I love tea and find afternoon tea irresistible but often felt confused by the wide variety of teas so I wanted to learn more. Through the UK Tea Council I discovered this Tea Masterclass taught by Jane Pettigrew and tea taster Tim Clifton who are tea experts.
What Does A Tea Masterclass Cover?
The Tea Masterclass is a full-day course (9.30am to 5.30pm) and is usually held at the Chesterfield Mayfair Hotel in central London.
Topics covered include:
- History of tea
- Where does tea grow
- Distinguishing between different teas
- Tea manufacture
- Tea tasting
- How to make the perfect cup of tea
- Tea and health
All of this is delivered with a color slideshow to demonstrate the processes and tea sources, as well as tea to touch, smell and drink.
Cost & Booking
The Tea Experts
Jane Pettigrew is a tea specialist, historian, writer and consultant. Since 1983, she has been working in the UK and around the world to explain and share the fascinating world of tea.
Tim Clifton is a tea taster and international tea consultant who has worked with many of the big names in the tea industry.
Who Takes a Tea Masterclass?
The course is well-suited to those who enjoy drinking tea at home and would like to expand their knowledge as well as appealing to those working in the tea industry.
On my course, there were Japanese students who had studied tea in Japan, a tea grower from Kenya, staff from luxury hotels, others planning to set up a tea room or tea shop and me – someone who just loves teas but knew very little about it. Numbers are limited to 20 so you do get to talk to others on the course.
Tea Masterclass Review
I signed up for the class as I have become slightly obsessed with afternoon tea but still knew little about tea. I wanted to know more about different types of teas and how to brew and drink them correctly and this is what I learned, and more.
The trainers are very friendly and ensure the day is fun while being informative. Jane and Tim have been running the Tea Masterclass for a few years and can adjust the course to suit the class's prior knowledge. I was very impressed by their tea knowledge and enthusiasm and their ability to explain complicated processes in a way we could all understand.
I discovered where different types of tea grow and how it's picked and then manufactured. Tim let us in on the tea industry descriptions so we can read a tea label from a plantation and actually know what all those abbreviations and numbers mean. Jane shared her list of recommended tea suppliers so I can order with confidence.
As with all full-day courses, it can be hard to stay focused after lunch but we were perked up by more tea tasting, and the enthusiasm of the trainers.
It was fun to be a room with a group of adults all slurping their tea noisily to get the full flavor.
I wonder if I can get away with that again in a luxury London hotel?
I found it surprisingly hard to describe the aromas and tastes of each tea so I was pleased the woman next to me had lots of great suggestions. I won't tell you which tea smells of "roast chicken" and which is "moldy socks" but they were apt descriptions!
It could be easy to be overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information but I wouldn't want the course to be cut back or only a half day as I loved my day learning about tea.