Frankee Muller, Certified Tea Master and co-owner of the HomePage Cafe in Bozeman, Montana, thought she knew a lot about tea before starting her training to become a tea master—not everything, but a lot. She considered herself the town’s authority on tea because she knew how to brew most tea. Her café was, and is, the only place in town where one could find a pot of loose leaf tea, properly prepared, and served with panache! She jokingly told people that her mother-in-law taught her well! She knew she would learn many things about tea, but in all honesty, she was a tried and true coffee drinker who looked at this certification as another angle that might help her business expand.
Now, months later, she can’t even begin to count the things she learned!
Assigning a quantitative significance to any one of them is impossible,
because each one in its own right is the most significant! What makes
it harder is that they build on one another. She studied world history
in college, so she found the history of tea fascinating in every aspect.
As an innkeeper who has served afternoon tea daily since 1983, learning
about the various tea ceremonies and the service aspect of being a Tea
Master was right on point! The subtle nuances of aroma and taste as
well as the harvesting and processing of the numerous teas that she
sampled has been enlightening in every aspect. And lastly, as an insatiable
gardener (in the Rocky Mountains, no less), learning about how geography,
climatic conditions and soil differences can affect the final product
has been captivating!
How does she choose any one of these things as being THE most significant?
She can’t! What she can say for sure, is that today—even after learning
all of this—she realized how little she knew! Tea will never again be
just another beverage. Every cup will be a sensory and educational adventure!
Most of all, she hasn’t had a satisfying cup of coffee in months!