Experience: I drink more than 50 cups of tea a day


I remember seeing the advert online. I was in that post-university period of uncertainty: I’d graduated with a degree in human geography with no idea what I wanted to do next. I wasn’t one of those people with a burning passion for something, but I did like tea and I wanted to become an expert in something. So I thought, why not?

The interview process for the role of professional tea taster was intense. There was a maths test as well as a tea testing, and I had to give a presentation on a beverage of my choice. You have to have quite a rounded set of skills. But I got the job.

It takes seven years to train as a fully-fledged tea buyer and blender. During training, we had a blind tasting once a week involving six teas from different areas. The aim is to figure out the origin of each tea, down to a specific region; for example, whether a tea is from the east or the west of the Great Rift Valley in Kenya. Once you get to a certain level, you are even able to distinguish teas from particular gardens. I thought I would never reach that level of accuracy – in the first few weeks, I did so badly. But it’s amazing how much you can improve. I ended up becoming a bit of a tea nerd.

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