Tea Master Image


This is a very high level and intense course and demands a commitment of at least  84 hours (12 x 7 hour modules), plus self study. To become a Tea Master, participants will be expected to have visited at least one tea estate during their study period.

All participants of the Tea Master course must complete the 8 compulsory CORE MODULES (see below) and 4 additional modules selected from the list of elective modules (see below).

COST:  £500 + VAT per module
If you have previously qualified as a UK TEA SOMMELIER with us, each module can be booked for £300 + VAT. You must book directly with us by sending an email to info@ukteaacademy.com to get this special price. Do not book online through Eventbrite.

Anyone not aiming for Tea Master certification may book a place at any of the modules listed below:


Chinese Tea Masterclass - Read more about this module



Juyan Webster is the owner and founder of the The Chinese Tea Company in London. Growing up in Zhejiang Province, which is one of the most important provinces of China in tea production, Juyan was surrounded by tea and tea culture. Her family grew tea on their land where, as a child, she worked alongside her mother, picking and processing tea. It was this upbringing that shaped a passion for tea and her vast knowledge of tea production.


1. History
1.1. Discovering Tea
1.2. Tang dynasty (1400 years ago)
1.3. Song Dynasty (1000 years ago)
1.4. Ming Dynasty
1.5. After Ming to now

2. Chinese tea culture
• Drinking customs
• Tea and art

3. Tea Trade
Brief history before and how to buy tea today

4. Tea classification and processing
How tea is classified and processed

4.1 White tea
• History
• Origin
• Harvest
• Processing
• Grading
• Tea examples

4.2 Green Tea
• History
• Origin
• Harvest
• Processing
• Grading
• Tea examples

4.3 Yellow tea
• History
• Origin
• Harvest
• Processing
• Grading
• Tea examples

4.4 Oolong tea
• History
• Origin
• Harvest
• Processing
• Grading
• Tea examples

4.5 Black tea
• History
• Origin
• Harvest
• Processing
• Grading
• Tea examples

4.6 Post-fermented tea
• History
• Origin
• Harvest
• Processing
• Grading
• Tea examples: Puer Tea, Hei Cha

5. Tea Packaging
• Tea bags
• Loose tea
• Compressed tea
• Instant tea
• Bottled tea

6. Brewing Tea and Gong Fu Cha
• How to brew different tea
• Gong Fu Cha

7. Chinese Tea Tasting

8. Chinese tea wares

9. Chinese tea and health

10. Storage


Japanese Tea Masterclass - Read more about this module


• The history of Japanese Tea
• Where the tea plant grows in Japan, climate, soil, cultivars, etc.
• How tea plants are grown for the production of different types of Japanese tea using shading, direct cover, no shading, etc.
• The harvesting method in Japan
• The manufacture of Sencha, Hojicha, Genmaicha, Gyokuro, Tama-ryokucha, Tencha, Matcha, Japanese black teas, post-fermented teas such as Batabata Cha and Awa-Bancha, and various other teas
• The sorting process of Japanese teas
• Tasting various types of Japanese tea
• The science of green tea
• How to brew different types of Japanese tea using different tea wares
• Water temperature and tea
• Taste teas brewed with different temperatures
• Brewing vessels for different type of teas and how to look after them
• Brewing practice
• How to store Japanese teas
• Green tea and health
• Using green tea for cooking, what grade should you use?
• Major tea producing regions and their specific ‘brand’ teas (eg Sonogi-cha from Nagasaki. Uji-cha from Kyoto, etc.)
• How to brew, taste and evaluate Japanese teas like professional Japanese tasters


Taiwanese Tea Masterclass - Read more about this module

This module will discuss the history of Taiwan's tea industry; the different producing regions, the varietals and cultivars grown; the types of teas produced, including Wenshan Bao Zhong teas, Gaoshan Jade Oolongs, Classic Tung Ting Oolongs, Milk Oolongs, Baked (Amber) oolongs, Aged Oolongs, Oriental Beauty, Taitung Oolongs, Ruby Oolong, and Formosa Bonita. We will discuss the different stages of processing, the different levels of oxidation, and taste examples of each type of tea.


Indian Tea Masterclass (Course details coming soon)

Ceylon Tea Masterclass  - Read more about this module

CEYLON TEA MASTERCLASS - Michael James Bunston
Michael Bunston was Honorary Chairman of the International Tea Committee for 20 years (1993-2013). In 2002, he retired from his position as Chairman of Wilson Smithett, one of the leading tea broking firms in the UK, which he joined in 1959. He has travelled extensively in Africa, India & Sri Lanka and, while working as a broker, he played a vital role in the London Tea Auctions, which finally closed in 1998 after 164 years. He also served on a number of Tea Trade Committees, including The European Tea Committee, and chaired the Tea Brokers Association and The United Kingdom Tea Association. In 2014, he was awarded an OBE by the Queen for services to the International Tea Industry. He sits on the committee of The Friends of Sri Lanka in London.


Nepali, Korean and Vietnamese Tea Masterclass - (Course details coming soon)

Advanced Tasting Skills - Read more about this module

Sensory analysis and the language of taste, is a vital skill to have in the tea industry. In Advanced Tasting you will gain valuable knowledge of the 120 most commonly used tea descriptors. We will look at the 10 categories of Tea Descriptions - colour, brightness, clarity, quality, mouthfeel, contaminations, infusion, dry leaf appearance, taste and origin specific flavour. You will leave with the tools to taste differences in region and altitude, and to confidently describe what you are tasting - join us for what will be a day of sensory delight!
• Theoretical principles
• What is sensory analysis?
• Why is sensory important in tea?
• Brew a speciality vs. mainstream tea, discuss and acknowledge differences
• How we taste
• Olfactory, taste and flavour
• Fruit pastel taste test(?)
• The 5 basic tastes
• The importance of using a consistent standardised language
• Key terminology / sensory vocabulary used
• Positive and negative key terms
• The 10 categories of tea descriptions
• For each category, the most common tea descriptors and what they mean
• Define colour, brightness and clarity in tea
• Define mouthfeel in tea (using milk vs. water to illustrate)
• Define dry leaf appearance (dry leaf batch to illustrate key terms)
• Define origin specific flavour (taste an origin batch 10-12 teas together using the descriptors as an aid)
• Define contaminations in tea
• Define quality and infusion in tea (comparing a poor vs. excellent quality tea - use all senses to assess dry leaf, liquor and infusion)
• Other terms defined as taste
• For each category, the most common tea descriptors and what they mean
• Recap on brewing technique
• Assessing the dry leaf, liquor and infusion
• Sensory equipment
• The core equipment for tea sensory analysis
• The importance of hygienic, odour-free work space for brewing
• How to set up sensory skills in your business
• Running a tea tasting session
To be included in test or used as handouts throughout the day -
1. Identify equipment that is necessary or superfluous to a tea tasting assessment from a list
2. Repeat the standard process for setting up a tea tasting batch, recalling standard measurements and protocol
3. Origin batch - blind tasting and correct recognition of 10-12 different regional black teas
4. Common descriptors & what they mean (each person given 12 descriptor single word cards, which they have to bring to front table and add to the relevant category/group (e.g. earthy, oily, high-fired would all go under "contaminations", and muscatel, low grown, Yunnan would all go under "origin specific flavour").


Tea Science and Health (Course details coming soon)


Dark Teas Masterclass (Course details coming soon)

African and Indonesian Tea Masterclass

Emerging Tea Producing Regions

The Tea Plant and the Cultivation of Tea - Read more about this module

We shall look at tea cultivation from the farmer’s view - providing the right conditions and inputs for tea to grow well, and from the plant’s view - how it responds to the various cultivation techniques used around the world.  The day will cover traditional husbandry and more modern ways to enhance yield and quality.

About Nigel Melican: For 27 years Nigel worked with Unilever Research on all aspects of tea improvement, from marginal condition planting to factory design, optimisation and value addition. In 1990 he founded Teacraft Ltd, which provides technical consultancy and training in tea husbandry, production, management, value addition and marketing, and also invented the award winning Teacraft ECM System “tea factory in a box”, now used by Tea Research Institutes around the world. Nigel has been known to boast that he has personally manufactured good black tea on six of the world’s seven continents. He also founded Nothing But Tea Ltd in 2002.

What we shall cover today
About Teacraft

Some Tea Background

  • ISO definition of tea
  • Where tea is from
  • Where it grows
  • Who grows it
  • Some growing statistics

Tea Cultivation – the external influences

Natural inputs

  • Light – Intensity, Duration, Quality
  • Temperature
  • Humidity
  • Pests & diseases
  • Carbon dioxide level
  • Soil – type, pH, drainage, depth, fertility, leaching
  • Rainfall
  • Wind
  • Mycorrhiza

Human inputs

  • Tea breeding, selection, cultivars, clones and varieties
  • Propagation – seed, cuttings, nursery technique
  • Planting – planning, soil preparation, density, spacing, protection
  • Fertilizer – nutrient balance, organic versus conventional growing
  • Irrigation
  • Plant husbandry – mulching, weeding, pest & disease control
  • Pruning -formative pruning, maintenance pruning,
  • Harvesting – methods, frequency, timing

Growing tea at home
Do’s and Don’ts

Growing tea under marginal conditions

Tea Cultivation – the plant’s responses

Cytology – what’s happening at the cellular level
Development responses

  • Germination
  • Vigour
  • Dormancy
  • Juvenility
  • Flowering

Morphological responses

  • to imposed pruning
  • to imposed harvesting

Physiological responses

  • Uptake & transport of water
  • Uptake & transport of nutrients
  • Partition of synthate
  • Storage of excess metabolites – starch, protein & fats
  • Transpiration for temperature control
  • Defence strategies against pests & diseases

Metabolic responses

  • Photosynthesis – producing glucose fuel
  • Respiration – producing energy for growth
  • Biosynthesis – producing the compounds that end up in the cup
  • Volatiles biosynthesis – tea aroma
  • Non-volatiles biosynthesis – catechins, theanine, taste and colour

Commercial tea growing
Yield – how it is measured, importance, typical values
Quality – importance of, how defined, how ensured
Types – conventional, sustainable, organic, and biodynamic systems explained
Future – drivers for change in tea cultivation; how the industry is responding


World Tea History

The History of Tea Drinking in Britain and Afternoon Tea

The Ethics and Logistics of the Tea Trade - Read more about this module

Presented by Angela Pryce and Amanda Penn

The Ethics of the Tea Trade, presented by Amanda Penn:

There is much more to tea, of course, then what you see in the cup. Today’s customers, both corporate and individual consumers, want to understand where products come from and require assurance that the people who make and grow them are treated and paid fairly, and that the environment is not harmed in the growing and processing of these products.

 - What are the key ethical risks in the tea supply chain?

 - What should tea businesses be doing to ensure they are selling a product they can be proud of?

Come to learn and discuss practical steps to ensure your tea business is a truly sustainable one.

The Logistics of the Tea Trade, presented by Angela Pryce:

  • Brief recap on bush to pack
  • Sorting and grading
  • What constitutes an invoice?
  • Factory packaging
  • Route to sales market

The auction system; auction catalogues, how it works, manual vs. electronic bidding, the role of the tea broker, auction centres worldwide and weekly auction timetable, transparency

Private contract, how it works

 - via tea producers; single estate or producing group

 - via tea traders in origin

 - via tea traders or retailers in market (e.g. EU or UK)

The growing calender and seasonality


Seafreight; past (the tea clipper) to now, containerised FCL vs. LCL, pros and cons

Airfreight; pros and cons

Incoterms; International Commercial Terms…the language of international trade

Helps to define where ownership, risk and the responsibilities of buyers (generally importers) and sellers (generally exporters) transfer throughout the delivery process

The most common terms and what they mean

Import legislation to be considered; pesticides, heavy metals

Retail pack options

Teabags vs. loose

Teabag types (double chamber, pillow, round, pyramid)

Examples of teabag packing machines (constanta, perfecta, fuso)

Cartons vs. tins vs. pouch – considerations of each


Tea and Mixology

Tea and Chinese Medicine

Tea Rituals Around the World

Tea Manufacture

Chinese and Japanese Tea Rituals - Read more about this module


Chinese Gong Fu Tea Ceremony, presented by Juyan Webster

1. Introduction of Gong Fu Tea (10mins)

What is Gong Fu Cha? When did it started?

2. Gong Fu Tea basics

2.1 Variables that affect the final taste of a tea
2.2 The parameters
2.3 Basic tea ware for Gong Fu Cha
2.4 The fundamental steps of Gong Fu Tea
2.5 Demonstrating Gong Fu Tea

3. Practising Gong Fu Tea step by step

3.1 How to brew green tea
3.2 How to brew oolong tea
3.3 How to brew Black tea
3.4 How to brew Puer Tea

4. How to taste the tea: feeling with your five senses



Tea Master Examinations covering the different topics will be held on selected dates throughout the year. Dates will be announced in due course.  Exams will consist of 3 hour written papers on each of the different topics and will be marked by the individual specialists who deliver the modules. The level of knowledge must be very high in order to pass these exams.