UKTA Newsletter

March 2023



Introducing James Suranga Perera: UKTA Masterclass Tutor

The UKTA is thrilled to welcome James Suranga, creator and tutor of our new Ceylon Tea Masterclass. For over 20 years, he has held several of the most prestigious professional positions in the Sri Lankan tea industry including CEO of Ceylon Tea Brokers. James has unrivalled knowledge of Ceylon tea and we are extremely proud to have him as a UKTA tutor and a judge of The Leafies. 

The first online Ceylon Tea Masterclass ran in February and was extremely well received, garnering 5-star reviews from our students and comments such as “Suranga’s breadth and depth of knowledge was first class, and the material was well-structured and delivered, managing to keep on track through so many teas.”

We asked James Surganga what it has been like developing and teaching a UKTA Masterclass. 

How did you find the experience of teaching your first class? 
It took us a good year in developing the total resources for this session as we had to taste many teas to decide on the best to be featured, and to extract all the other information required for a 10 hour long course. The sessions were really exciting, and I loved every bit of it. It gives me great pleasure to be able to interact with Tea enthusiasts around the world and the opportunity to share knowledge is fantastic.

Why do you like teaching for the UKTA?
I love teaching for the UKTA. The UKTA has given me a great platform to share my passion and experience. The UKTA has developed this great internal mechanism equipped with great people to make sure that everything runs smoothly and this is something that we do not see from the outside to appreciate enough. I must specially acknowledge the support and guidance given to me by Jane while creating this content, and throughout the sessions. I think between us we would have reviewed the course materials more than 10 to 15 times. Also, I must make a special mention about the other logistical support system in place, for example, packing and sending of the teas around the world to our students and making sure that they are the right weight and labelled correctly well in time for these sessions by Mika. And then the technology, marketing and other support systems by Nicola, Kate and Ellen and many others behind the scenes. Sometimes we don’t recognise their contribution enough and need huge appreciation for all their great work.

We will run the Ceylon Tea Masterclass again later in the year. If you are interested in taking the class, please register your interest by emailing info@ukteaacademy.com



Tea Tour of the Southern USA led by UKTA’s Beverly Wainwright



Dates: 9 nights from Sunday 7th May – Monday 15th May

Join this exciting tour of three different tea estates in Louisiana and Mississippi. Your tour guides are tea expert Beverly Wainwright, Scottish Tea Factory and Jason Macdonald of The Great Mississippi Tea Co. Beverly has previously helped create teas with two of the tea gardens on the tour as well as working with and advising small scale growers and tea makers around the world. 

Arrive in New Orleans for your first night and travel the next day to Fleur de Lis Tea Company Louisiana for a tour and tea tasting. Travel on to Laurel, Mississippi to visit Long Leaf Tea estate for a tour, tasting and hands-on black tea plucking and making experience, tutored by Beverly. Visit the Lauren Rogers museum of art before travelling to Brookhaven to visit the Great Mississippi Tea Company

Here you will receive a tour of the tea garden, hands-on green and oolong tea making experiences tutored by Timothy Gipson and Jason MacDonald. This is followed by a night in Natchez at the Magnolia Bluff Hotel with visits to two historic plantation houses, Longwood and Nottoway. You will return to New Orleans for your last night.

Included: 9 nights accommodation, breakfasts, lunches, farewell dinner. Transport, tour guide, tea making experiences and museum entrance fees.
Not included: Flights, insurance, evening meals.

COST: $3,200 per person (Double occupancy) $4,000 per person (Single occupancy)
To receive a detailed itinerary and book your place, email: scottishteafactory@gmail.com



STUDENT SUCCESS: UKTA Alumna Contributes to Tea Tourism Handbook

The Routledge Handbook of Tea Tourism provides comprehensive and cutting-edge insights into global tea tourism. With contributions from leading scholars and experts across 19 countries, it demonstrates the interdisciplinary nature and breadth of topics associated with global tea tourism. Tea is deeply connected to tourism through both travel and consumption. For host communities it provides an opportunity for diversification from the production and or serving of tea, while sharing cultural traditions and improving livelihoods. The Handbook is organised into five parts, with an Introduction and Epilogue.

Congratulations to UKTA Almuna Belinda Davenport of Davenport’s Tea Room on being a contributary author to this volume! 

CLICK HERE to purchase with 20% Discount – enter the code EFL01 at checkout* 

* Please note that this discount code cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer or discount and only applies to books purchased directly via www.routledge.com. This code expires on 30 June 2023. 


STUDENT SUCCESS: Dr Sally Wei, Sally’s Parlour Tea Tasting and Classes, USA

Dr Sally Wei, a Tea Sommelier who is working to complete her Tea Diploma Level Three qualification, is one of the few UK Tea Academy trainees to have visited all of our classrooms during her years of tea training.

Sally’s tea journey started in 2006 when she learned how to perform the Chinese tea ceremony and instantly fell in love with the idea of tea being more than just a drink, but something that could bring people together, creating a sense of calm and mindfulness.

Of Taiwanese heritage, Sally now lives in California and decided to study tea with the Academy during visits to her son while he was at university in London. Her original aim was simply to share her enthusiasm for tea in the US, but this has now turned into a more formal mission as organiser of the Mid-West Tea Festival and presenter at many of the country’s tea events, with audiences of up to 1000 at a time.

Sally is an accomplished classical pianist, formerly Music Director of the Santa Rosa Conservatory of Music & San Francisco School of Music and now President of the California Association of Professional Music Teachers, and Primary Instructor at her own Sally Wei Music Studio. She has recently merged her love of music with her passion for tea, offering a MusicaliTEA program to her local community – brewing teas and pairing them with music.

It is hard to understand how Sally finds the time for teas, music and event organising, because she is also a certified commissioner for the Buddhist global charity, Tzuchi; providing humanitarian relief wherever it is needed (from disaster relief to running homeless kitchens in California). The charity also operates an organic tea farm in Taiwan, nurtured from a mountain of abandoned tea trees:

Jing Si Tea Farm is situated on Sanyi Mountain facing the Taiwan Strait, in a perfect ecosystem that benefits from a regular fine mist of rain. The 26-hectare farm is cradled amid a forest spreading out over 230 hectares, a veritable oasis with the trees keeping the pollution of urban areas at bay. High on the mountain, without electricity or irrigation systems, they rely on grass cultivation: the growing grass retains rainwater and keeps the soil moist, nourishing the tea plants without the need for artificial fertilizers or herbicides.”

At the heart of all her activities is Sally’s belief in connecting with people and being a bridge between East and West. She is a firm believer that tea can enrich our lives, relationships and mindsets.

Great Britain makes tea something the whole world appreciates. The Chinese grow the tea, but the British have achieved a level of knowledge and care that also embraces teas from every country. I learned so much from Jane and the other tutors at the UK Tea Academy and I hope to use my knowledge to make tea more accessible and enjoyable for everyone.

https://sallysparlor.com/ :: https://www.tzuchi.org/ :: https://jingsi.shop/

Upcoming Courses and Events

Black Tea Making Masterclass

14th & 15th June

2 days in-person training @ The Peterston Tea Estate, Wales UK

This is a fully immersive, hands-on opportunity to learn how tea is grown, plucked and processed in situ, from the professionals.

More info and booking here


Tea Sommelier

Begins 24th April

12 Live Interactive Webinars, including delivery of 100+ teas

This course provides considerably greater scope and more detail than the Level 1 course and supports the next step in a career or business for the professional tea sommelier.

More info and booking here


Chinese Tea Masterclass

Begins 17th April

4 Live Interactive Webinars

Explore each category of Chinese tea in depth and while tasting a selection of fine teas sent to your door. Taught by one of the UK’s leading Chinese tea experts, Juyan Webster.

More info and booking here

History and Etiquette of Afternoon Tea

Begins 22nd April

4 Live Webinars

This is a fully immersive, hands-on opportunity to learn how tea is grown, plucked and processed in situ, from the professionals.

More info and booking here

Virtual Tea Party with Jane Pettigrew: Easter Special

Sunday 16th April 10am

Academy Event: Live Webinar

Join Jane for a virtual tea party and come prepared to talk about your country’s or your family’s favourite Easter foods.

More info and booking here

The Making of a Yixing Teapot – Live Demonstration, hosted by Juyan Webster

Sunday 21st May 10am

Academy Event: Live Webinar

A rare chance to witness the making of a Yixing teapot, live from China!

More info and booking here