UKTA Newsletter September 2023
EXCITING NEWS: UKTA INTRO TO TEA
Unmissable one day and in-person!
INTRODUCTION TO TEA COURSE
Sunday 28th January 2024
10am – 4pm @ RAC Club, Pall Mall
A one-day in-person course, held at the RAC Private Members Club in Pall Mall, London, this course introduces you to the essential aspects of tea and provides an enjoyable introduction for both amateur and professional tea lovers.
After attending this course you will be eligible for a discount from the full price of Level One Tea Champion Theory (self-guided online study), should you wish to continue with your tea learning.
WHAT IS THIS ONE-DAY COURSE?
A lively introduction to the surprising world of tea. Full of blind tastings and stories, fabulous facts and quizzes, this is a fun-filled, interactive day for all tea-lovers. Your day includes tastings of delicious and interesting teas from traditional and unexpected tea regions. Test your tasting skills and begin to understand how to appreciate superb tea. A compelling adventure to help you gain greater joy in the happy pursuit of an interest. This is the first step of a tea journey that may just take you a very long way.
WHO IS IT FOR?
This elementary, foundation-level course is designed for anyone new to learning about tea. From enthusiasts wanting to taste and explore more, to hospitality professionals keen to talk with greater confidence when advising guests and customers on their choice of tea.
WHAT WILL YOU LEARN?
The fundamental facts about tea: where it grows, how it is processed from plucked leaf to cup, the different categories of tea, how to tell the difference between them, why loose leaf tea is generally better and why it is considered so beneficial for your health. Crucially you will understand how to get the best from the leaf and make tea better. The next step is the UKTA-certified Tea Champion course.
ARE THERE ANY ENTRY REQUIREMENTS?
This one-day course is open to everyone. No previous experience is required, just plenty of enthusiasm to develop your understanding and knowledge about all aspects of tea.
ABOUT THE TUTOR
The tutor for this course is Carri Hecks. Carri came to the world of speciality tea by way of Petersham Nurseries, where she met and worked on tea events with Jennifer Wood of Canton Tea Co. She has a huge in-depth knowledge of the world of tea-brewing and events.
Book your place HERE at the new lower price of £235
NEW: Nepali Tea Masterclass
We are delighted to announce the launch of our newest online Masterclass!
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.
The first course starts on 29th November and can be booked HERE.
The Leafies: Time to book your tickets to the 2023 Award Ceremony
Judging week for The Leafies 2023 takes place between 2nd and 6th October, so we want to wish everyone who has entered their teas the very best of luck!
The Awards Ceremony takes place at Asia House, central London on Thursday 26th October from 2.00-5.30pm in the beautiful room of a Georgian townhouse (pictured). After the presentation, double doors open up to another grand room for the tasting of award-winning teas and an afternoon tea reception.
Book your tickets HERE.
Entrants to The Leafies will have received an email containing a discount code that can be applied at the checkout.
Want a free ticket to The Leafies Award Ceremony?
If you are UKTA Tea Champion-trained and would like to brew award-winning teas at the most prestigious tea event of the year, then get in touch. The ceremony on the afternoon of Thursday 26 October is followed by a tasting of award-winning teas and we will need support brewers for the winners who can’t attend in person. Contact Jo to find out more: firstname.lastname@example.org
Student Success: Natasha Sotilleo-Vink, Tea Life Sanctuary, Curaçao
In the heart of Curaçao, a paradise island nestled in the Caribbean, Natasha Sotilleo-Vink has lovingly launched her tea boutique: a treasure trove of some of the finest teas and tea ware. A devoted tea lover, enthusiast and UKTA certified Tea Sommelier, Natasha has a deep-rooted passion for all things tea.
We are delighted to share Natasha’s story, in her own words:
“My journey into the world of tea has been an incredible one, which started in my early childhood at my grandmother’s home where a warm cup of tea was a daily afternoon ritual served in her cosy living room with a slice of her homemade coconut sweetbread. A truly beautiful quiet moment of the day, delivering a sense of peace, nurture and comfort, and opening the door to my early tea journey. For me, tea isn’t merely a beverage; it’s a profound way to relax, connect with the soul, and share the beauty of this age-old tradition.
My love for tea traces back to the heart-warming memories of my upbringing. I was born and raised on the beautiful Caribbean Island of Trinidad and Tobago by my beloved grandmother, a woman with a deep appreciation for a good cup of tea. I quickly learned that tea was more than just a drink. To her, it was a ritual, a source of comfort, and a means to strengthen bonds with loved ones. I can still vividly recall those cherished afternoons spent with my grandmother, sipping on generous sized cups of tea or sometimes her favourite infusions that she made from herbs picked in her garden, while she shared stories of our family’s history and traditions. They have left a lasting impression on my heart and mind.
My tea journey took a more formal turn when I decided to transform my passion into a profession. I knew that to truly become knowledgeable in the world of tea, I needed the best education available. My quest led me to the esteemed UK Tea Academy, a globally renowned institution offering comprehensive tea education programs.
The UK Tea Academy’s reputation precedes it. Their courses cover everything from the history and origins of tea to the intricate art of tea tasting and blending. Enrolling in the UK Tea Academy was not a casual decision—it was a commitment to better understanding the complexities of tea. From topics such as the tea plant, to tea regions, flavour profiles, history, tea processing, it has given me a deep appreciation of the cultural nuances surrounding tea and its consumption worldwide. My time at the UK Tea Academy was and is nothing short of transformative. Under the guidance of Jane Pettigrew and all the seasoned tea experts and educators, I delved deeply into the world of tea. It was here that I honed my sensory skills, developing my palate to discern the subtlest of flavours and aromas of a large and expertly curated collection of teas from around the world. I will continue my education by remaining connected to UKTA.
For me, tea is more than just a beverage; it’s a sanctuary of serenity in a fast-paced world. Taking time for tea is my way to unwind, reflect, and rejuvenate. I understand the importance of slowing down and savouring the moment—a lesson passed down from my grandmother. I firmly believe that tea can be a vehicle to mindfulness, enabling us to connect with our inner selves and find peace amidst the chaos of life.”
Tea Life Sanctuary
“Two months ago, I fulfilled a dream by opening my tea boutique in Curaçao. My shop is a reflection of my passion and growing knowledge, offering a curated selection of the finest teas sourced from some of the best tea gardens and estates in the world. From the delicate aromas of a white Silver Needle tea to the robust flavours of a malty Assam, my tea shop is a treasure trove for tea connoisseurs and curious newcomers alike.
My shop isn’t merely a place to purchase tea, it’s also an experience: the ambiance is a blend of elegance, warmth and nostalgia, a space where customers can for a moment immerse themselves in the world of tea. I’ve designed a cosy corner with a Gongfu table where people can learn about Gongfu Cha, the Chinese Art of brewing and drinking tea. I also want my tea friends to know the versatility of tea and so I offer workshops and events such as how to pair tea with cheese, cakes or chocolate. My mission is to make my shop a place where tea is honoured and where its history and culture comes to life.
My journey from my grandmother’s living room through many countries and back to the Caribbean at my shop in Curaçao has been an incredible one, and a testament to the power of passion, dedication, and the art of slowing down in our fast-paced world. My upbringing instilled in me the values of tea as a source of comfort and connection, and my training at the UK Tea Academy has elevated me into a true Tea Sommelier. Today, I share my love for tea with the people of Curaçao and it’s visitors, offering them an opportunity to purchase some of the finest teas available and to take time for tea, exploring the world of premium teas in all its splendour. In doing so, I’m not just fulfilling my own dreams of sharing my passion for tea but I’m also hoping to enrich the lives of those who step into my shop: when they take some of my tea home with them, my hope is that with each cup they drink they will be transported to their own personal sanctuary. My story serves as a reminder that the journey to pursuing one’s passion can be as delightful as the destination itself—a journey filled with moments of setbacks and delays, but layered with serenity, joy and excitement. I embrace it all, one sip at a time.”
We wish Natasha all the best of luck with her new tea business!
Venetian Historical Regatta meets sparkling tea on a Palazzo terrace
Gabriella Scarpa, our Authorised Trainer in Venice, recently had the honour of providing tea for an event to celebrate the Venetian Regatta, at a stunning location overlooking the Grand Canal.
The “Regata Storica” or Historical Regatta has always been extremely popular with both Venetians and visitors.
The first historical record of the event is found in the mid 13th century, but it is likely that regattas existed long before this. The modern regatta dates back to 1841 when the Municipality of Venice requested the Austrian authorities to proclaim an “annual boat race along the Grand Canal” to encourage gondoliers to uphold the honor of their famed skills. When Venice became part of the Kingdom of Italy in 1866, the focus of the event changed from just a race to a celebration of the glorious history of the Republic of Venice.
The name “Regata Storica” was coined by Mayor of Venice Count Filippo Grimani in 1899, and it is still known as such today. Each year St Mark’s Bay and the Gran Canal fill with boats of every shape and size, the passengers of each loudly cheering and celebrating. Everywhere in the city people support their “colours” connected to the provenance of the boats.
In the palaces facing the Grand Canal, people from all over the world gather and spend time watching the beautiful boats and their crews dressed in flamboyant traditional clothing.
This is also an occasion to party and have some drinks and food during the afternoon. The parties in the Palazzos are elegant and usually sponsored by local brands.
This year, for the first time, tea has been part of the day as Gabriella’s company, Ar-Tea Academy, was one of the sponsors for an event held in Palazzo Barbarigo della Terrazza, the headquarters of the German Center of Venetian Studies.
The Palazzo terrace on the Grand Canal is a beautiful place to organize elegant receptions, and for this occasion, only by invitation, about 200 people from all over had the pleasure of trying some sparkling tea, alongside the usual Prosecco wine, sponsored by Terre del Dogado and spritz sponsored by Select aperitivo.
Ar-tea Academy, represented by Gabriella and UKTA Sommelier Federica Lazzarini, had the honour of offering the non-alcoholic drink in a very elegant fashion, together with some storytelling about the teas chosen: a black Darjeeling First Flush and a green Jasmine pearls, served in wine glasses with a slice of white nectarine peach.
Gabriella and Federica had a wonderful day and the guests were impressed by the new understanding that tea can be glamorous, as well as a hugely interesting alternative to water or wine.
Photos by: Gionata Smerghetto
Just One Thing: Tea on the BBC
For years, UKTA and other tea lovers have been telling people the facts about tea’s health benefits, and there was a really welcome boost to our efforts on BBC Radio 4 on Wednesday 20th September 2023. Doctor Michael Mosley, presenter of a programme called Just One Thing, gives listeners good ideas as to how they can improve their general health and well-being by choosing just one everyday activity, such as going for a swim, improving your balance by standing on one leg with your eyes closed, or adding turmeric to your diet. On 20th September it was the turn of a cup of tea to be added to the list. Mosley discussed how the bioactive ingredients in tea help you relax and give your brain and bones a boost.
Listen to the podcast here,
If you are interested in learning more about tea’s health benefits you can take our Tea, Science and Health Masterclass online now!
UKTA Represented at Vietnam-UK Network charity concert
On Thursday 7th September 2023, the Vietnam-UK Network (VUKN) presented a Gala Concert in London at the Royal College of Music, celebrating the 10th anniversary of the founding of the Network and marking 50 years of formal diplomatic relations between the UK and Vietnam.
The concert, featuring seven internationally renowned musicians, was an opportunity to highlight the strong and enduring friendships forged between the two countries over the past five decades, as well as providing a tremendous fundraising opportunity for three notable Children’s charities that work in Vietnam.
Helping to organise the event was Thanh Connolly, UKTA student and Vietnamese tea expert who has tutored some of our Academy Events. Also in attendance were UKTA Tutors Juyan Webster and Dr. Chau-Jean Lin.
UKTA Tutors Dr. Chau-Jean Lin (Taiwanese tea expert) and Juyan Webster (Chinese tea expert) also joined Thanh at the event (pictured).
“We had a lovely time at the Vietnam-UK Network Charity Concert,” said Chau Jean. “The Royal College of Music was a beautiful backdrop to showcase talented Vietnamese and international musicians. At the same time, we were able to learn more about and donate to the charities helping disadvantaged children.”
Says Juyan: “It was a very relaxed evening with beautiful performances by seven internationally renowned artists. We had a chance to listen to stunning programme of classical and Vietnamese music.”
Upcoming Courses and Events
Chinese Tea Masterclass
Starts Monday 16th October
4 Live Interactive Webinars
Tutor: Juyan Webster
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.
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
Korean Tea Masterclass
Starts Wednesday 22nd November
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.
How Tea Changed The World
Starts Monday 4th December
4 Live Webinars
Tutor: Knut Marius Uddu Skjerve
Something as simple as the desire for a nice cup of tea has changed the course of history. No other plant has had the same impact on global politics, spurring wars, revolutions, exploration of unknown lands, economic miracles, colonial exploitation and consumer culture. Sign up for the class now, and learn more about global political history from the point of view of Camellia sinensis.