Tea sommeliers are, virtually unheard of in the US until a few years ago, are popping up arounf the US more and more. A recent article in the Washington Times discusses the addition of a tea sommelier to the Park Hyatt Washington staff. From the article:
"Elizabeth Knight, former tea sommelier at the St. Regis Hotel in New York and author of several books on tea, says a few years ago, this type of job description did not exist. Tea drinkers' palates have grown more educated, along with their desire for knowledge about tea's origins, health benefits and taste.
'People are getting more interested in tea and more sophisticated about their choices,' she says. 'For a long time, going to tea was about scones and finger sandwiches. What was in the pot was almost an afterthought.'
Not so anymore, although pastries are still part of the experience at most tony hotels. Ms. Knight says she expects the field of tea experts and sommeliers to expand.
'Every city hotel serves tea because you have to be able to offer your guests a meal in between lunch and dinner,' she says. 'But it is getting more and more difficult for hotels to distinguish themselves from others. People expect more at every level about travel - what they eat, what they wear. It is not enough to just serve English breakfast blend.'"
How true! I'm looking forward to the availability of good tea and the presence of tea educators at more fine establishments around the US. As always, if you would like me to train your staff on how to prepare, serve, and educate your clients about tea or to aid you in selecting teas, vendors, and teaware for your establishment, contact me at vee at veetea dot com.