Frankee Muller , ITMA Certified Tea Master, President and Founder of A Thirst for Tea, Inc. and co-owner of the Voss Inn Bed and Breakfast in Bozeman, Montana, grew up drinking tea in Southern California. However, her first significant exposure to tea was when she travelled to Botswana in 1983 on a photo safari with her family. Afternoon tea was served daily during the 5 week trip and she quickly became enamored of the custom. Soon thereafter she moved to Botswana to be with her soon to be husband, Bruce, the Zimbabwean manager of the Santawani Safari Lodge. There she took over the catering for the safari camp which included serving afternoon tea to their clients.
After returning to the States to start their family, Bruce and Frankee acquired the Voss Inn Bed and Breakfast in Bozeman, Montana, where they have lived and worked for the last 25 years. Because the inn is an historic Victorian establishment serving afternoon tea continued to be a part of their daily lives. Then in 2005 they opened the HomePage Cafe, a specialty tea and coffee cafe, in downtown Bozeman. It was at that time that Frankee started a more in depth study of tea, reading everything she could find on the subject and exploring the vast number of fine teas available at the time.
In the fall of 2009 Frankee received an invitation from ITMA Executive Director Chas Kroll to enroll in the Tea Master Certification course he was offering through the American Tea Masters Association (now the ITMA.) She jumped at the chance to study with the prestigious organization and to learn from such knowledgeable people. Doing so offered her the opportunity to hone her skills and more fully refine her pallet, senses and understanding of tea. What she did not realize is that it would change her life. Tea would never again be just another beverage. Every cup is a sensory and educational adventure! Tea has become her passion, her obsession and her endless journey of exploration.
After receiving her tea master certification in 2010 Frankee started her tea business, A Thirst for Tea, Inc. which she operates online out of the Voss Inn. She conducts classes on various aspects of tea including its health benefits and offers monthly tea tastings. She continues to serve afternoon tea daily at the Inn and by reservation to private parties. Over the past several years she has been working to establish and nourish direct relationships with tea growers in China, Japan, India, Malawi and Kenya.
Her favorite teas? That depends upon the time of day and the time of year! She starts every day with Keemun Hao Ya A. She typically serves a wonderful second flush Darjeeling for afternoon tea at the Voss Inn. If for some reason she has no guests for tea she will indulge in her best Darjeeling or oolong. She especially enjoys a good oolong on a cold winter afternoon. She ends every day with three 12oz pots of Dragonwell. To sum it up, Frankee’s favorite tea is the one she happens to be drinking at the moment!
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