World Tea News asked World Tea Academy graduates why they chose the institution for their tea education, and how they feel this education has helped their careers in the tea industry. These are their responses.
I chose the World Tea Academy for its reputation and for the convenience of completing the certifications online. As a small Tea business owner, traveling for training would have been practically impossible.
I have found the training to be immensely beneficial to me and my business. I have been in this business for 7 years and have been mostly self-taught. The classes provided me so much more information and has improved my ‘skills’ so that I can better educate my customers. It has allowed me to better conduct my tea tasting classes and to add additional classes for my customers. It has also helped me to better train my staff.
I have thoroughly enjoyed each of the classes I have taken and am continually amazed on what I still have to learn. The world of Tea is so much more than I ever realized. I would highly recommend the WTA to anyone in the tea industry.
After doing a very thorough comparison of many programs available for tea sommelier certification and speaking to a few graduates from the various programs, I chose the WTA because it had a reputation for being the most scientific. I heard that it offered an in depth look into many aspects of the tasting experience that some of the other courses did not offer, such as a study of the taste buds and biology behind tasting, an examination of the chemicals present in the Camellia sinensis plant, and an open discussion of species, varieties and other botanicals using correct scientific names. The opportunity to do some hands-on blending was given and the program relied less on rote memorization. The certificate could be earned in two parts and had more courses available to take after completion of the tea sommelier certificate.
I have incorporated some small things that I learned into my day to day conversations and some courses that I teach. Overall, the biggest aid so far has been in explaining my job to strangers as well as co-workers—saying I am a Tea Sommelier helps people understand what I do a lot more easily.
I have been a lover of tea for more than 30 years. I gave my first afternoon tea in 1990 just before a trip to London. The type of tea was not important to me at that time. I loved the dainty food and tea pots and silver tea strainers and sugar tongs. Then I met Lee Garcia of Tea in Texas Magazine and I realized I didn’t know anything about tea. Unfortunately, tea classes from STI (Specialty Tea Institute) were inconvenient and expensive, so I gave up the idea. Then a few years ago, I was talking to my sister Brenda who blends the tea for Lee. She wanted to learn more too. By this time WTA was offering classes online so we signed up together. I live in Dallas and she lives in Houston so we texted constantly. They sounded really interesting and we loved how they sent teas and tools to compete each class. I am still amazed at how much we learned and retained from the experiences.
I have since visited tea farms in China, Taiwan, Korea, and Japan and was able to expand my knowledge. We have completed Tea Specialist, Tea Sommelier and Tea Professional. We will be working on the new Tea Blender class in March. The only thing I missed about the classes was there was no in-person feedback.
I heard about it through the world tea expo. I also wanted to continue my education within an area that I had interest.
I feel that the World Tea Academy has helped equip me to learn about the many aspects of tea.
World Tea Academy Graduates from the Second Half of 2019
Certified Tea Specialist: Héctor Alejandro Jaime Félix and Michael Ovtchinnikov
Certified Tea Professional: Cathy Roach and Brenda Preuss
Certified Tea Blender: Terri Allmon and Patricia Dennison
Certified Tea Specialist: Anne Milneck
Certified Tea Professional: Katherine Kern
Certified Tea Sommelier: Katherine Kern and Marcela Iurinic
August and September
Certified Tea Health Expert: Rebecca Leathers and Larisa Petukhova
Certified Tea Blender: Michele Abbott
Certified Tea Professional, Mia Belle
Certified Tea Professional AND Certified Tea Sommelier, Anne Milneck
Certified Tea Health Expert, Marisa Smith
Certified Tea Blender, Darlene Pearce
Certified Tea Specialist: Lisa Biafore
Certified Tea Professional: Larisa Petukhova, James Murphy, Jr., and Marisa Smith
Certified Tea Sommelier: Piotr Miga, Celia Carmen Aceae, Larisa Petukhova, and James Murphy, Jr.
Certified Tea Health Expert: James Murphy, Jr.
Certified Tea Blender: James Murphy, Jr.