The European Speciality Tea Association casts aside the aura of elitist tea in favor of inclusion. Learn why during a webinar July 8 at 7pm | London | 2pm EST
In July, the European Tea Society transitions to a more inclusive European Speciality Tea Association. “The rationale is to reflect the nature and purpose of the association more accurately,” writes executive director David Veal. Members of the Society, founded in 2018, overwhelmingly voted for the change, said Veal.
“Whilst the logo, branding, and house style will remain unchanged to help promote consistency and continuity; there will be significant changes in many areas of the association, writes Veal, who outlined a three-year plan.
Here are the highlights:
- Education and Research: Education is central to the association’s value and mission, he said. The Association in July will introduce its first online basic module: Tea 101, developed in conjunction with Australian Tea Masters. “It is aimed at beginners and is really to help people who because of current restrictions of movement are not able to partake in more traditional methods of tea education. This module will be free of charge to European Speciality Tea Association members,” writes Veal. A standalone “Introduction to Tea” will be available after June, and the main program will be launched as soon as things are back to normal, most likely in early 2021.
- Competitions: Increase the number of tea competitions that we organize, this being such an excellent tool for improving the quality of tea and bringing communities together.
- Certifications: Delivered through our members who are trainers, or who have schools or academies, and will cover a number of disciplines at two different levels including Camellia sinensis, brewing skills, sensory skills, botanicals, tea barista skills, health and agronomy.
- Tea Research: The association is based at the University of Chester and has access to sensory laboratories for European Speciality Tea Association research and that of our members. Research objectives include developing a greater understanding of many aspects of tea, including claimed health benefits and the importance of full understanding of water.
- Advocacy: The European Speciality Tea Association aims to be at the forefront of the growth and development of the community, working closely in forming, and indeed leading relationships with other tea associations and organizations.
- Promoting Excellence: The Association seeks to be in the forefront of the continuing quest to improve standards, quality, knowledge, information interest, and enthusiasm for specialty tea.
Veal, who formerly led the Specialty Coffee Association of Europe (SCAE), and more recently served as executive ambassador for the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA), described his vision of “a modern, efficient, inclusive, ethical, professional, member facing, committee-driven and volunteer led membership association.” The European Speciality Tea Association’s great asset is members respected throughout the tea community with strong credibility and reputation and is an inspiration to others, he said.
“Our members continue to make a real difference to the quality of products in our industry and the end-users in and out of the home; internationally through innovation, research, education, communication, collaboration, support, and knowledge; for all sectors of members from farmers to consumers,” writes Veal.
The association’s “strategic focus in Europe, our core market,” but the Association “will be active, either independently or in collaboration with others, opportunistically in other areas around the world commercially and in accordance with our values.”
“In order to grow our membership, to make the association stronger, and to assist in our mission to promote speciality tea, we will be initiating a major membership drive to reach new and potential members across Europe,” writes Veal. Categories include producers in tea growing countries, and one for a new type of person in the tea community, the Tea Barista,” said Veal.
When we have sufficient members in a given country, such as Russia, “we hope to open up a chapter to help those members network and organize events,” he said.
“Once the world starts to get back to some sort of normality, we will resume our strategy of attending events around Europe to promote the association, promote speciality tea, engage with local tea communities, gain new members, and deliver knowledge,” writes Veal.
The European Tea Society was first advanced by several specialty tea pioneers and launched in September 2018 at the Tea & Coffee World Cup Exhibition and Symposium in Birmingham, England, with Nigel Melican as president, Alexis Kaae as vice president, and Bernadine Tay was the founding director.
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