It may be a coffee town, but Vancouver restaurants and consumers are some of the highest tea consumers in the country – and it’s not your grandmother’s tea
Whether it’s about the health benefits of tea, the variety of tea or how naturally they pair with food, tea has captured the interest of savvy food and wine professionals, and consumers have never been more interested in consuming tea.
This weekend (Saturday, Oct 1 – Monday, Oct 3) tea experts, food and wine professionals and tea enthusiast are invited to ramp up their knowledge of tea and take in some of the knowledge needed to be a Tea Sommelier.
Highlights include “Do you think you can be a Tea sommelier?” Blind Tasting Panel;
Tea 101, first series in Tea Sommelier certification; Tea Sommelier exam challenge.
A Tea sommelier, much like a wine sommelier, can create food pairing, has knowledge of caffeine levels, flavours and, like a wine expert, can taste country of origin, type of tea and flavour profiles. A Tea Sommelier is certified by the Tea Association of Canada, and is a trained and knowledgeable tea professional that is well versed in all aspects of tea. They have a thorough understanding of tea and its history, processing methods and preparation styles. A Tea Sommelier can interact with anyone on the subject of tea and has a strong ability to make recommendations based on consumer needs.
Much like a wine expert does, they take into account the ideal tea to drink with food, after a meal or on its own. Tea sommeliers work behind the scenes as well creating the perfect tea list to compliment a menu, training staff how to serve the perfect cup of tea and how to assist their guests in choosing the tea that’s right for them.
With that in mind, the Tea Association of Canada, with George Brown College in Toronto, developed a Tea Sommelier course a few years ago. The certification ensures a person is an expert on the growing and cultivating of tea; the terroir or place of origin of international teas; can judge quality in tea and flavour profiles that ensure they can match tea to the individual consumer palate, and to foods – much like a wine sommelier. Available in Vancouver at VCC, the certification is broken into eight levels and is attracting food service professionals, tea industry and passionate public, who can take the course in individual levels or complete the entire series of course, pass a final exam that includes a blind tasting, and receive a professional Tea Sommelier certification.
In Vancouver the Tea Sommelier certification courses are offered at Vancouver Community College but at next week’s Canadian Coffee and Tea show, those who want to take their tea knowledge that much further can.
In honour of host tea countries China and Kenya, a giant Chinese gong is sounded as it welcomes participants to the various tea events at this year’s Canadian Coffee and Tea Show in Vancouver.
TEA SOMMELIER EVENTS
Do you think you can be a Tea Sommelier? Blind Tasting Panel
Monday, October 3rd 1pm – 2pm
The general public, industry and wine sommeliers are invited to challenge the tasting portion of the Tea Sommelier exam. We put 20 students of tea, tea drinkers, tea lovers and wine sommeliers at a table and challenge them to a tea cupping. Much like a blind wine tasting, panelists must try to name the type of tea, style of tea, country and place of origin from a selection of unmarked teas lined up in front of them.
October 1st and 2nd – 11 am to 3 pm
The first of eight culinary college courses that takes you to professional tea sommelier status is being offered right at the Coffee and Tea show this year. The four week course has been deconstructed into an intensive two days. Led by Toronto’s Shabnam Weber, Tea expert and Tea Association of Canada’s Board Director, the course on its own is an excellent Introduction to Tea and may be used as a credit towards your Tea Sommelier designation at applicable colleges offering the program. (Vancouver, Calgary. Edmonton, Toronto) – Course cost is $399
Details and registration http://www.coffeeteashow.ca/home/certified-tea-sommeliers/
Tea Sommelier Exam – Challenge
Saturday, October 1st 1pm – 3pm
Vancouver Community College – Room numbers #401, #401 #330
Cost of Exam Waived – Participants must meet criteria (must have been in the tea industry for 2 years)
Tea experts are invited to sit the Tea Sommelier exam at the Coffee and Tea show. For those who have extensive knowledge of tea, flavours and origins and have studied courses, this is a rare opportunity to test their knowledge and if passing, leave with the certified Tea Sommelier designation. Register by contacting Riley Richman, Tea Association of Canada: 416.510.8647 ext #2 or firstname.lastname@example.org