In their own words…
For tea enthusiast and collector of high end, specialty teas, David Pasieka, the TAC Tea Sommelier certification both deepened his knowledge about his favourite drink as well as launched a new professional path. “In addition to providing a foundation to explore all facets of the tea industry, the course helped me turn my personal passion into a new career” says David. He is in the process of launching a new tea house on Vancouver Island in the near future called Teartisan – teartisan.com
Q+A with David Pasieka
What is your earliest memory of tea?
The first time I tasted tea was at my aunt’s house; she used to drink tea the British way: brewed black tea with milk and sugar. However, when I was seven years old, I remember dining at a local family restaurant that served Bigelow tea. My parents let me order a tea of my choice and I chose Bigelow’s famous Constant Commet. From then on, tea lover was born.
Favourite TAC Tea Sommelier module?
TEA106: Preparation, Consumption, and Health. It provided an overview of global tea traditions, which is interesting as I am fascinated by different ways people consume tea around the world.
If you could drink two teas what would you drink?
The first one is an exclusive from Camellia Sinensis in Montreal. Nan Mei Wild Tree Budsis a white tea sourced from the Nan Mei valley in China’s Yunnan province, and it consists entirely of golden buds harvested from wild tea trees growing in the region. Next is Meng Ding Huang Ya, the most expensive yellow tea on the market. It is bright, rich, and full, with a creamy mouth feel and a flavour with notes of hazelnut, vanilla, and honey butter.
Where in the world has tea played a role in your travels?
This past summer, I attended the World Tea Expo in Las Vegas, Nevada, and a two-day tea intensive at Camellia Sinsensis in Montreal. But one place that is very special is Tao of Tea’s Tower of Cosmic Reflections teahouse located in the Lan Su Chinese Garden in Portland, Oregon. This is a beautiful, Chinese-style teahouse that looks straight on the majesty of the garden. Tao of Tea offers a wide variety of superb, origin-selected teas as well as traditional food items.
What is next for you?
I am moving closer to the launch of my own teahouse and retail shop called Teartisan (teartisan.com) in 2017.
In what capacity are you currently working in the tea industry?
I am currently in the final planning stages for opening my own teahouse on Vancouver Island. The location is not yet finalized, but I have my eye on a few specific places which I will narrow down when I visit next month.
What role did the TAC certification play in your career?
My TAC Certification was a major turning point for me at a time when I needed to find a new career path for myself. In addition to giving me a foundation in the history, production, classification, identification, traditions, and preparation of tea, it also showed me that I could , in fact, make a move into the industry and turn my personal passion into something more.
What are some of the highlights and challenges presented with working in the tea industry today?
Being unique and finding your niche can be a challenge, especially with bigger tea retail players such as DavidsTea and Teavana that have such a huge presence in the minds of consumers. But I also think there is a lot of room for more players of various types in the industry. Although the public has really started to embrace specialty tea in a big way, it’s nowhere near where other beverages such as coffee and soft drinks are yet.
What current trends in the tea industry excite you the most?
The fact that, especially in Canada, tea seems to be in many people’s minds in a way it hasn’t been in a very long time. People seem to be discovering that tea is more than simply an alternate to coffee, and that there is much more to tea than generic black tea bags. I’m also very interested in the embracing of tea by chefs and mixologists as a quality, versitile, and delicious ingredient in meals, desserts, and cocktails.
Interview with Academy of Tea