UKTA Newsletter August 2023
UKTA to host prestigious UNESCO Celebration Event with China’s Tea Masters
On November 29th 2022, the UNESCO Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage added the ‘traditional tea processing techniques and associated social practices in China’ to its cultural heritage list. This includes safeguarding the knowledge, skill and practices concerning the management of tea gardens, the picking of leaves, artisanal hand processing, brewing, sharing and drinking tea.
As we all know, tea drinking plays an essential and valuable role in everyday life in China, at home, in tea houses, restaurants, work places and temples, and is also part of ceremonial events such as weddings and other celebrations. The knowledge, skills and traditions are passed down through the generations so that tea lovers everywhere can enjoy thousands of China’s wonderful teas.
To celebrate, UKTA is hosting a very special event on Saturday 25th November at 10am UK time.
Almost exactly one year on from the UNESCO listing, our online gathering of tea masters, prestigious tea veterans, and UKTA students and friends, will celebrate the important recognition that UNESCO has awarded Chinese tea. UKTA is honoured to have been invited to share the wonderful news with our students and tea lovers around the world and we are thrilled to be able to offer not just the teas to taste but the chance to meet three of the most important tea masters who are famous for processing particular types of tea. And our fourth guest is a member of the China Tea Academy and tutor of the 1st session of Shanghai Senior Tea Master Class.
At the event participants will meet three renowned and dedicated Chinese Tea Masters and taste the teas they make using China’s traditional tea processing techniques that are now recognised and listed by UNESCO. They will be joined online by veteran Chinese tea expert Liu Zhongrui, UKTA Chinese student Min Hua Wang, UKTA’s Chinese tea tutor Juyan Webster and UKTA Tea Champion Bei Ni Xu. This unique event promises a very special and fascinating insight to high quality Chinese teas.
The teas to be tasted at the event are Changxing Purple Bamboo green made by Yang Yajing, Keemun black tea made by Liu Tongyi, and Song Luo green tea, made by Wang Guangxi. Both Changxing Purple Bamboo green and Keemun black tea have already been recognized and listed by UNESCO. The third tea Song Luo was first introduced to Europe in the 17th century, became famous here and is still today a very high quality tea with an excellent flavour profile.
The special guests will be:
Yang Yajing whose Purple Bamboo green tea has won many gold medals in major tea competitions, and won the ‘Special Gold Medal’ in the China Tea Cup competition. She has devoted 40 years to the production of Changxing Purple Bamboo Tea, is a steadfast guardian of the tradition, and is known for her outstanding skills and innovative approaches.
In 1980, Wang Guangxi started selling his Song Luo green tea, a tea that is so good that he was lauded as ‘the King of Panned Green Tea’. In 2015, he became the inheritor of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Song Luo green tea production. Wang Guangxi’s dedication to producing exceptional tea and promoting tea culture has made his company a prominent player in the international tea market.
Liu Tongyi holds titles such as Chinese Tea Master, a National Level One Tea Appraiser, and a Shanghai Craftsman and is an esteemed figure in China’s black tea industry. He is also a recognized inheritor of the Intangible Cultural Heritage for Qimen Black Tea production, and plays a significant role in promoting and preserving the traditional art of black tea manufacture.
Liu Zhongrui is a veteran tea expert and former Manager of Shanghai Hu Xinting Tea House where, over the years, he hosted Queen Elizabeth II, several foreign heads of state, and prominent figures from both domestic and international arenas. He is a member of the China Tea Society and has served as a director of the 5th, 6th and 7th terms of the Shanghai Tea Society.
To read more about our very special guests, please click here.
To find out more about the event and register your interest, please go to this page.
Calling all Tea Retailers
Don’t miss your opportunity to enter The Leafies and differentiate your winning teas with the mark of The Leafies on your packaging and website.
Entries close on 11 Sept 2023.
YOUR BRAND X THE LEAFIES
If you are not entering your tea, why not partner with The Leafies? This year an Affiliate Partnership offers affordable options for small businesses and will get your brand to the heart of the tea world. For a partnership pack and to discuss options, email Jennifer: email@example.com
PIONEERS IN A PRESTIGE WORLD
Launched in 2022 in partnership with Fortnum & Mason, the International Tea Academy Awards, known as ‘The Leafies’, are the first and only dedicated tea awards in the UK. They highlight the diversity of crafted teas from every tea-producing region in the world. As a pioneer sponsor this year, you would secure preferential benefits in subsequent years.
The judging panel comprises 12 highly-regarded industry leaders. They include the tea buyers and the top tea professionals from Fortnum’s, The Ritz, Twinings and Lipton’s as well as the UKTA’s world class tutors. Judging will take place in Fortnum & Mason’s flagship store in London, live-streamed from their new, state of the art, Food & Drink Studio.
Partners have free VIP tickets to the Award Ceremony in central London on 26 October 2023. This will be live-streamed to a global audience and as a sponsor, your brand will be name-checked and on prominent display. The event will bring your company name to the attention of key industry figures from producers, wholesalers, retailers, buyers, hospitality owners and F&B Directors present and around the world.
BUILD CONSUMER AWARENESS
The new Retail Awards will ensure The Leafies penetrate the consumer market. Winners can apply the distinctive mark of The Leafies on tea packaging and across their marketing collateral. A follow-up press and PR campaign will excite interest in the food & drink and lifestyle press.
BEYOND THE TEA
The Leafies’ new Special Awards will be given to the entrants who demonstrate an outstanding commitment to initiatives such as: community empowerment, environmental stewardship, innovation and education. This year funds will be directed into for the Tea For Life Special Award so an affiliation with The Leafies will support a worthwhile ESG project. The Key Partner option allows you to name a Special Award that aligns best with your brand values.
For a partnership pack and to discuss options, email Jennifer: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jersey Fine Tea: a labour of love for UKTA student now at helm
Some may already be aware of Jersey Fine Tea which is now under new management as a local family-run business based in Jersey, Channel Islands. Jersey Fine Tea remains dedicated to crafting artisanal loose-leaf fine teas. Matt and Jess Bartlett now take the helm; Matt was involved in the establishment of the tea gardens, specifically preparing fields for tea cultivation in 2016 ready for planting out. Some years on, after the project had been put on hold, Matt and the team are keen to re-energise things and move the project forward.
With a horticultural background, and also having trained with the UKTA, Matt began growing tea on a small scale in the early 2000s, experimenting with growing unusual crops; this eventually led to becoming involved with the setting up of tea gardens for commercial growing in their home island of Jersey. Since starting, the gardens have developed and matured with new gardens already underway, one utilising locally raised plants grown from home cultivated seed. Jersey Fine Tea produces black, white and green teas with further teas broadening the range ready for 2024. The business’ commitment to quality and tradition has only deepened. With an unwavering passion and enthusiasm for the art of growing and producing tea, Jersey Fine Tea embodies the essence of a labour of love.
Student Success: Poonam Gupta, Holy Cow Home
Following the knowledge and understanding gained from attending UKTA’s Tea Champion and Sommelier courses, Poonam Gupta has now added loose leaf teas and tea accessories to her home and gifts shop: Holy Cow Home.
She has created a number of blends of loose leaf teas and herbal infusions under the brand name Holy Cow Tea and we are pleased to share that last year her Chic Lady Grey blend won a Great Taste Award.
Her new found passion for loose leaf teas following our Level 1: Tea Champion, and Level 2: Tea Sommelier courses with the renowned Jane Pettigrew and her team of experienced tutors from around the world, has given her the appreciation and understanding to confidently offer tea talks to local groups and clubs.
Poonam enjoys holding tea tastings at various local events and tea experiences in her shop, Holy Cow Home, encouraging the enjoyment of drinking good quality loose leaf teas.
She now wants to change her business model to focus on teas, tea education and tea accessories. Some Holy Cow Tea blends can now be enjoyed at Discover Bucks Museum, and local restaurants and independent artisan cafes.
Poonam is excited to share that she has worked with a mixologist introduced by the UKTA, and has created tea infused cocktails using her own tea blends – showing that tea can be enjoyed in so many ways.
Over the last year she has also worked with a local garden designer to create a ‘garden within a garden’ project at home. It is themed to represent the world’s major tea producing countries: China, Japan, India and Africa, with areas dedicated to each one. It was inspired by Poonam’s interest in tea and she hopes to host tea talks there once it is well established.
We are so pleased for Poonam and wish her continued success with her tea business!
What Masterclasses would you like to study?
Are you keen to study a particular UKTA class? Fill out our short survey and tell us what you hope to study in the next six months – we will take your answers into account and plan our class schedule accordingly.
Remember – UKTA masterclasses are open to all!
Upcoming Courses and Events
Indonesian Tea Tasting with Melanie Halim, Harendong Estate
Saturday 7th October 9am
A morning with Melanie Halim and the manager of Harendong Organic Tea Estate, tasting four special teas from the Island of Java. The estate is very kindly sponsoring this event so that we can offer you a low ticket price!
Tasting of Rare Chinese Green Teas with Juyan Webster
Tuesday 24th October 6.30pm
For this event, Juyan will offer some new green teas which are not included in her usual collections, such as Liu An Gua Pian and Mengding Gan Lu. The teas have been purchased by Juyan personally from this year’s spring harvest on her trip to China in May.
More info and booking here
Herbs and Infusions Masterclass
Starts Tuesday 12th September
4 Live Interactive Webinars
Tutor: Elizabeth Escobedo
“A thoroughly interesting and extensive course. Elizabeth’s knowledge is vast and I came away from the course energised with new ideas and equipped with the confidence to develop new blends using herbs and infusions.“
Indian Tea Masterclass
Starts Tuesday 10th October
4 Live Interactive Webinars
Tutor: Jane Pettigrew
Think India is only famous for its black teas? Think again! In this course you will learn about the history of the Indian tea industry, and explore teas from lesser-known regions, whilst tasting a selection of fine teas including artisan and small-batch made greens, oolongs and whites.