Our experts supply our customers with unrivaled knowledge and an understanding of their needs. To ensure we’re on the cutting edge of our industry, we proactively support and encourage members of staff to continue broadening their knowledge and grow in their area of expertise through a variety of educational channels.
One of our category managers, Dave Arnold, recently qualified as a Tea Sommelier in December 2017 from the Tea Association of Canada (TAC), passing the course with outstanding results.
The TAC Tea Sommelier program has received much recognition from the international tea community over recent years and has won the Canadian Society of Association Executives (CSAE) award of distinction for an education program. The course is made up of eight modules, Tea 101 to Tea 108, with each module consisting of course material, tea sampling, cupping training and lecture videos.
When starting the course Dave was looking to build on his existing skills within certain areas of this vast area of expertise and develop his tea procurement knowledge, Dave said “Each of the eight classes were six weeks in length, the academy would send me a box of teas for each class and e-mail me the course material. During the week I would learn how to ‘Cup’ the teas, this is a technical term for how the tea is prepared and tasted. I learned how to evaluate differences in flavour, appearance, smell and mouthfeel to guarantee the perfect brew.
Dave underwent over 27 exams and six hours a week training to pass all eight modules of the course, but the challenge wasn’t over yet. Dave was now eligible to take the final TAC TEA SOMMELIER® certification exam. The exam was to be completed in 70 minutes and was made up of 4 modules; Tea Preparation - preparing a serving of tea randomly chosen by examiners, Oral Exam – on a subject of the examiners choice, a multiple-choice exam and Blind Tastings – examining a series of 10 randomly chosen teas to identify style, type and country of origin. Dave’s achievement of this title builds on our growing team of expert tea sommeliers and increases our ability to offer our customers reliable knowledge and advice on their own product formulations.