TEA TASTER Chai ho jai

THE LOW­DOWN

Hindustan Times (Delhi) - HT Education - - Front Page -

CLOCK­WORK 7am: Break­fast 9am: Check or­ders on our on­line tea store, over­see the pack­ing and ship­ment of or­ders 11am: Re­ply to emails and catch up with my team on tasks and up­dates 1pm to 2pm: Lunch 2pm: Re­ceive tea sam­ples, con­duct tast­ing and pre­pare tast­ing notes 5pm: Look af­ter new busi­ness ini­tia­tives, re­search­ing and read­ing on­line 6.30pm: Call it a day

THE PAY­OFF Lots of ho­tels have tea rooms and they are ea­ger to em­ploy tea som­me­liers at dif­fer­ent lev­els — cre­at­ing tea blends, tea pair­ing menu or tea in­fused food — op­tions are end­less. Work­ing as a tea som­me­lier with a five-star ho­tel, can get you a start­ing salary of R50,000 per month which can fur­ther in­crease ac­cord­ing to your ex­pe­ri­ence While en­joy­ing a hot, re­fresh­ing cup of tea, can you ex­pertly iden­tify its flavours and fra­grances? Well, if the an­swer is yes and if you are a grad­u­ate in home science, agri­cul­ture, bi­ol­ogy, or hor­ti­cul­ture, then a ca­reer as a tea taster will be ideal for you. In­dia is one of the lead­ing pro­duc­ers in the world, along with Sri Lanka and China. A tea taster is a per­son who not only tastes the tea but also has to iden­tify the dif­fer­ence be­tween teas and give ex­pert ad­vice on the var­i­ous ways in which tea can be brewed in or­der to achieve a par­tic­u­lar taste. One should have ad­e­quate knowl­ege of the cul­ti­va­tion and man­u­fac­tur­ing pro­cesses in a tea plan­ta­tion and be aware of all types of teas, leaves, grades and liquors. One good thing about the in­dus­try is the high salary you get and fan­tas­tic job lo­ca­tions — in As­sam or Ker­ala, with their ver­dant tea gar­dens. Tasters also have to do brand­ing and mar­ket­ing of the prod­uct and co­or­di­nate with gar­den­ers, im­porters, ex­porters, re­searchers, stay­ing up­dated on the cur­rent trends in the do­mes­tic and in­ter­na­tional tea mar­kets SKILLS/TRAITS An as­pi­rant re­quires to have sharp gus­ta­tion (sense of taste) skills, sharp ol­fac­tory (sense of smell) skills Thor­ough un­der­stand­ing of tea and its his­tory, pro­cess­ing meth­ods and prepa­ra­tion De­ci­sion-mak­ing skills At­ten­tion to minute de­tails Phys­i­cally fit, adapt­able and self-re­liant One should be in­clined to keep smok­ing and drink­ing in check Abil­ity to com­mu­ni­cate well One must be knowl­edge­able about the tea mar­ket and be alert to chang­ing mar­ket forces Be a lover of Mother Na­ture

GET­TING THERE There are no for­mal de­gree cour­ses avail­able in tea tast­ing yet. There are a few cer­tifi­cate cour­ses avail­able in tea tast­ing that help stu­dents learn gain sci­en­tific knowl­edge and learn about the dif­fer­ent tech­niques of tea tast­ing. The ba­sic el­i­gi­bil­ity cri­te­ria for the course is grad­u­a­tion. How­ever, if a stu­dent is sure about a ca­reer as a tea taster, then hav­ing an ed­u­ca­tional back­ground in food sciences, hor­ti­cul­ture, agri­cul­tural science or even botany can aid in his/ her knowl­edge. If you wish to pur­sue a ca­reer as a tea som­me­lier, it is bet­ter to study in a tea pro­duc­ing coun­try be it In­dia, Sri Lanka or Tai­wan. Work­ing in a tea es­tate is im­por­tant since you get

hands-on ex­pe­ri­ence IN­STI­TUTES AND URLS Tea Som­me­lier Acad­emy, Colombo; www.freshtea-lab.com/tea­som­me­liera.htm Spe­cialty Tea In­sti­tute, USA; www.teausa.com/14613/spe­cialty-tea-in­sti­tute Lip­ton In­sti­tute of Tea; www.lip­ton.com.au/about/ about_lip­ton/lip­ton_in­sti­tute_of_ tea In­dian In­sti­tute of Plan­ta­tion

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