I’ve recently completed a course to become a certified Tea Master. On announcing this title to a friend I was asked if it was like being a Jedi Master, to which I replied “yes, it’s exactly like that!” However, in reality it's probably closer to being a wine sommelier. I still see myself more as a tea enthusiast though, but nonetheless, I did the work, tasted the teas, sat the test (twice!) and now have a certificate from Australia Tea Masters.
Aside from deepening my knowledge of all things tea, the process reconnected me to the art of patience – that was my biggest learning.
It brought to my attention how modern life has groomed me to be less patient. I’ve become so used to instant gratification that waiting for something is an affront to my very being! I’m almost totally accustomed to expect to not wait for anything - for websites to load, for taxis to arrive, for a sandwich, and especially not for entry into a new neighbourhood bar.
But you have to wait for tea and be patient with tea. Tea takes time, and tasting and evaluating dozens of teas is a slow process. I struggled with this… my impatience bubbling away just like the kettle I was waiting on to boil, while tapping my finger on the kitchen counter.
In addition, thanks to today’s multi-screen/device/tasking world, single-minded attention on a task is something I don’t practice regularly enough. But with tea, there is no diversion or distraction, no quick fix or short cut. It’s just you and the tea and the methodical process it takes to see, touch, smell, taste, assess and write up your experience. It takes time, focus and dedication.
Aside from patience, I also gained an appreciation of just how incredible and diverse tea is - the complexities and intricacies of tea production is phenomenal.
Now normally you get to the end of your study or career and then become a master of your chosen field, but for me, I feel like this certification is just the beginning of the journey, one that I hope I never master in a way, because it’s always nice to learn something new.