From the elaborate tea ceremonies of Japan to high tea in the British Empire to a glass of Southern sweet tea on the back porch, people around the world have celebrated the rituals of tea for centuries. Pursing a career as a tea specialist will allow you to explore tea's many variations and subtleties, and to help others get the most out of their tea experience. To become a tea specialist, you should familiarize yourself with teas on your own, investigate training opportunities, and market yourself to potential employers.
Much of the knowledge that you will need to become a tea specialist can be gained on your own through extensive, thoughtful tea drinking. Some experience can be gathered through tea tastings, which are set up similarly to wine tastings. They may be hosted by tea experts, or they may be informal gatherings of tea enthusiasts. Generally, a tea tasting will consist of comparing teas from the same region to discover the more subtle variations in similar types of tea.
There are other, more structured forms of tea education that you should look into if you want to become a tea specialist. A tea masterclass is designed for anyone with an interest in learning more about tea and will cover the basics about types of teas and how to brew, store, and serve teas. A more in-depth tea certification workshop may take place over several days. The definition of the term "certified tea specialist" is not uniform, as certifications offered through different organizations will not necessarily be the same. In general, however, a tea certification course will teach you about the history and social importance of teas around the world, the process of growing and manufacturing teas, preparing teas and food, and the health benefits of tea.
Once you have gained some sort of certification, you are ready to become a tea specialist. Career opportunities for tea specialists are often in the hospitality industry, at high-end restaurants or hotels. In this capacity, a tea specialist may be responsible for selecting teas appropriate for various occasions and making sure that the tea is stored and brewed in such a way as to be as fresh as possible. Often, this position will be a combined coffee and tea specialist position, so even if coffee is not your cup of tea, having some knowledge of it will increase your marketability. Additional jobs are available in training others about tea either for personal enjoyment or business growth.