Love tea? Then why not become a professional tea taster

Believe it or not, but there exists within society a group of people who spend their whole working lives tasting and perfecting a cup of tea. Their passion and dedication to the industry ensures that each cup of tea remains as good as the last. As well as having a sensitive palate for the subtle aromas found in the different tea leaves, tea tasters must also be astute negotiators as tea buyers. The principal aim is to buy the best produce at the lowest price and before your competition does!

Tea buyers must also be happy to travel, most of the world’s tea originates from Sri Lanka, India and China so it’s necessary to visit plantations there on a regular basis. Most new recruits working for one major multinationals begin their career’s there too, learning the ropes from experienced buyers. There are in fact over 40 tea producing countries around the world and experienced buyers travel amongst them frequently.

become a tea taster
So is there an art to tea tasting? Quite simply, yes, and it’s also something not everyone has the ability to do. To begin with, the tea is drunk black with no milk or sugar to mask the taste. The tea taster slurps the tea off a metal spoon through his front teeth; the process creates a vaporised mist of tea in the back of mouth that enables the subtle flavours to be identified. The flavours of each crop are then blended to make the perfect tea. To give you an idea of the complexity of this process, Lipton’s Tea uses over 25 different crops in their tea. A tea buyer has to then carefully blend these crops to ensure the tea tastes the same, year after year.

You must also be very good with numbers to work as a tea buyer, part of your role will be to purchase tea from auction houses on behalf of your company. Get your numbers wrong and you could end with the too many crops at too high a price.

The salary for a tea buyer really depends on your experience and your reputation. New recruits often start on around $35,000 (£20,000). Experienced tea buyers who can travel and work independently are highly valued to the multinational firms; it’s not uncommon for senior buyers to earn over $120,000 (£80,000) in this .

The only downside to this otherwise perfect job is the fact you have take very good care of your taste buds. That means no excessive drinking, avoiding spicy food and definitely no smoking – at least this clean living lifestyle will keep you fit and healthy.

So next time you make a cup of tea, spare a thought for all those tea buyers who continuously travel world buying crops to make your perfect cup of tea!

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