By Nicole Martin
Tasting and comparing a variety of teas is essential for any tea professional’s education, but many of us struggle with the depth that the tea world has to offer. The International Tea Cuppers Club, or ITCC, is an organization that has set out to make cupping both educational and accessible for tea lovers of all levels. Education, community, fellowship and social good for tea producers are all central features of its activities. Exclusive discounts are made available by members who own businesses, for their fellow cuppers to enjoy. A one-time membership fee of US$95 gives members lifetime access to purchase cupping event kits, and there are other membership perks.
At World Tea Expo, ITCC held a tasting event. Admission was free and the goal was to help educate as well as highlight the teas produced by ITCC members. Attendees tasted teas using ISO 3103 industry standards to obtain consistent results. White porcelain cups were used to brew 2 g of leaves for 6 minutes. The appearance and aroma of both dry and wet leaves were examined, and then the tea was evaluated by tasting.
ITCC member Rajiv Lochan sees education and standardization as some of the benefits of membership. As a tea producer in Bihar, India, he has found it enormously helpful to thoroughly explore teas from other regions.
Founder Dan Robertson started ITCC as a way to pay forward all of the knowledge that he has gleaned from the tea industry over the years. Utilizing a network of tea retailers, importers and producers enables ITCC to have tea made according to the specifications of their intended tastings. He also imports tea through his business The Tea House, and operates global tea tours through World Tea Tours. The dovetailing of these ventures puts him a unique position to offer ITCC members a complete immersion in the world of tea.
Interested tea enthusiasts can find out more at www.teacuppers.com.