Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Tea Sommeliers

I often have people ask me what "tea sommelier" means. My writing buddy Elin Headrick answers the question very well in her new article, Sommeliers Break Out of the Bottle on World Tea News. Excerpt:

Of French origin, sommelier means “wine steward” and has come to be associated with a high level of expertise. It makes sense to apply the term to tea, many believe, because of the cultivated palate required to discern subtleties in different varieties of tea.

Some of the best known tea sommeliers in the United States today are found in large, cosmopolitan hotels: the Boston Park Plaza Hotel and Towers, the Phoenix Ritz Carlton and the Park Hyatt in Washington, D.C. They educate guests on the hotels’ extensive selections of tea and help develop an appreciation for the drink.

Asked what it takes to succeed in their emerging field, these tea sommeliers agreed that it requires a mix of knowledge about tea – acquired through travel and study – and hospitality skills.

You can read more of Elin's article here. On a semi-related note, Elin just had a beautiful, healthy baby a few weeks back (and can now drink as much caffeine as she wants again)! Congrats, Elin!

PS -- My class at Urasenke Chanoyu yesterday was fascinating! I'll tell you more about it as it progresses.

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