Ajit Madan, UK's First ITEI Master Tea Sommelier
Ajit Madan, co-founder of Camellia’s Tea House in London, is passionate about tea and hopes to improve tea culture in the U.K through the introduction of innovative fusion and incredible speciality teas from single and artisan tea estates. Ajit was appointed England’s first certified ITEI Master Tea Sommelier by the International Tea Education Institute in 2015.
Much like wine, teas produced by different estates have specific ‘terroirs’ and differing levels of quality and taste and many countries have cultural tea service aspects associated with their teas. This has led to a new generation of tea sommelier’s with the skills required to interpret the many 10s of thousands of teas available today with the ability to utilise them in different hospitality settings and with knowledge of how to pair them with food and drink.
To qualify for the ITEI Master Tea Sommelier title, Ajit completed a multi-year course, and had to analyse various tea types, their origins, processing methods and how they can be perfectly paired with foods and used in beverages including cocktails. He also gained an extensive knowledge of various types of tea service in different hospitality settings, from Chinese tea ceremonies to traditional English afternoon tea.
Ajit also travelled to tea gardens around the world to gain first-hand experience of tea production and manufacturing, attending the Japanese Shincha Festival – which celebrates the first new, green tea of the year – and spending many months discussing tea with tea masters from across the world.
“I thought I knew a lot about tea because of the years spent running our tea house however this qualification has really widened my knowledge further and taken me on an even deeper tea journey.”