There is no shortage of professional tea education options across this globe. As you choose to expand your knowledge of tea and prepare for a fruitful career in the industry your options range from tea master certifications to a variety of online courses that include tea samples for tastings. None of these courses are internationally recognized by either the hospitality or tea industries. A common frustration I have heard over the past several years is the disappointment many budding tea experts feel about the value of these certification programs into which they have invested thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours, yet are still feeling unprepared to take on a career in the tea industry.
Personally, I have invested close to $4,000 for such tea education programs. Although I enjoyed my time meeting many tea friends — many of whom are still very important people in my tea network — I wasn’t given a solid understanding of the tea leaves. In the decade since I have started to invest in this education, I have found that simply drinking and experiencing lots of different teas is the best education.
Perhaps the business of professional tea education has developed faster than the knowledge and understanding of tea in the international community. Regardless, what is needed is increasing the intuitive knowledge and understanding of tea so tea professionals can have the confidence to know what to demand from professional tea education. In my experience, the best way to acquire this is through experience and authentic story sharing.
My suggestion for those interested in advancing their professional tea education is to open yourself to experiences and try to connect with as many tea people and tea stories as you can. Technology has made it possible for tea people to easily share their knowledge. Try teas from various sources, and the more information provided with the tea the better it will be for your education. With increased perspective to the vast world of tea producing and tea culture, you will build confidence in your understanding of the leaf.
Tea intuition will help the tea student describe to the professional tea education industry the kind of curriculum they need. Education programs will improve, gain value, and eventually become internationally recognized. Have fun playing and learning about tea, the seeds of professional tea education are only now just being planted.
Photo “afternoon tea – study time wise” is copyright under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic License to the photographer “strandkorbtraum” and is being posted unaltered (source)