Last night I posted a question on Instagram
What does a title of ‘tea sommelier’ or ‘tea master’ mean? Is it a job title to show the progress of achievement? Or a passport that helps us to stay on the right track in life with tea?
Actually that’s the basic question students who follow the Tea Sommelier Certification Program in the Chinese Tea Academy.
I am very grateful for the reader’s feedback from a German tea lover:
I get different associations from both words. From tea sommelier more of someone frequently dealing tea trade and therefore a lot of tea tasting for commercial reasons. And tea master suggests a deep knowledge of tea culture and most importantly a profound philosophical and medical approach to tea. Also the methodology of tea preparation is advanced and refined. While it is true that both titles share some fields of activity, I get the impression they differ in their approaches, aims, means and values.
The feedback helps to stretch my self-reflection further:
Actually I do think it does not matter which title is using, we always should remember what attracted to us at the first place, not to forget our original passion and commitments to tea and learnings through tea. It does not matter how differ from original aims, approaches or methodology, we should always keep the learning windows opened and learn to listen to TEA.
The world of tea can be even bigger with the collaborating and respectful attitude towards diversity, maintain positive energy with calm and assertiveness; of course, how to implement it might be very challenging because each person might has his/her own ideas and/or agenda, but there is no excuse not to try it. It does not matter how the title was granted, received or claimed; it serves as a passport for the journey of tea and responsibilities as a traveler.
Correctness in information and knowledge in fundamental theories are critical basic requirements to plan and to manage our journey; but it does not set the limit to only information or technical know-how that we can find either from internet, book or even workshops, the most profound requirement is the sub-conscious attitude.
Of course, I have to admit that I have higher expectations to tea sommelier, after all, anyone can sell tea and to organize tea tasting without receiving or claiming a title.
Tea and the learning in tea and Chinese tea culture have great values in my life journey, because now I know myself better, what and how to manage the focus in life better.
Mei Lan Hsiao, Belgium Chinese Tea Culture Association / Belgium Chinese Tea Arts Centre, 14/02/2019, Antwerp, Belgium