Jane Milton from West London is the UK’s first ever qualified tea sommelier by the Tea Association of Canada!
The food consultant – known for her work with ‘Dragons’ Den’ businesses and broadcast interviews as an expert on the UK food and drink industry – began her tea journey after a visit to the Dilmah School of Tea in Sri Lanka after setting up the UK Cake Awards five years ago.
She is delighted to have completed her training which involved more than 150 hours of study, 9 exam days and blind cupping sessions with the Tea and Herbal Association of Canada.
Jane says it is an ongoing process. “I have to abide by the TAC code of conduct and maintain my qualification by engaging in continuous professional development. The team at the Tea Association of Canada have greatly inspired me throughout my 2 years of study and I now look forward to being part of that organisation and inspiring others to enjoy tea too.
“My ‘thirst’ for tea action came whilst working with Kelly Hoppen on her Dragons’ Den business Phom, a contemporary tea brand. I did much of the studying online – to be honest when I signed up I had not realised that the time difference with Canada would mean I sometimes took classes at 1am in the morning!
“All through the course I have been putting what I learned to good use – from helping an ice cream client describe their green tea ice cream more accurately, to suggesting tea flavours that would work well in cakes, to creating a range of spiced chai teas with green and black teas and without sweeteners and working with several tea brands to help them exploit opportunities in the UK market better.
“I am hoping to bring a range of products into foodservice later this year as part of a collaborative project, I have been asked to talk on Tea and Health to a skincare business, work on a range of food made with matcha green tea and help develop a contemporary tea house brand.
“I know I have a lot more to learn and I am looking forward to carrying on my learning but it is great to have this recognised qualification as a foundation to that”.
Adi Baker, MA Executive Assistant & Certified TAC TEA SOMMELIER® Professional says: “Jane is in fact the first UK citizen to hold the certificate, I say citizen because we have someone that graduated from the program in Canada and has since moved to the UK. There are now 195 people worldwide that hold the certification. The full certification is: Certified TAC TEA SOMMELIER® Professional”
Courses are offered online through the Tea Association of Canada. 8 modules, approximately 150 hours of study must be completed and an end of module exam passed in each. Final Certificate Exam can now be sat remotely – 4 parts, all must be passed and in blind cupping a mark of over 75% has to be obtained .
A TEA SOMMELIER is a trained and knowledgeable tea professional who has successfully completed the eight modules in the TAC TEA SOMMELIER™/℠ course at a college or online, and passed the Tea and Herbal Association of Canada certification examination.