World Tea Academy courses typically run for 3 weeks with a one week grace period to complete assignments and take exams. I was grateful for that extra time because things got a little crazy last week. Between jury duty and my day job, I’m “working” 7 days a week. This course has been a fun distraction during this time though!
This week focused on sensory evaluation and professional cupping. As luck would have it, I have a sinus problem brewing so it was a challenge to taste properly. World Tea Academy provided six teas to taste. They included English Breakfast, Decaffeinated English Breakfast, Aged Oolong, Hojicha, Lychee Black Tea, and Jasmine Green Tea.
My one major qualm was that the teas sent for cupping were not fresh (with the exception of the aged oolong, of course). I would much rather that they gave us a shopping list of teas to purchase on our own. I know that can make it harder for students to have a similar experience but tea that is past its prime isn’t ideal for learning either.
We were given the choice of several options for the classroom assignment. I really like this approach because everyone will have different interests and experience levels. Some of the tasks involved blending and flavoring so I think some cursory instruction on those topics would have been helpful, especially for those that are newer to the world of tea.
I had to improvise a bit for my blend since there aren’t any local tea stores and there wasn’t time for a trip to NYC. I really wanted to use vanilla beans but my local grocery store didn’t have any. Their selection of herbs was also slim, aside from some very questionable looking chamomile. I settled for rosemary from the spice aisle. The health food store came in clutch with some decent lavender. I combined the two with a Rwandan black tea. This exercise was a fun throwback to when I first started drinking tea. I made blends frequently when I first got into tea and had forgotten how much I enjoyed doing it.
3 Things I Learned This Week
- I need to take the time to cup teas in a structured way more often.
- Blending is fun and educational.
- I really need to find a local source for teas and herbs!
Overall I’ve enjoyed my experience with World Tea Academy and would definitely recommend the program to those that are looking for professional development. The next course I am taking is Understanding the Organoleptic Experience, written by Virginia Utermohlen Lovelace MD.
Course provided by World Tea Academy. Opinions are my own.