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Tea

How to Become a Certified Tea Sommelier

February 22, 2018
Tea sommeliers are the new wine sommeliers. Tea sommelier classes and certification programs are popping up all over the globe as tea drinking enjoys a surge in popularity. Some love tea as a healthy alternative to juice or pop, some love the irresistible dessert blends from David’s Tea.  A tea sommelier is someone whose exper-‘teas’ lies in, you guessed it, tea! Here’s how I became a certified tea sommelier with the Tea and Herbal Association of Canada, and how you can too.

I started taking courses towards my tea sommelier certification through the Tea and Herbal Association of Canada in January 2015. If you haven’t found your New Year’s Resolution or project for 2018, maybe this is it!

How I Started My Tea Sommelier Training

I can’t remember exactly what made me enrol in Tea 101, but it was probably a Facebook ad. January is Hot Tea Month and tea found me. I clicked on the link and signed up, thinking, “Oh cool, I like tea.”

At the time I was working as a legal assistant, and missed doing classes since I finished my B.A. the spring before.

Cut to two and half years later and I rode this train all the way to the end of the line—I’m a bona fide certified TAC Tea Sommelier®.

cup of tea in the window sill

Is your Instagram feed full of relaxing and well-lit tea photos? You should probably be a tea sommelier.

What is a Tea Sommelier?

Tea sommeliers are people who—like wine sommeliers—are trained in the taste, terroir, history, and pairing knowledge of tea.

Much like our friends the wine sommelier, they can recommend how to better prepare and consume tea, can create tasting menus, and have knowledge of the steeped leaf that runs the gamut.

Some tea sommeliers who have especially deep regional knowledge have been known to tell you what mountain a tea was grown on, just by tasting the leaf’s liquor. Those people are like magicians.

All of us have our specialties, of course. Some might be experts in blending and scented tea, some might be Indian black tea ninjas. Some might be handy in the history of Taiwanese tea cultivars. Others might be soil and terroir nerds.

What Jobs Do Tea Sommeliers Do?

You can expect to see tea sommeliers running tea shops, being hired at upscale hotels to design tea menus and offer advice to restaurant proprietors.

Some examples of Tea Sommelier careers are Jennifer Commins, who runs a specialty tea shop in Toronto, Jan Subchartanan who searches for tea for a Thai import/export company, and Gabriela Lombardi who runs a tea shop in Milan, Italy. One of my favourite tea experts to follow, Kathy YL Chan, shares her tea advice with businesses—here’s a cool profile of her in the New York Times.

A certain amount of entrepreneurship is involved in finding yourself in any career. The tea sommelier certificate surely doesn’t guarantee anyone a job, but here’s a fun anecdote for you:

Much to my pride and pleasure, I finished a  Master’s in Journalism degree in the Spring of 2017, graduating with the class prize and everything. It was great, but I didn’t have anyone knocking on my door with job offers.

Then, a couple of months later I passed my tea sommelier exam and had two job offers in my inbox the same week. I ended up not taking either (both required me to move), but still, it goes to show that you never know where work will come from, and an expensive university degree doesn’t mean anything on the job market.

tea sommelier gaiwan with tea leaves

Being a tea sommelier means studying lots of wet tea leaves! Yum.

Becoming a Certified Tea Sommelier in Canada

I took my training with the Tea and Herbal Association of Canada, through their TAC TEA SOMMELIER® program.

More than 210 certified TAC Tea Sommelier® Professionals have graduated from the program, and their students aren’t limited to just Canadians.

The Tea and Herbal Association of Canada has graduated tea sommeliers in Canada, the US, Denmark, India, Italy, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, France, Hong Kong, Columbia, Mexico, and South Korea.

There are also students in Norway, Switzerland, South Africa, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Germany, Belgium, Morocco, Mauritius, Brazil, Australia, Japan, and Indonesia.

So, as you can see, it’s quite a global program. In my classes I had some students from France, and Brazil, and it was always interesting to hear their perspective and comments to the class on how tea culture was in their hometowns.

The TAC TEA SOMMELIER® program consists of 8 courses and 1 final exam. I’ll break down the contents of each course and the exam below.

Step One: Fall in Love with Tea

Step one of your tea sommelier training is to, well, fall in love with tea. That’s the easy part. The hard part will be the crazy relationship with tea you have after.

Okay, so while you could in theory fall in love with tea while studying to be a tea sommelier, I think we all know it’ll be easier if you love tea from the start. Otherwise, the mere sight of your poor kitchen drain clogged with tea leaves after a twenty cup tasting session might become further clogged by your tears of agony.

tea sommelier in front of bubble tea shop

You can’t fake enthusiasm like this.

Step Two: Take Classes With the Tea and Herbal Association of Canada

There are a few different options for taking the 8 courses required to become a tea sommelier through the Tea and Herbal Association of Canada.

Classes In Person

If you have the luck of living near one of the colleges where teachers administer the course in person, then I highly recommend you go that route as you’ll get a lot out of the face-to-face interaction, and tasting tea with a group.

Right now, Algonquin College in Ottawa, Mohawk College in Hamilton, Niagara College at Niagara-on-the-Lake, Seneca College, and Vancouver Community College offer the program regularly.

Classes Online

If you’re like me and live in a part of the world where no in-person tea sommelier courses exist—never fear! You can do the entire TAC Certified Tea Sommelier program online through the Academy of Tea. I took 100% of my classes online since the TAC doesn’t currently offer them in person in Nova Scotia.

Classes in Italian and Spanish

You can also take the same curriculum in Italian through the Protea Academy, or in Spanish via the Escuela Mexicana de Té.

Online classes consist of weekly, live, hour-long lessons with teachers conducted via GoToMeeting (like Skype, but better for classroom settings).

In between lessons, you’ll have tea tasting homework and written assignments. Usually the class begins by reviewing the lesson for the week, then you’re asked to describe the teas you’ve tasted, we do a bit of tea sommelier vocabulary learning, then there’ll be an open Q&A period at the end.

World map with a cup of tea and lemon on it.

During your tea sommelier studies you’ll taste tea from around the world.

Who Should Take Tea Sommelier Classes

I should mention now that people hoping to become tea sommeliers or work in tea aren’t the only ones who’d benefit from the tea sommelier classes. I’d also recommend them to anyone who works in professional food and beverage.

The tasting and menu preparation classes in particular are useful for anyone working with artisanal foods—such as wine, chocolate, or coffee.

Restaurateurs could also benefit from this knowledge. As a foodie and tea sommelier, one of my biggest gripes is the severe lack of tea knowledge in the restaurant world.

Even at very upscale places I’ve had a lot of ‘meh’ tea experiences. Sure, the occasional restaurant will be able to serve a scented tea, breakfast blend, or even a Darjeeling no problem, but ask for a nice oolong, or (god forbid) green tea, and you’re almost always left with a sub par tea experience.

When I go out with friends to restaurants, I’ll often order coffee.

“But don’t you like, LOVE tea?” they ask.

“Exactly,” I say, “That’s why I can’t order tea here.”

It sounds snobbish, but once you’ve had good tea it’s hard to drink packaged dust served with wrong temperature water, which (honestly) is what most places offer.

In closing: Restaurants—know your teas!

tea sommelier hands

Being a tea sommelier means getting to play with all sorts of beautiful teaware.

A Tea Sommelier Course Timeline

I took my first class in January 2015 and took my certification exam in June 2017. So I spread out the classes over about 2 and a half years.

Other than Tea 101, which must be completed first, the other courses can be done in any order you like. Click through the timeline below to see how I spaced my training out.

Honestly, I think spreading it out over time was a great way to do it. A big part of learning how to be a tea sommelier is building your palette. I could do a whole post on just learning how to taste tea (maybe I will).

How Much Do You Need to Know to Start Taking Tea Sommelier Classes?

Nothing! Literally. All you need is enthusiasm for the brewed leaf, and an open mind.

When I started I knew a few basic teas— earl grey, genmaicha, and could basically tell you whether a tea was white, green, oolong, or black. Well, most of the time.

matcha latte in a green mug

Who doesn’t love a matcha latte?

I definitely couldn’t tell the difference between a short and long-oxidized oolong, sencha and gyokuro, Chinese green vs Japanese green. I definitely would not have been able to tell you whether a black tea came from India or Sri Lanka, whether a white tea was a bai mu dan (white peony) or bai hao yin zhen (white silver needle).

Now… I can! And I have a super-powered vocabulary of creative words to use when talking about tea. I can discuss how tea affects and pairs with the five primary taste sensations—salty, sour, sweet, bitter, and umami.

If you want to learn a bunch of fun tea sommelier words, check out How to Talk Like a Tea Sommelier, a blog post I wrote for the Tea and Herbal Association of Canada.

Just a baby tea nerd

When I started my training I was super into Japanese tea culture, fresh of my student exchange from Japan where I’d seen chawans (Japanese tea bowls) made up close by a Japanese master potter in the Hagi region, famous for its Hagi Yaki pottery and wabi sabi style.

But, to be honest, beyond my enthusiasm, I didn’t have a great base of knowledge for tea history, and was hungry to learn.

For me in particular, I love learning about how colonization and culture affected tea practices, and how different cultures interpret one amazing leaf.

In Burma you have Lahpet (tea leaf salad), in Tibet—salty butter tea, while in Japan people spend hours on the highly ritualized Japanese tea ceremony, while in the back alleys of China grandfathers sit and drink tea all day in the laissez-faire gong fu style.

english tea

Of course, the British know how to offer a nice cup of tea too. Thick cream and biscuits always at hand!

The TAC Certified Tea Sommelier Course Outline

Tea 101: Introduction to Tea

This was my first course and introduction to the tea world. Jeff Kovac from Four Seasons Tea was our teacher.

Tea 101 was awesome because it got me totally hooked into learning more about tea. I signed up for this course on a bit of a whim, just thinking I’d do the Tea 101 and the not continue with the rest of the course.

Boy, was I wrong.

We learned what the difference is in processing between white, yellow, green, oolong, black, and fermented teas, and how they all come from the camellia sinensis plant.

We also learned the origins of tea—historically factual and mythical, the basics of tasting teas and tea sommelier vocabulary, some basic tea types with the overall categories—like Ti Kuan Yin, Gunpowder, White Silver Needle, etc.

There was also a lot of learning about tea grading and types. We distinguished big, whole orthodox tea leaves from the finely ground CTC (cut, tear, curl) that appears in our breakfast blends. This might have also been when I unfortunately realized most restaurants in North American essentially serve packages dust, or sweepings off the factory floor, disguised as tea. Yuck. Once you taste good tea, you can never go back!

Tea 102: Regions of the World

Shabnam Weber taught this and all the rest of my courses. Shabnam is an entrepreneur and founder of The Tea Emporium in Toronto. She is an absolute encyclopedia of tea knowledge, and dedicated teacher. She also had a huge role in designing the tea sommelier program.

Regions of the world was COOL. As a travel-phile and cross-cultural nerd, I loved how each lesson here focused on tea in a different part of the world, from China, to Japan, Sri Lanka & India, Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, Taiwan, Vietnam, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Russia, and more.

If Tea 101 got me hooked, Tea 102 grabbed me by the hand and said, “Yeah, you’re in this for the long haul.”

lemon tea from Japan

Lemon tea from Japan

Tea 103: Sensory Development

Tea 103 was a more difficult course. I mean, everything is do-able and figure-out-able, but Sensory Development definitely challenged me. Instead of just focusing on fun facts, now we had to really learn to train our palates.

There was a lot of cross-comparison and blind taste testing, with a focus on describing what we were experiencing.

A rewarding part of the class was when we got to compare tasting notes for waters, chocolate, coffees, and olive oil.

This class might have also made an olive oil fan out of me.

*Halifax readers should try a visit to Liquid Gold in the Hydrostone or Sunnyside Mall for some really quality olive oil and vinegar pairings. What? It’s for your tea studies.

Tea 104: Tea Types

Here we took a MUCH deeper dive into the various subdivisions of tea. Here’s an excerpt of my tasting list from the China section to give you an idea of what we tried. It goes far beyond ‘green,’ ‘black,’ etc.

  • Bai hao yin zhen (Chinese white tea)
  • Pai mu tan (Chinese white tea)
  • Ti kuan yin (Chinese oolong)
  • Gunpowder (Chinese green)
  • Mao feng (Chinese green)
  • Mao jian (Chinese green)
  • Dragonwell (Chinese green)
  • Jasmine (Chinese green)
  • Keemun (Chinese black)
  • Lapsang souchong  (Chinese black)

And then just when you had your palette sorted with the differences between all those greens and whites, for example, then you’d start on a completely new region.

For example, India and Sri Lanka were as follows:

  • Assam Black Orthodox (Indian black tea)
  • Nilgiri (Indian black tea)
  • Darjeeling White (Indian white tea)
  • Darjeeling 1st Flush (a flush is a harvest) (Indian black tea)
  • Darjeeling 2nd Flush (Indian black tea)
  • Kandy (Sri Lankan black tea)
  • Dimbula (Sri Lankan black tea)
  • Nuwara Eliya (Sri Lankan black tea)
  • Uva (Sri Lankan black tea)
  • Ruhuna (Sri Lankan black tea)
  • Green (Sri Lankan green  tea)

You get the picture? It was great for making my palate more specific. The only way to know is to sip!

oolong tea leaves in a strainer.

Wet oolong leaves are so pretty. Notice the red, partly oxidized edges.

Tea 105: From Bush to Cup

This section focuses much more in-depth on the process of harvesting and processing tea. Literally, how the leaf gets from the bush to your cup.

You’ll talk a lot about practical problems that growers and producers face, like how to create a breakfast tea blend that tastes the same year after year, even when production and taste from tea fields differs year after year.

Another problem a buyer might face is how to store and transport tea from auction once it’s been bought. Tea is fickle to store. Any light or damp can have a negative affect!

We also learned about varieties of tea, hybridization, cloning, and some botanist considerations of tea. This is also where we discussed differences in production methods between countries that give each tea its unique taste.

For example, in China pan-frying stops tea from oxidizing. In Japan, it’s steam. These two different methods give their respective teas unique flavour characteristics.

Another aspect of production is organic consideration and social responsibility—fair trade, regulations, codes of conduct, philosophies, etc.

Tea 106: Preparation, Consumption, and Health

Pretty straightforward and as the title says, this course focused on different ways tea is consumed around the world, with a focus on the health aspects of tea, which have spurred its popularity in North America especially.

Whether it’s cold-steeped, brewed hot, left in the ground for days, or eaten, tea has a chemical effect on the body.

In this course we discuss compounds like caffeine, polyphenols like epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), amino acids like L-Theanine, and more!  EGCG is a catechin and often the subject of tea antioxidant studies. L-Theanine is responsible for tea inducing alpha waves in the brain. They’re the ones responsible for that pleasant ‘mindful alertness’ state you get when drinking tea.

Tea 107: Menu Design, Food Pairing & Cooking

THIS was a fun course. Here we focus on using tea in cooking and baking—from genmaicha-infused chicken noodle soup, to earl grey custards, and more.

The highlight of this course for me was the last project—picking your favourite restaurant and creating a paired tea menu to go with their offerings. Too much fun.

We also had to explain tea storage and service as though we were working with restaurateurs. Once again—restaurant owners! There’s no reason to be serving sub-par tea in your restaurants. There are lots of qualified tea sommeliers you can contract out to help you get your tea service top-notch.

tea leaves and chocolate

Tasting teas with chocolate. One of my favourites (or two, actually!).

Tea 108: The Business of Tea

Oh, so you thought tea was all floral china cups and cucumber sandwiches? Not true!

Tea is a huge, global, multi-billion dollar industry with millions of people involved. Here you meet some of the big players, from growers, to pickers, to brands, to consumers. You’ll find out how they all interact, how government regulations work, and how politics is also involved in the tea trade.

There’s also a nice section in here on Canadian Imports and Canadian tea statistics. I say ‘nice’ because normally when I’m doing online learning the course is almost invariably from America and requires me to do some extra research to find out if what I’m learning holds up in Canada. So it was nice not to have to do that here.

I enjoyed learning about the different relationships between smallholder growers, factory-owned estates, blending factories, overseas packers, distributors, retailers, auctions, and more. Man, it’s amazing the places your tea goes before it ever makes it into your cup.

tea sommelier black tea and rifle paper co design

Tea and paper patterns. When I’m not traveling, I’m a huge homebody.

Final Exam Prep Session

Now we’re in the home stretch. This prep session arranged by the TAC is completely optional but I 100% recommend you take it. It ended up being a few months between my last class (Tea 108 finished in September) and my final exam date (June in 2017).

I took the prep session a few weeks before the exam and I really feel it helped refresh my knowledge and gave me confidence that I knew what I was doing before I went into the exam. You go through each section and discuss how to best perform in each one. You’ll also review the types of teas that might show up on the blind taste test during the exam.

Stopping by to say hi to Louise Roberge, President of the Tea Association of Canada at the Halifax tea Festival in 2017. Louise was the adjudicator for my final exam!

Step Three: Complete the TAC Tea Sommelier Final Exam

The TAC Tea Sommelier® final exam has four parts. All must be completed on the exam day.

  1. Multiple Choice Exam (60 questions, 30 minutes) (30%)
  2. Tea Preparation (~15 minutes) (30%)
  3. Oral Presentation (10 minutes) (10%)
  4. Blind Tasting (30 minutes) (30%)

You can do the multiple choice exam online and it’s fairly straightforward—choose the right answer and move on.

First of all, for tea preparation, your examiner chooses a white, green, oolong, pu’erh, or black tea at random. You have to prepare that tea for them explaining how you’re doing it (water temperature, amount, steep time, utensils) and why.

In the oral presentation section your examiner will draw one of six topics out of a hat: tea regions, tea history, types of tea and processing methods, health of tea, tea preparation, or menu suggestions. Whatever they choose, you have to launch into a ten minute talk about it. Good luck!

The blind tasting section is what everyone worries about the most. To pass the overall exam you need to get at least a 75% on the blind cupping.

For the blind tasting, an assistant prepares 10 teas in cups. You never see the wet leaves, which could be a dead giveaway of the tea. All you see is the liquid.

From there, you have to name the style, type, and country of origin (for some countries, the region as well). For example, if the tea is a white tea from China, you have to say whether it’s White Silver Needle (bai hao yin zhen) or White Peony (bai mu dan). If it’s a black tea from India, you have to say whether it’s Assam, Darjeeling, or Nilgiri.

Blind Cupping Tips

I was definitely most intimidated by this section of the exam, but drinking truckloads of tea the week before paid off. I passed the blind taste test with a cool 100% mark. Best. Day. Ever.

The best tip I have for preparing for the blind taste test is this:

  1. Do contrasting sips for teas with similar teas. (ex: Darjeeling vs. Assam, or White Silver Needle vs. White Peony, back and forth)
  1. Pick one tea per week (or day), and then drink the hell out of that tea. When you move on to your next tea, the difference will be a lot more obvious.

For example, I drank genmaicha so much as a teenager that as soon as it touches my lips I know, ‘That’s genmaicha.’ You need to train your taste buds with all the other teas so as soon as they touch you know, “that’s Keemun,” or “That’s darjeeling.” The only way to get better at this is to drink more tea (yay!).

Cost of Becoming a Certified Tea Sommelier

Here’s a breakdown of what my tea sommelier certification cost me.

Tea 101: Introduction to Tea $228. 85
Tea 102: Regions of the World $316.25
Tea 103: Sensory Development $316.25
Tea 104: Tea Types $316.25
Tea 105: From Bush to Cup $316.25
Tea 106: Preparation, Consumption, and Health $316.25
Tea 107: Menu Design, Food Pairing, and Cooking $339.25
Tea 108: The Business of Tea $339.25
Final Exam Prep Class $201.25
Final Exam $305.35
Membership Cost (Yearly) $113.00

My total investment in the TAC Tea Sommelier Program was $3,108.20 in Canadian dollars. That’s an average of $103 per month over two and a half years.

Now that I’m a tea sommelier, I pay a yearly fee of $113. This fee keeps me a member of the Tea Association of Canada, and has benefits such as: free professional development webinars, special rates to tea conferences, being included in their ‘Find a TAC Tea Sommelier® Professional’ web portal, free access to the Tea House Time quarterly publication, speaking opportunities, and other professional jazz.

Of these benefits, the ones I most appreciate are being included in their tea sommelier database, and access to the professional development webinars.

Any More Questions?

I’d love to help answer any more questions you have about becoming a tea sommelier, or about anything. Just leave a comment and I’ll get back to you!

  • Reply
    Damiano
    February 27, 2018 at 5:45 pm

    That is definitely a really interesting article! I am relatively new to the tea world but I’m looking to improve my tasting skill to achieve the exam here in Italy (someday in the distant future).
    Also, I record all the teas that I am tasting to remember them, so I take some notes about taste and flavour. It would be really cool to read a post on how to taste professionally a tea, and how to record efficiently all the relevant characteristics. In the meantime, the “dictionary post” that you linked will be very useful! Thank you!

    • Reply
      Mel Hattie
      February 27, 2018 at 7:47 pm

      That’s such a good idea Damiano! Love the idea of a ‘How to Taste Tea’ post, including how to record all your notes. I actually do have a system for this. Thanks for the inspiration—I’ll write about this in March!

    • Reply
      Mel Hattie
      April 7, 2018 at 9:24 am

      Hi Damiano! I just published a post called ‘How to Taste Tea Like a Tea Sommelier’ that includes how I record all the tea’s characteristics when I taste it! Hope this helps. :- ) https://melhadtea.com/how-to-taste-tea/

      • Reply
        Damiano
        April 7, 2018 at 10:10 am

        Hi Mel, thank you for writing that post! Yesterday I’ve noticed it in my Feedly and I saved it to read it carefully later. I am sure that I will take lots of inspirations for my personal notes!
        By the way, I will let you know when I ‘ve read it! 🙂

        • Reply
          Mel Hattie
          April 7, 2018 at 12:11 pm

          Hi Damiano, thanks so much for helping inspire that post! Let me know if there’s ever anything else I can help with. Take care and have a good weekend!

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  • Reply
    whitenosugarblog
    April 9, 2018 at 9:54 am

    I loved your post! I wish we would have something like this in the UK, I would love to do a course and learn more than just having it as a hobby. However, I don’t know if I’d be ready to commit that much money!

    • Reply
      Mel Hattie
      April 9, 2018 at 10:00 am

      It’s definitely a financial commitment to do the whole thing. You could always try the intro course and see how you like it, or maybe spread it out over a few years so it’s not an all up front cost. Definitely Tea 101 would give you a great primer on all the essentials!

  • Reply
    Jake
    April 15, 2018 at 7:44 pm

    Hi Mel!

    I find myself so lucky to happen upon your blog!

    I will continue to keep reading through as I find myself in the rough stages of the first 2 years of all of this. With a huge smile on my face through it so far, I know this is my Ikigai.

    Reading your other post, it mentions you planned to visit Japan in the spring! I find myself there this summer to work on the tea farms and continue this quest.

    If we can be in touch or email about other details regarding the path of tea that would be great! If not, I really enjoy your writing and thoughts and will continue to read on 🙂

    Cheers,

    Jake

    • Reply
      Mel Hattie
      April 16, 2018 at 9:36 am

      Hi Jake! Wow, that’s awesome that you’ve found your ikigai (one of my favourite Japanese words). It’s wonderful when we find the intersection of passion and profession. And you’re even going to Japan this summer! Super exciting. Do you know what region you’ll be in?

  • Reply
    Toki
    April 29, 2018 at 4:46 pm

    I’m so glad to have found this blog post. Not much is out there for those venturing to this field. Very insightful.

    • Reply
      Mel Hattie
      April 30, 2018 at 7:50 pm

      Thank you Toki! Getting notes like this inspires me to write more. Is there anything in particular you think it would be useful to have written? Or anything you’d like me to research? Thanks! <3

  • Reply
    Jake
    June 3, 2018 at 7:39 pm

    Hello again! I apologize for the delay and appreciate the quick response all in this one realization that I don’t receive updates for any comments here!! I should’ve known to check back (or of course click the box below as I see now, rats).

    I spyyy some Ikigai. When I entered into this world of tea connection, history, poetry, and the brain health neuroscience it connects to, I thought myself alone with only tea scholars of hundreds or thousands of years between me and them. The struggle seemed to be how to reveal the presence of tea in the world to others who would wish to seek the same?… but as I said before I’m happy to come across your work! I admire your passion very much and it shines the way for me as an ironic finding to my previous question. Now I know it will be about listening to the present day, as well as the clarity found in the aged wrinkles of wisdom in the veins of the leaf.

    I’ll be in Kyoto, Uji, Nara, Ehime, Miyazaki, Fukuoka/Yame… maybe Chiran too. How are your travels now and would you have any Mel Thoughts on what I’ve said here? Just read your post on The Alchemist and I’m so happy you raise awareness about that book, too. I’ve come to find myself buying more and more copies for others if I can help it.

    Jake : )

    • Reply
      Mel Hattie
      June 3, 2018 at 8:09 pm

      Hey Jake, that’s awesome! There are definitely a lot of modern tea lovers carrying the torch. It’s a pretty great community! I’m staying right now in Wazuka, a small tea producing town about an hour’s drive southeast of Kyoto, just past Uji. They make about 23% of Japan’s matcha here! If you happen to come by our way, let me know. There are some great tea tours here, and tea hikes as well.

  • Reply
    Jake
    June 3, 2018 at 9:03 pm

    Mel,

    You are so right… and oh man that is so excellent!! I believe I’ve found you on Gmaps out there and that is so close & doable as I head north from Nara. Count me in on any tea hikes and tours if you mean it! I hope you’re out there for over a month because I first fly into Kauai, HI to help the relief efforts after the flood. Hoping to a ‘yes’ on that!

    Would you like me to email you directly through my own to stay in touch or do you prefer communications through here?

    • Reply
      Mel Hattie
      June 3, 2018 at 10:19 pm

      That’s awesome! Yeah we’re very close to Nara as well. When you get to the area, why don’t you send me a note to mel@melhadtea.com and we can arrange something. I’ll be here almost until the end of July. Good luck in Hawaii!

  • Reply
    Jake
    June 4, 2018 at 2:15 am

    Will do, most definitely will do… and thanks!!

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