Specialty Tea Institute
Specialty Tea Institute (STI) always comes to San Francisco in January to tag onto the Fancy Foods Show. It is the education arm of the Tea Association of the US.
I have been a member and taken classes over last few years and indeed completed the courses (and tests!) to be a Certified Tea Specialist. The instructors are people well known ‘in the tea world’ who all have a wealth of knowledge, such as Bill Waddington, Donna Fellman, Suzette Hammond, Yoon Hee Kim; they have volunteered their time and energy to share that knowledge with newbies to tea. I have learned so much in these classes over the years- not to mention tasted some fabulous teas from companies around the country.
Tonight, I attended the STI reception with the Traveling Teapot in tow. The reception is always set to honor new graduates of the program, now Certified Tea Specialists, and also is a time to visit with STI folk and other tea friends, especially from the west coast. I find it very energizing to visit with these people and talk tea!
I brought my manager, Kyle Stewart, tonight to introduce him to the wider tea world and some of its leaders. He first learned to appreciate tea while working at Peet’s and is now learning from Imperial Tea Room’s Roy Fong. I especially wanted to introduce him to the other Kyle Stewart, STI instructor and co-owner of the Cultured Cup in Austin, TX, one of my most favorite instructors and a wonderful mentor. He is here in SF, teaching STI classes with Phil Parda, co-owner of Zhong Guo Cha Teas and Savvy Tea Gourmet of Madison, CT, my other favorite mentor in tea.
The two Kyle Stewarts, getting acquainted over the Traveling Teapot.
Here is Kyle Stewart of The Cultured Cup again- celebrating with James Norwood Pratt with the Traveling Teapot AND a glass of champagne.