Tea rounds

When starting your first job there is a lot to learn. Especially for a developer. During this learning frenzy it is easy to overlook soft skills that will help you make friends in your new work place. The easiest and most important of these is how to make a tea round (this includes coffee).

Making tea rounds is an important part of the work place:

  • getting to know names becomes easier
  • forces you to take a break and clear your head
  • people like getting cups of tea made for them

Sadly, tea round rules vary and it can be a minefield if you get the rules wrong. Fortunately, there is one universal law that will save you from upsetting your colleagues.

The universal law of tea rounds

If you do not make rounds of tea then do not accept cups from others making them.

Those that ignore this rule are seen as people who don't share in the work and think themselves special. That's not what you want.

Who to make tea for

The rule that varies most is how many people to offer tea to.

  • In small offices (a handful of people) this is usually everybody in the office.
  • In large offices the situation gets more complex: by team? by row of desks?

The simplest thing to do is watch and learn. If in doubt, be generous until you've figured out the optimal round size.

Remember preferences

Most people have a preference on how they take their tea. Remember it. They'll like you more for it.

Persistent 'no's

You will meet at least one person who always says no to a cup of tea. Ask if they want you to stop asking before you stop offering. The person might want a cup every once in a while or they might just want to feel included.

How to make tea

There are plenty of tutorials out there on how to make tea. The one thing they never mention is to make it too strong instead of too weak. It's easy to fix tea that is too strong and people rarely moan about it. Weak tea, on the other hand, is frowned upon and cannot be fixed.


Enjoy making tea for people, no-one likes a grudgingly offered cup of tea.


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Colin Howe

I'm Colin. I like coding, ultimate frisbee and startups. I am VP of engineering at Conversocial