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An Education
in Tea

By Serena Norr

The tea industry is booming with more and more individuals wanting to learn about the inner working of tea. Tea & Coffee Trade Journal highlights a few of these notable offerings.

The past year has been very exciting for the tea industry. Specialty tea has grown incredibly through the efforts of passionate visionaries and entrepreneurs that have appealed to consumers within all segments - from the hip younger trendy consumer to the more-experienced tea consumer. The rich proliferation of tea education classes being offered are proof that more and more individuals want to learn about the inner workings of tea.

STI - Specialty Tea Institute
The STI Tea Certification Program, a division of the Tea Association of the U.S.A., provides tea certification courses to service the various needs of the specialty tea industry. The courses are categorized into level one, level two and the professional series: level three. Each level is a pre-requisite for the next, but there is an option for testing out. According to STI, “Highlights of this curriculum involve a series of educational sessions encompassing tea types, regions, processing, tasting, health benefits and how to communicate their message to the consumer, among other pertinent topics.” Upon the satisfactory completion of each level, attendees will be awarded a certificate of completion, which they can use to advance their businesses and/or careers. According to STI, “The courses were developed by a team of industry experts in response to numerous requests for a standardized education program that offers an industry wide, recognizable accreditation.”

This educational program represents a major learning tool and achievement program in the specialty tea industry. According to STI, “If you are an aspiring tea sommelier, tea specialist, want to make better buying decisions for your business or need more information on tea, these classes are for you!” These classes serves as an authentic and credible formalized certification that will help individuals achieve greater success at their jobs and within the industry.

For details about STI’s Certification Training courses, please contact Ellainy Karaboitis, STI program coordinator at +1(212) 986-0250, ekaraboitis@teausa.org, or visit their website, www.teausa.org. For sponsorship information, contact Melissa Pugash, STI’s sponsorship sales coordinator at melpugash@aol.com or +1(310) 275-3498, Web: www.teausa.com.

World Tea Expo
According to their website, the World Tea Expo “showcases hundreds of new products and the latest innovations each year to drive business and fuel growth while also providing significant and cutting edge education to foster the art and science of tea for a growing community of tea professionals, merchandisers, research and developers, scientists and entrepreneurs.” The World Tea Expo offers 50 tea seminars and workshops. Its conference continues to evolve with defined tracks for tea knowledge, sales and marketing, foodservice solutions, tea and health and business development. In addition to workshops, special events are held throughout the day, ranging from the tea ceremonies from different cultures to cooking with tea demonstrations by leading regional chefs.”

For additional information, contact: 5125 W. Oquendo Rd. Ste. #16, Las Vegas, Nevada 89118, E-mail: info@worldteaexpo.com, Web: www.worldteaexpo.com.

Tea Classes at Coffee Fest
Coffee Fest, an organization dedicated to the growth and proliferation of the specialty coffee, gourmet tea and alternative beverage industries with a strong emphasis on independent retail, features several courses that highlight the education of tea.

Some classes from the past include, “The Tea Industry at a Glance - its Growth and its Future,” which discusses a shift in the American consciousness that is moving towards health and sustainability. Additional classes include, “Tea Basics,” “Merchandising Tea in your Café” and “Mate 101,” among others.

For additional information: Coffee Fest, 13555 South East 36th St #255, Bellevue, Washington 98006, +1(425) 283-5058, +1(425) 283-5061, E-mail: davidh@coffeefest.com, Web: www.coffeefest.com.

Tea, A Magazine, The TEA School
The TEA School classes involve a two-day intensive course on many aspects of tea where beginners and novices can learn from distinguished leaders in the tea industry. Pearl Dexter, editor of Tea, A Magazine, states on the company’s website: “The TEA School was established to give people who are in or entering into a tea business a firm foundation in the history, geography, and cultivation/processing of tea. With multiple tea tastings, it is our goal that your palate will become more sophisticated and discerning. Our wish is to pass on our pachado (passion for tea). Certificate of completion with passing grade.” According to the companies website, “The Curriculum includes History, Geography, Cultivation and Processing, The Tea Industry Today, Operating a Tea Room, Retailing for a Tea Room/Tea Shop, Advertising and Marketing Your Tea Business, Tea and Health, Designing Your Tea Room and Multiple Tastings: Green, Oolong, Black/Red, Chinese, Indian, Japanese, Sri Lankan.”

For additional information: 3 Devotion Road, Scotland, Connecticut 06264, Tel: +1(860)456-1145, Fax: +1(860)456-1023, E-mail: teamag@teamag.com, Web: www.teamag.com.

Cynthia’s Premium Tea
Located in Pennsylvania, Cynthia’s Premium Tea offers customized tea education classes to fit a wide-range of expertise. The company currently offers “Tea 101: An Introduction to Specialty Tea.” This course covers the history of tea, the tea growing regions, the types of tea and their characteristics, the health benefits of tea and how to brew a perfect cup of loose leaf tea that can be conducted at your home, office or organization. According to the company website, they also offers a “Professional Tea Tasting” class where participants will sample teas from several different growing regions around the world using professional tasting equipment. Participants will also learn proper tea tasting technique and terminology. The class will also discuss the growing origin, processing techniques and flavor profiles of these select loose leaf teas.”

For additional information contact: P.O. Box 368, Dublin, Pennsylvania 18917, Tel: + 1 (215) 249-1042, E-mail: info@cynthiastea.com, Web: www.cynthiastea.com.

Tea Source
Tea Source, located in Minnesota offers several tea courses. The Tea Basics course is designed for the tea novice. The course discusses the many categories of tea including black, oolong, scented/flavored, green, white and pu’erh. During the course, participants, will prepare and taste tea from each category, demonstrasting the dramatically different preparation techniques for tea and experience the incredible range of taste experiences that tea can provide. The course also discusses the history and production of tea. The Oolong Basics course includes a sampling of dark to floral oolongs, including Indian, Chinese and Formosan oolongs. The Green Tea Basics course will include a preparation and tasting of at least six different green teas where participants will examine different preparation and production techniques. The Rare Basics course is designed for the tea enthusiast where you will find out how we classify our teas and why they are considered rare. The Cooking with Tea course involves learning how tea is used in many recipes from ice cream and cheesecake to rice and salmon. Participants will help prepare and taste some exciting dishes in this class.

For additional information contact the TeaSource at Tel: +1 (877) 768-7233 or via e-mail at info@teasource.com.

Imperial Tea Court
San Francisco’s Imperial Tea Court is renowned as an exclusive source for many of the most highly acclaimed and sought-after teas produced today. The company offers tea classes at their Powell Street store where they alternate tastings of new seasonal teas with “Tea Connoisseurship” classes, which explores various aspects of tea including tea types, history, brewing methods and much more. Classes are held on the last Sunday of each month and include monthly offerings such as Tea and Food, Winter Harvest Oolongs, Tea Connoisseurship: Introduction to Green Tea, Spring Harvest Tasting, Tea Connoisseurship: Introduction to Oolong Tea, Harvest Oolong Tasting, Tea Connoisseurship: Introduction to Gongfu Tea, Yixing Tea Ware and Gongfu Tea, Tea Connoisseurship: Introduction to Pu’erh Tea and Aged Pu’erh Tasting. Check the company’s website for current classes and times.

For additional information contact: E-mail imperial@imperialtea.com, Tel: +1 (800) 788-6080 or +1 (415) 788-6080, Web: www.imperialtea.com.

Tea & Coffee - January, 2008

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