UKTA Newsletter December 2023




With a UKTA gift voucher

We can create a gift voucher for ANY amount and towards ANY of our courses or events. So if you want to share your appreciation of tea with a loved one, this might just be the perfect gift.

Just contact info@ukteaacademy.com to get started



In-person courses @Blends for Friends, Spring 2024


We have scheduled two of our ever-popular practical, in-person masterclasses taught by Master Tea Blender Alex Probyn at his state of the art facility in Kent: Blends for Friends.

These courses are open to all, regardless of ability. They also each count as one credit towards our Level 3: Tea Diploma.

Each course costs £595 but there is a special price of £1040 when you book both, a saving of £150. To take advantage of this offer please email info@ukteaacademy.com

Thursday 25th April: Advanced Tasting Skills 
Sensory analysis and the language of taste is a vital skill to have in the tea industry. In this 1-day masterclass you will gain valuable knowledge of organoleptic testing the five key characteristics: leaf, liquor, aroma, flavour, and mouthfeel. You will be taken on a journey of taste, learn key skills in planning and documenting your findings, and given instruction on how to detect inconsistencies. During the day, you will taste over 20 teas from around the world to provide you with the tools to enable you to confidently describe the tea you are tasting. Join us for a day of sensory delight!

Friday 26th April: Tea Blending 
Learn about the finer points of tea blending from the experts, on site at a state-of-the-art tea blending facility. This one-day course will give you the knowledge you need to start creating your own tea blends, from what equipment you need, to how to source your ingredients and how to blend both teas and herbals. 

“I have learnt so much in one day. Thank you! The location was beautiful, the “blending lab” impressive with an incredible choice of teas, plants, fruits, herbs… Alex guided us through the art of blending and never got tired of answering all our question. Lauren made us taste some of the most delicious teas. It was lovely to meet tea friends from all over the world and some of us will certainly stay in touch and see each other at another masterclass.”

I loved every minute of the course and am simply buzzing from ideas and learnings. Alex is an absolute authority and it’s such a wonderful environment and team for the course to be undertaken.



Nepali Tea Masterclass 

Starts Friday 26th Janaury 2024
Booking now. Don’t miss out! 

Over 10 hours of live webinars, while tasting a selection of over £100 worth of fine teas delivered straight to your door, you can now explore in-depth teas from this relatively young growing region.

Nepali teas do not all fall into specific seasonal flushes as do most teas from Darjeeling and Assam in north east India. Over the past few years, Nepali tea makers have been experimenting with freshly harvested leaves to make unusual speciality White, Green, Oolong, Black and even fermented dark teas. They have been guided and supported by Chandra Bhushan who has been instrumental in encouraging the development of the Nepali tea industry.

So, in these webinars, rather than focus on teas made in particular seasons, we will explore different categories and taste a wide selection of teas made throughout the growing season from mid March to the end of Autumn. The course aims to give students a full understanding about how Nepali tea producers are expanding their tea offering by adapting their skills to produce unusual, high quality teas that deliver wonderful, unexpected flavour profiles in all the categories they now make.

About the Tutor

The classes are taught by Nepali Tea Master Chandra Bhushan Subba. We are so thrilled to have Bhushan as our tutor for this course. He is Nepal’s leading tea expert and has more experience and expertise than anyone else working in the Nepali tea industry. 

Bhushan was born in the heart of Nepal’s main tea growing region and grew up in Sikkim and Darjeeling. After studying at the Department of Tea Husbandry and Technology in India, he specialized increasingly in the management of complex tea industry projects and their stakeholders at national and international levels.

For more than 3 decades, he has worked hand-in-hand with small tea growers, tea masters, tea labour and stakeholder farmers, manufacturers, importers and exporters, local and international tea traders, importer distributers, auctioneers, corporate houses, government bodies and private associations, councils, federations, NGOs and INGOs etc., involved in the tea industry.

His cosmopolitan background and analytical interests in tea cultivation, production and market movements, together with a solid background in technical knowledge of tea production and the art of making, tea tasting and blending, tea marketing, trading including exports and imports have put him at the forefront of the Nepali tea industry.

A note from Jane Pettigrew: People don’t realise what they are missing if they haven’t tasted Nepali teas. The quality and flavour profiles are unbelievably delicious and take people by surprise if they are not yet aware of how well the Nepali tea producers are doing. Try some of the new types of tea that are now becoming available from Nepal. It’s an emerging industry with some very talented young producers who are making teas that are absolutely outstanding. It’s hard to find Nepali teas in the UK – a few companies sell one or two but this is your chance to taste and enjoy 27 different hand-selected teas!” 

More info and booking here


WATCH: The Leafies 2023 ceremony highlights


We are delighted to share the film of this year’s award ceremony and tea tasting reception for The Leafies that took place in October. Thank you to everyone who joined us for such a special afternoon celebrating the world’s finest teas.

Watch the video above to see the highlights and hear from some of The Leafies winners, judges and partners. 

You can see the full list of winning teas and producers here: The Leafies
Video credit: Shawn Briggs


Awards success for UKTA Tutors Lucy George and Beverly Wainwright

Huge congratulations to both Lucy and Beverly on their recent awards successes!

Peterston Tea Estate, run by Lucy George (pictured above, right. Photo @BBC), was awarded Best Food and Drink Producer in Wales at the BBC Food and Farming Awards.

Lucy hosts our in-person Black Tea making masterclass at Peterston. We are delighted to share her success!


Teas that UKTA Authorised trainer in Scotland, Beverly Wainwright, helped to create have also won accolades:

Bev says: “It’s always great to see people that you have worked with to develop their teas doing well. This year I was lucky to work with both Té de France in Brittany and Jersey Fine Tea. Both companies have just won awards for some of the teas that we worked on together.


Thé de France have 10,000 mature tea plants, in various locations in northern Brittany. The team started a programme of planting in 2015. Jean, Mikaël, David and Mathilde have been working hard since then to nurture the plants and have been experimenting with small batches of tea for the last few years.

This year I was asked to work with the team to help refine and develop processing methods for their black and green teas. The resulting black tea “Koadeg du” won a prestigious gold medal in this years AVPA awards. This tea has a beautiful golden liquor with intense honey and back notes of chocolate.

The pan fired green tea “Mor Glas” was a completely new method for the team and won a silver medal. This tea has lovely vegetal and sweet toasty notes. If you want to try the teas: https://www.thedefrance.fr/en




Jersey Fine Tea have a large number of well established plants and this year have been taken over by new owners Matt and Jess who live locally and who were involved in the initial planting and early development of the tea. Matt has been busy experimenting with various tea processes and continuing to maintain the health of the plants with a strong emphasis on biodiversity.

I worked alongside Matt this year to refine various processing methods and one of the teas we worked on, a toasted black, just won a gourmet award at AVPA. https://jerseyfinetea.com/




I know how much hard work it takes to develop and create good quality teas. Congratulations to both teams for this fantastic achievement!”

If you are looking for consultancy advice to develop your tea, contact Beverly scottishteafactory@gmail.com 



Lisa Honan’s East India Company London Walk

Those of you who attended our wonderful UNESCO celebration event on 25th November will have met former diplomat Lisa Honan, and no doubt be desperate to hear more about her London walking tour on the fascinating history of The East India Company. 

The walk starts at the courtyard where the Company first began in the 17th century. From there it’s a journey through East India Company history and how it changed what the world ate, drank, and wore through its trade with India, Indonesia, China and points beyond. How it ruled over 300 million people in India. The battles it fought – some of them – with its private army. How it caused the Boston Tea party and sparked the desire for American independence. And there’s the file past of its people, its employees, variously called merchants, adventurers, pirates, traders, drug smugglers, and imperialists.

Drawing on her distinguished diplomatic career and a year’s research on the white-hot core, here in London, Lisa will share her expertise on the East India Company. You’re in for a special couple of hours. 

You can read more info and see upcoming walk dates here

You can also follow Lisa on X and Instagram


Student Success: Shane Cox, Manager @ The Mirror Room, Rosewood Hotel London

We are delighted to share the success story of UKTA qualified Tea Sommelier, Shane Cox

Shane says:I began my tea journey in 2018 by attending the UK Tea Academy Level 1 course to explore the world that is tea. Working for Rosewood London in the Mirror Room, we had just won back-to-back Best Contemporary Afternoon Tea in the UK awards. Our goal was to further enhance the service delivery of our afternoon tea by creating the position of tea sommelier. Thankfully, I was chosen for the job.

The structure of the UKTA course introduces Level 1: Tea Champion students to a foundational knowledge about all things tea. It’s long and rich history, where tea began, and where it has reached today. I went on and completed my Level 2: Tea Sommelier course in mid 2019 after passing an extensive and challenging final sommelier exam that was written, oral and practical. It truly tested every aspect of the training which had been delivered over the year.

I returned to the restaurant with a unique skillset that gave me the confidence and ability to create a fine tea list, similar to that of a wine list in your everyday restaurant. I chose a menu concept which again mimicked a wine list, classifying the teas by old world vs. new world. I sourced 33 different teas from 15 different countries. It really opened the eyes of our guests to the world of tea, many of them not knowing that places like New Zealand are creating some of the finest Oolong teas out there.

I also have the pleasure of delivering regular trainings to my team, other teams within the hotel, and even Matcha masterclasses for our guests!

My studies at The UK Tea Academy were truly a blessing as they have ignited my passion for something new within food and beverage which I never knew I would love to dive into. I truly enjoy sharing my knowledge with my associates and guests to this day.

Shane’s success is testament to what can be achieved with a UKTA Tea Sommelier Certification! We wish him continued success in his career. 


Student Success: Teasy, new exclusive Fortnum & Mason design

Some of you may remember (or even own!) the Teasy, the on-the-go tea infuser designed by UKTA Alumnus Mungyuen Li.

Teasy redefines the art of tea infusing. Its built-in tea strainer is designed to enhance your brewing experience – simply add your favourite loose-leaf tea into the strainer, pour hot water, and watch as your tea leaves unfurl and release their delightful flavours.

Mungyuen has recently started a partnership with Fortnum & Mason, and launched an exclusive travel tea infuser with them, which is now available in store and online.
The concept of the Teasy infuser project was started back in 2017 together with Mungyuen’s friend and fellow UKTA student, Melissa Collins, and the product is now patented in the US, Europe and Asia.

Congratulations to Mungyuen on this prestigious partnership!

You can buy the exclusive Fortnum’s Teasy here.

And see more Teasy products here.


Embark on a Himalayan Tea Odyssey:
Limited Spaces for a Tea Adventure in Nepal, May 2024!

10 day exclusive Nepal Tea Tour offered by Tea Mountain

A message from Alexis Rendell, UKTA Alumnus and Founder CEO of Tea Mountain:

Step into the enchanting world of Nepali tea culture this May 2024, as we invite tea professionals and enthusiasts to embark on a once-in-a-lifetime expedition through the mist-kissed slopes and serene plantations of Nepal. Limited spaces are available for this exclusive journey that promises to immerse you in the rich tradition and natural beauty of Himalayan tea.

Nepal, nestled in the heart of the Himalayas, boasts breathtaking landscapes that serve as the backdrop for an extraordinary tea adventure. Join us on this captivating journey as we delve into the artistry of Nepali tea cultivation, where every sip tells a story of tradition, dedication, and unparalleled craftsmanship.

As part of the UK Tea Academy you understand the significance of the tea leaf. In Nepal, tea cultivation is a labour of love, with each leaf handpicked with precision and care. During our expedition, you’ll have the unique opportunity to witness the meticulous process of harvesting and understand how the human touch contributes to the exceptional quality of Nepali teas.

Nepali teas are renowned for their distinct and exquisite flavours. From the floral notes of high-altitude oolongs to the robust character of black teas, you’ll have the opportunity to indulge your palate in a variety of teas that reflect the diverse terroir of the Himalayan region. Taste the nuances, understand the craftsmanship, and deepen your appreciation for Nepali teas.

An Exclusive Experience with Limited Spaces:
Tea Mountain has a a limited number of spaces for UKTA members to join us on this immersive tea adventure in Nepal. Connect with us via email at hello@teamountain.co.uk to secure your spot and become part of a select group exploring the heart of Himalayan tea culture. Don’t miss out on this rare opportunity to deepen your understanding of tea, forge new connections in the industry, and create lasting memories in the picturesque landscapes of Nepal.



Upcoming Courses and Events

Intro to Tea

Sunday 28th January 2024

In-person course
@ Royal Automobile Club, Pall Mall, London

Experience this engaging and interactive course in the magnificent surroundings of the RAC on Pall Mall, London. Immerse yourself in blind tea-tastings, captivating stories, quizzes, and team challenges that will test your tasting skills. As you explore the wonders of green, black, white and oolong tea, the day will boost your confidence in tea knowledge and may ignite a lifelong passion for exploring wildly interesting teas.

More info and booking here

Tea Sommelier 5x3

Level 2: Tea Sommelier

Starts Thursday 11th January 2024

12 Live Interactive Webinars

Looking for the next challenge after completing your Level 1: Tea Champion course?

The Tea Sommelier course includes over 100 carefully selected high grade teas sent to your address, 36 hours of live, online teaching with our expert tutors, pre-course information and module handouts, the cost of the exam, the certificate and enamel lapel badge.

More info and booking here

Sujin 1

Korean Tea Masterclass

Starts Thursday 7th March 2024

4 Live Interactive Webinars
Tutor: Sujin Lee

A fantastic discovery of Korean Tea: terroirs, cultivars, culture, ceramics, festivals and much more. Sujin is such a knowledgeable and passionate tutor.

Includes delivery of a selection of fine Korean teas to brew and taste throughout the course.

More info and booking here

Dark Tea Masterclass

Starts Monday 19th February 2024

4 Live Interactive Webinars
Tutor: Juyan Webster

This Course is all about Dark Teas including Puer Tea, Hunan Fu Zhuan, Liu Bao Cha, Sichuan Bian Cha and Hubei Qing Zhuan Cha. We will discuss the origin of dark tea, the different producing regions, the cultivars – wild tea trees or cultivated tea bushes, the different shapes, the main mountains and factories that produce Dark Teas.

More info and booking here