American Tea Masters Association Makes History

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The American Tea Masters Association completed the first of its two-part program for training, educating and certifying aspiring tea masters. Called the 13-Week Tea Mastery Certification Course™, the program includes the 5-Day Comprehensive Tea Mastery Course (on-site training location) followed by the 12-Week-Tea Master TeleCourse (home study and weekly group teleconference call). The 5-Day Comprehensive Tea Mastery Course, which ran from July 14th to 18th at the Wellspring Tea Room in San Diego, California, held the high level of focus and support needed to gain the competence and confidence to serve as a tea master at a distinguished restaurant, hotel or tea court, or start one's own successful enterprise.

The American Tea Masters Association completed the first of its two-part program for training, educating and certifying aspiring tea masters. Called the 13-Week Tea Mastery Certification Course™, the program includes the 5-Day Comprehensive Tea Mastery Course (on-site training location) followed by the 12-Week-Tea Master TeleCourse (home study and weekly group teleconference call). The 5-Day Comprehensive Tea Mastery Course, which ran from July 14th to 18th at the Wellspring Tea Room in San Diego, California, held the high level of focus and support needed to gain the competence and confidence to serve as a tea master at a distinguished restaurant, hotel or tea court, or start one's own successful enterprise. It contained all of the educational requirements an individual needed for achieving the association's prestigious Certified Tea Master™ designation once the 12-Week-Tea Master TeleCourse and a final examination are successfully completed.

Renowned tea masters James Norwood Pratt, James Labe, Bruce Richardson, and Chas Kroll anchored the educational side of the 5-Day Comprehensive Tea Mastery Course, each providing delightful tasting experiences of some of the most exquisite and often rarest loose-leaf teas from around the world. All told, the class prepared, tasted and evaluated over 70 such teas and consumed over 200 tasting cups resulting from multiple steepings.

Pratt is best known for his books on tea, "The New Tea Lover's Treasury" and "The Tea Lover's Companion," and as a speaker and teacher throughout the world. Labe, the nation's First Tea Sommelier, is world renowned as a master of tea tasting, preparation, and integrating fine tea with fine dining. Richardson is a tea blender, writer, photographer, and frequent guest speaker at tea conferences across the country, and co-owns Elmwood Inn Fine Teas and its publishing division, Benjamin Press. Kroll, executive director of the American Tea Masters Association and former owner of a tea company, is proud to be a tea master, not for its catchy nomenclature, but because he is passionate about teaching others what he has learned.

What did course registrants have to say? "It was an honor to be one of the first in the tea masters program. It was truly an unforgettable awesome tea week. The things that were confirmed, shared and the on-going education in tea is really beyond what I can put into words at this moment. This program is greatly needed in America," stated Cheryl Graf of Scottsdale, AZ.

"The five-day immersive segment of the first American Tea Masters Association program has been a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The caliber of the faculty was second-to-none; the participants were knowledgeable, helpful and bonded completely. The facility in San Diego was perfect and the hands-on opportunity has been invaluable. I would not hesitate to recommend this course to anyone who chooses to rise above the rest," according to Darlene Fahl-Brittian of El Cajon, CA.

"Chas Kroll has developed a much-needed Certified Tea Master™ program that will raise the bar on tea training here in the USA. The program not only challenged my existing knowledge of tea, but expanded my tea knowledge and shattered some prior incorrect understandings of tea and tea preparation.

"I was quite excited to be taking part in the "maiden voyage" of this program. The curriculum was well researched, up-to-date and immediately applicable to today's rapidly growing specialty tea industry. Being able to sit toe-to-toe with tea industry experts (in some cases, legends) was worth the cost alone, but Kroll didn't stop there. He added expert curriculum coupled with a unique accelerated learning environment. This environment allowed students to challenge themselves while encouraging others in a poignant, one-on-one daily exchange of ideas and sensory critiques. The faculty's knowledge of tea was surpassed only by their passion of tea.

"I look forward to the positive impact the Certified Tea Master™ program is going to have on the specialty tea industry here and abroad. Thank you for this program, and I look forward to having tea and sharing ideas and techniques with all of the wonderful tea people I have met here at ATMA," said Alan Laszuk of Encinitas, CA.

The program is designed for and will benefit restaurant, hotel, and tea court managers, chefs, wine sommeliers, tea aficionados, industry suppliers, and others who wish to incorporate tea mastery knowledge and skills into their daily lives or current profession, as well as anyone seriously interested in a career as a tea master.

Additional information on the 13-Tea Mastery Certification Course™ is available on the association's web site at http://www.TeaMasters.org. The next upcoming training starts January 9, 2009 in Ft. Lauderdale, F, followed by San Francisco, CA on July 6, 2009. The course is open to a maximum of 24 participants, who stay together for all 13 weeks, creating a small, intimate group where in-depth sharing and accelerated learning takes place. A $250 tuition-deposit is required to reserve a place at either training.

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Chas Kroll, Certified Tea Master
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