What is a Tea Master?
The concept of a tea master often varies from person to person, because the position of a tea master can serve different purposes. At the IMTA we believe that the title of Tea Master represents a multi-faceted role.
The IMTA guides students to become multifaceted tea masters, and helps them embrace the responsibilities that come with their position.
The most widely held concept of a tea master is that of a connoisseur. To be a tea connoisseur is to love tea with an appreciation that extends to every style from the vast range of artisan tea. This affection for tea also represents a broad understanding and an expertise to distinguish the nuances of every style.
In addition to having a connoisseur’s palate, the tea master must also be proficient in preparing tea. Only when tea is properly prepared can it be fully appreciated. Therefore, every tea leaf should trust that it will have the opportunity to express its true and finest character when placed in the hands of a true tea master.
However, connoisseurship represents skills that are possessed by an individual, and does not sufficiently define a tea master. Where a connoisseur can focus his sensitivity to enjoy tea alone, a tea master must apply his skills for the service of others. The tea master is responsible for performing tea services and hosting tea gatherings. As a host, the tea master is expected to be cordial, gracious, knowledgeable, and sincere.
Whether preparing tea individually or for a social gathering, the process of preparing tea itself is considered to have greater significance than the pleasures of the palate. The ritual of preparing tea is an artistic and spiritual ceremony in which the tea master aims to cultivate perfection as an artist and virtue as an individual. Such a philosophical perspective on tea comes from the rich history of tea culture that is the foundation of the tea master’s art.
The full beauty of Chinese tea arts continues to flourish because preceding generations of tea masters laboured to pass their knowledge and skills to following generations. Therefore, a tea master is expected to be a teacher with the responsibility of perpetuating the art of tea and ensuring that the beauty and quality of fine tea are not lost to commercialism and industrialization.
In the business of tea, the title of tea master refers to the individual in control of merchandising and developing a company’s tea offerings. The tea master is responsible for tea selection and tea quality, and is a key influence on the integrity of the brand.
The IMTA certification programs aim to guide individuals to becoming multifaceted tea masters, and to help them embrace the responsibilities that come with their position. Our vision is to nurture tea masters that will promote higher quality products and services in the tea industry and perpetuate the complete experience of tea as an art.