European Tea Society becomes European Speciality Tea Association

The European Tea Society is changing its name to the European Speciality Tea Association (ESTA), effective 1 July. This change comes following an overwhelming vote by the association’s members at the Annual General Meeting on 20 May 2020.

According to the ESTA, the rationale behind the name change is to more accurately reflect the nature and purpose of the association as follows:

  • The word ‘association’ is an inclusive and contemporary word, one that aligns with the values of the organisation, which are inclusive.
  • The word ‘association’ describes much more accurately what the organisation is, which is a members association.
  • Specialty Tea is very much at the heart of what the organisation does and believes in. It is enshrined in the association’s charter and mission and is now appropriately reflected in the name.

Whilst the branding and house style will remain unchanged to help promote consistency and continuity, there will be significant changes in many areas of the association, such as a new three-year strategic plan that will continue to foster the association’s growth and improvement.

ESTA has a strategic focus in Europe, its core market, and is also active, either independently or in collaboration with others, opportunistically in other areas around the world commercially and in accordance with their values. ESTA will provide and participate in a range of international events which engage the specialty tea community and promote tea excellence.

To grow its membership and assist in its mission to promote specialty tea, ESTA will be initiating a major membership drive to reach new and potential members across Europe. It will also be introducing new membership categories: one for producers in tea growing countries, and one for a new type of person in the tea community, the tea barista.

As membership grows, ESTA plans to recruit members in some new regions such as Russia. Once the world starts to get back to some sort of normality, ESTA will attend events around Europe in order to promote the association, promote specialty tea, engage with local tea communities, gain new members and deliver knowledge. The association also stated that it is looking to increase the number of competitions that it organises.

“Education and research are at the very core of the association’s value and mission, and we will be working extremely hard on our initiatives here, helped and supported by our growing team of volunteers,” said David Veal, executive director of ESTA, in a statement.

“We are just in the process of launching an online basic module, Tea 101, in conjunction with Australian Tea Masters, it is aimed at beginners and is really to help people who because of current restrictions of movement are not able to partake in more traditional methods of tea education. This module will be free of charge to European Speciality Tea Association members.”

He said that ESTA’s main focus is on launching its Tea Certification Programme, “which will be delivered through our members who are trainers, or who have schools or academies, and will cover a number of disciplines at two different levels including Camellia sinensis, brewing skills, sensory skills, botanicals, tea barista skills, health and agronomy.” A standalone Introduction to Tea course will be available after June, and the main programme will be launched as soon as things normalize, most likely in early 2021.

Supporting ESTA’s education programme will be an equally important research programme. Based at the University of Chester in England, the association has access to sensory laboratories both for ESTA research and that of its members. Veal shared that ESTA hopes to be able to collaborate with various universities around Europe.

For those interested in becoming members of the European Speciality Tea Association or for more information, visit: www.specialityteaeurope.com, email: [email protected] or call: +44 (0) 1244 515610.

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