Tea Time Talk

Earl Grey, Oolong, Assam, Ceylon, herbal, white, green or blended, whichever be your choice, your love for tea can now become a lucrative career option

Published: 06th April 2014 12:18 PM  |   Last Updated: 06th April 2014 12:18 PM   |  A+A-


Cutting chai’ is a popular term you hear on the streets of India. While our fascination with the beverage is well-known — we are one of the largest consumers of tea — tea tasting can be termed as a poor cousin of wine tasting. Snigdha Manchanda, based in Mumbai, who likes to identify herself as a tea sommelier helps us understand what it is all about.

What’s tea tasting?

Tea tasting is not merely sipping tea and passing a verdict. It is the art and science of tea. You can also do a certain specialisation within tea tasting. I have specialised in crafting hand-blended teas, so it’s a study of the flavour wheel and how it interacts with the teas.

Where can you study it and what will you learn?

Tea tasting requires a refined palate and it can only be built by practice and by tasting teas as a discipline and routine. You can study at the Specialty Tea Institute, US, or Tea Sommelier Academy, Sri Lanka. It’s important you choose a course that is a blend of both classroom learning as well as hands-on experience at the tea estates.

What are the career prospects like?

The growth could be slow. You need a lot of patience. It may even be five-10 years before you make it. You can join a prestigious hotel as a tea sommelier, just like hotels have wine sommeliers. There are many tea rooms and tea houses coming up in India - you could land yourself a job as a tea specialist or perhaps start one of your own.

What is the range of remuneration that can be expected?

Salaries for tea sommeliers recruited at hotels range from Rs 6-12 lakh per annum.



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