Become a Tea Professional

A TEA SOMMELIER is a trained and knowledgeable tea professional who has successfully completed the eight modules in the TAC TEA SOMMELIER™/℠ course at a college or online, and passed the Tea and Herbal Association of Canada certification examination.

We have worked diligently to provide Canada with a TAC TEA SOMMELIER® program that will educate and empower any novice tea minded individual.
 -Louise Roberge, President, Tea and Herbal Association of Canada

This program contributes to the entire value chain of tea from producing countries to retailers.
-Shabnam Weber, TAC Education Chair and Board Director

We are breathing new life into the tea retail & service industry in Canada, while raising the bar on what it means to be an accredited TAC TEA SOMMELIER® professional. The future is looking very full for good tea and correct information, and it all starts with our Canadian TAC TEA SOMMELIER®.
-Margot Bureaux, TEA SOMMELIER™ Professor Nova Scotia Community College

Graduates Will:

  • Have a thorough understanding of tea and its history, processing methods and preparation.
  • Be able to interact easily with anyone on the subject of tea and make recommendations based on their needs in an approachable and easy manner.
  • Have the ability to design a comprehensive tea menu for retail or any food service environment.
  • Understand and apply the principals behind tea and food pairings.
  • Understand and articulate the tasting notes associated with different teas.


TEA 101:
Introduction to Tea

This course will provide an introduction on the history of the origin of tea.  You will learn how to differentiate the types of tea as well as the tea grading standards used in the industry.

TEA 102:
Regions Of The World

Students will examine in detail the principal tea-growing regions of the world. Develop a fundamental understanding of tea – its evolution and its influence on culture and world events.

TEA 103:
Tea Sensory Development

This course covers how we taste – what do we rely on – what errors should we be aware of. The tea taster’s vocabulary will be covered as well as tastings of various products such as chocolate, water, etc. to identify and fully understand the science of taste.

TEA 104:
Tea Types

This course will cover the types of teas produced in different regions/countries in the world. Tasting and style comparisons will be a major component of this section.

TEA 105:
From The Bush To The Cup

This course is designed to introduce the student to advanced cultivation and processing practices used in the production of tea

TEA 106:
Preparation, Consumption & Health

This course provides the current information available as it relates to tea consumption. Use the skills gained in previous classes to prepare the perfect cup of tea.

TEA 107:
Menu Design, Food Pairing & Cooking With Tea

Explore the various nuances of using tea as an ingredient – cooking, baking, cocktails etc. In this course, you will understand the principals behind using tea beyond its traditional uses as well as how to pair tea with food and create the perfect tea menu.

TEA 108:
The Business of Tea

Learn about the various layers that make up the tea industry – commodity trader and auctions, packers and retailers. Who are they, what do they do and what are the challenges faced in each sector.

Students who have completed all of the TAC TEA SOMMELIER® courses with passing grades, are eligible to take:

Preparation Session: TAC TEA SOMMELIER® Certification Exam

Final TAC TEA SOMMELIER® Certification Exam

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Meet the TAC TEA SOMMELIER® Instructors

Tina McDonald - <a href="" title="academy of tea online">Academy of Tea Instructor</a>

Tina McDonald - Academy of Tea Instructor

Tina is the Program Director at the Academy of Tea and a certified TAC Tea Sommelier® Professional. 

Loving tea since she was a little girl, starting with garden parties drinking tea out of tiny ceramic cups with her great-grandmother in Kent, England. Since then, she has been tenaciously tea-focused, poring over yard sales, flea markets, and auction houses for tea-related accouterments – all for a beautiful cup of tea!

When not curled up with a good book and her favourite short oolong, floral white, or big bold black tea, Tina can be found puttering in the kitchen endlessly trying to perfect her choice recipes.

Tina’s knowledge and love of tea will become a memorable part of your tea journey.

Cecilia Corral - <a href="" title="Escuela Mexicana de Té">Escuela Mexicana de Té</a>

Cecilia Corral - Escuela Mexicana de Té

Cecilia is the Academic Director at the Escuela Mexicana de Té. She is certified as a TAC Tea Sommelier® Professional, Tea Designer and Expert in Protocol and Ceremonial Tea.

Cecilia was born in Mexico City and, after finishing high school, lived in France for a year. Bachelor’s degree in business administration from the Universidad La Salle in Cuernavaca, Morelos, she moved to Lomas de Cocoyoc to work as an assistant director in an academic institution. Her work as coordinator of the Entrepreneurs Program allowed her to have direct contact with students and to master the academic instruction.

She has also visited tea plantations in Sri Lanka and Argentina, where she learned in detail the process of cultivation and collection of Camellia sinensis, as well as the manufacturing processes of different varieties of teas, both industrial and artisanal.

Sheena Brady - <a href="" target="_blank">Algonquin College</a>

Sheena Brady - Algonquin College

What happens when you take a woman, fully immersed in the world of wine and hospitality from studying and working in New York City followed by Northern California, and introduce her to tea? Sheena Brady did just that. She took her knowledge of terroir, and her trained palate and dove head first into the world of tea. After all, both tea and wine are heavily influenced by the changes in weather, the ground they’re grown in and the hours of sunshine they receive. Sheena is fascinated by the way everything comes together to create different types of teas all from just one plant.

What excites Sheena most about the world of tea is it being a respected gesture of hospitality around the world for centuries. The other similarity between wine, hospitality and tea that keeps Sheena going, is similar to pairing wine & food, Sheena will pair the perfect tea to compliment any and all of your desires. Just tell her what’s on your mind.

Sheena is a Certified TAC TEA SOMMELIER® Professional, instructor at Algonquin College and owner of Tease Tea.

Susan Peters - <a href="" target="_blank">Algonquin College</a>

Susan Peters - Algonquin College

Susan Peters is a Certified TAC TEA SOMMELIER® Professional, graduating from Algonquin College. She is now an instructor for the TEA SOMMELIER® Program at Algonquin College as well as teaching tea appreciation classes throughout the Ottawa Valley area. Susan also speaks to groups and conferences on a number of tea related topics.  These have included history focused topics at Upper Canada Village, the Jane Austen Society and a number of historical societies.

Marie-Claude Vallée - <a href="" target="_blank">Algonquin College</a>

Marie-Claude Vallée - Algonquin College

Marie-Claude Vallée is a Certified TAC TEA SOMMELIER® Professional, and an instructor at Algonquin College in Ottawa. She has had a long interest in all things tea and travel, combining both as often as possible. Apart from her interest in tea, Marie-Claude is a serving member of the Royal Canadian Navy.

James Cadeau - <a href="" target="_blank">Mohawk College</a>

James Cadeau - Mohawk College

James Cadeau is a Certified TAC TEA SOMMELIER®, and is an instructors at Mohawk College in Hamilton. He is a cafe owner in Niagara-on-the-Lake, and the Specialty Tea Wholesale Manager at Spire Tea in Toronto. James moved fully into the Tea Industry in 2012 after 20 years of experience in Beverage, Food, & Hospitality Management. Having retail & wholesale experience with tea, he brings his students practical insight and real life scenarios.

Victoria Everett - <a href="" target="_blank">Mohawk College</a>

Victoria Everett - Mohawk College

Victoria Everett is a Certified TAC TEA SOMMELIER® Professional, and an instructor at Mohawk College in Hamilton. She has cultivated an interest in understanding the complexities of tea for almost two decades, and is an active participant in the tea community. Through time spent living in China, Taiwan and Sri Lanka, and travels to other tea-producing countries, she offers a unique perspective on the cultural influence of tea around the world. Apart from her interest in tea, Victoria is a practicing corporate/commercial lawyer with an academic background in Economics and International Trade. She also speaks functional Mandarin Chinese.

Kristina Inman - <a href="" target="_blank">Niagara College (Canadian Food & Wine Institute)</a>

Kristina Inman - Niagara College (Canadian Food & Wine Institute)

Kristina Inman is a CAPS Sommelier and a TAC TEA SOMMELIER™/℠. She graduated from the University of Toronto with a double major in History and Celtic Studies and a minor in Cinema Studies. In addition to being a tea lover, Kristina teaches wine, beer and spirit sensory classes at Niagara College and is the Business Development Coordinator for the Canadian Food & Wine Institute.

Katie Cyr - <a href="" target="_blank"> Niagara College (Canadian Food & Wine Institute)</a>

Katie Cyr - Niagara College (Canadian Food & Wine Institute)

Katie’s first experience with tea comes in the memory of drinking Irish Breakfast with her grandmother out of delicate teacups.  Today, she carries the same reverence and passion for the art of tea into her day to day life. Katie founded The Monarch Tea Co. in late 2013 with the vision of bringing together the traditional eloquence of tea time with a modern twist. Katie is a Certified TAC Tea Sommelier® Professional and loves offering hands on tea talks to others.  Her passions involve reading, cooking and spending time outdoors. Her favourite tea is either Genmaicha or Cream Earl Grey.

Margot Bureaux - <a href="" target="_blank">Nova Scotia Community College’s</a>

Margot Bureaux - Nova Scotia Community College’s

Certified TAC TEA SOMMELIER®, Margot Bureaux is Nova Scotia Community College’s instructor and dedicated tea enthusiast.

Jeff Kovac - <a href="" title="Seneca College Tea Sommelier Programs" target="_blank">Seneca College</a>

Jeff Kovac - Seneca College

Jeff’s passion for tea began while he was living and working in Sichuan, China. While abroad, Jeff devoted his free time to the practice and study of language, culture and Tea. Jeff’s travels throughout China, India and Japan have expanded his knowledge and first-hand practice of many distinct and varied tea cultures. With a background in adult education and training, Jeff is passionate about sharing his knowledge with students as they progress on their journey into tea. He is currently a member of the Urasenke Chado Toronto Chapter and works in the North American Tea Industry. He is a Certified TAC TEA SOMMELIER®.

Gabriella Lombardi – <a href="" title="Protea tea sommelier course" target="_blank">Protea Academy</a>

Gabriella Lombardi – Protea Academy

Gabriella Lombardi is the President and instructor at Protea (Italian Tea Association). The Protea Academy is partnered with the Tea and Herbal Association of Canada to offer the TEA SOMMELIER® Certification Program in Italian.

Her love of tea began when she was away studying at the University of Granada (Spain). After graduation, and before she could devote her time to tea, she worked at several advertising agencies in marketing positions in Milan. In 2010, Gabriella was able to return to her real passion and opened Chà Tea Atelier, the first tea shop in Milan with a tea room, specialized in high quality loose leaf teas.

Gabriella is the first Certified TAC TEA SOMMELIER® Professional in Europe and is the author of Tea Sommelier from White Star Publishers. She has been a speaker and judge at: World Tea Forum (Korea – Oct 2013, Sept 2014, Nov 2015), World Final Round of Tea Masters Cup International (Turkey – Sept 2015) and Mount Emei International Tea Culture Exhibition Sichuan (China – Apr 2016).

She is also currently the national coordinator for Tea Masters Cup competition.

M. Reza Nasooti - <a href="" target="_blank">Vancouver Community College</a>

M. Reza Nasooti - Vancouver Community College

After graduating from the University of British Columbia with a degree in Marketing and Management Information Systems, Reza joined The Urban Tea Merchant on the ground floor as a Founding Member in 2004.
Reza found alignment with the company’s core values and has been an integral part of their growth. He is their resident TAC TEA SOMMELIER® and genuinely excited about learning and offering great experiences with his students.

Del Tamborini - <a href="" target="_blank">Vancouver Community College</a>

Del Tamborini - Vancouver Community College

Del holds a Bachelor of Arts degree and Certificate in Sustainable Community Development from Simon Fraser University, in addition to several other diplomas and certifications, but tea has always been one of his overriding passions.
One of the first Certified TAC TEA SOMMELIER® in Vancouver, Del is thrilled to have the opportunity to share his knowledge and help guide future sommeliers on their journey toward certification.

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