacity.  Tea encourages you to be in the present, because the entire culture behind tea and tea ceremonies is designed to help us appreciate and be mindful of the present moment.  When we are fully present, we can better bring lyrical ideas into our studio sessions and better capture the emotions associated with our songs.

If you aren’t a tea connoisseur and haven’t divulged into these beverage options and varietals, I have made a list of some of my favorites below for you to explore. Some of the tea’s listed below have caffeine in them and some don’t, so if you are doing a late night session and want to get to bed at a decent hour you still can. Get ready to transport yourself to the vocal booth equipped with some tasty tea and lyrics to move millions worldwide. Enjoy!

Tea: Oolong
Type: Yellow Gold, Alishan, Charcoal Fire or High Region: Mountain Tieguanyin
Country: China
CaffeinatedOolong teas are complex in their flavor palette and hold a wide range of aromas. Oolongs have a warm and tender flavor, which is great for opening up your vocal cords and soothing your throat. Flavors range from carmel, honey, charcoal roasted to nutty. If you are steeping the tea yourself, first splash the leaves with some warm water and quickly throw the water out.  This will open up the leaves and get them ready for steeping.  Steep each pot for 30 seconds at 205 fahrenheit. While recording Seapop lyrics at my home studio, or Laughing Tiger studios, I would often steep a good cup of the Alishan oolong tea and bring it to go. This buttery and full-bodied tea is grounding and smooth and allowed me to focus on delivering heart-pounding, soul-centered lyrics.

Tea: Green tea
Type: Genmaicha, Gunpowder green tea + mint
Region: Wuyuan Mountains
Country: China or Japan

The rice and green tea combination in Genmaicha creates a nutty and grassy palette. I find that both the Gunpowder green tea and Genmaicha varietals contain a good amount of caffeine to keep you alert and focused on singing, but don’t make you jittery like a cup of coffee will. Often I would have a cup of green tea in the morning or mid-day before going into the studio. The Genmaicha has slightly less caffeine than the Gunpowder green tea, so if you want more energy to last you throughout your session this would be the better choice. However, the Genmaicha is more grounding and comforting for the throat.
 Genmaicha small image

Tea: Red Rooibos Herbal tea
Type: Rooibos Mint, Rooibos Camomile
Region: South Africa
Country: Africa
No Caffeine

Drinking red rooibos tea tends to have a calming quality.  With a touch of sugar and maybe even a bag of chamomile or peppermint tea added, Rooibos tea is your ticket to massaging and warming up the vocal chords. I drank this combo every session while recording the Sealove album at Laughing Tiger studios and always felt uplifted and naturally driven to sing from the heart. Because there isn’t any added caffeine you can keep a consistent energetic expression and tonal quality while recording.


If you are interested in trying or purchasing tea, I would recommend exploring Far Leaves, Teance, or Red Blossom for high quality loose leaf teas. All three of these tea shops offer tastings, so you can try the listed varietals and find your perfect cup of tea! Other teas that I recommend for every day drinking are Pu erh teas. They are earthy, bold and caffeinated and offer a nice alternative to coffee or espresso.

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