Stijn Van Schoonlandt, ITMA Certified Tea Master, ITMA Certified Tea Blender, and ITMA Certified Tea Sommelier, lives in Belgium and is a successful tea and coffee professional. He grew up in the food industry and initially pursued a career in information technology.
Stijn started De KoffieLiefhebber in 2015, an artisanal coffee roasting business focused on high quality single-origin coffees that he roasts himself. His company’s market is mainly hospitality businesses. Soon thereafter tea came into the picture to better serve his coffee customers, creating the opportunity to become a single point of contact for both coffee and tea that is highly appreciated by many top restaurants.
Stijn pursued his professional tea journey by enrolling in the International Tea Masters Association’s course to become a tea sommelier and then the tea blending course. After completing the training, he was presented with the opportunity to become the ITMA European Director and began to offer training in London and New York. He has always had a love for teaching and finds the opportunity to teach around his passion for tea incredible satisfying. Combining his tea and coffee knowledge brings a unique perspective into his courses when he compares both businesses next to each other
In 2016, one of his best tea blends, a combination of black tea with cacao nibs and roasted rice, was awarded 3rd place in the World Tea Championship. Since then, he has been creating successful blends for hospitality businesses in Belgium with a strong focus on taste and unique ingredients. Together with top restaurant owners, he provides his services in creating tea menus and in food pairing around tea.
In 2018, Stijn pursued the completion of becoming an ITMA Certified Tea Master. He has a preference for Japanese teas and is learning Japanese in order to support his import business. He recently traveled to Japan to learn more about tea and the Japanese tea ceremony from various tea masters. In 2019 a trip with some of his students to Japan is planned to introduce them to the beauty inherent in the Japanese tea culture.
At present Stijn is running the business together with his wife, Leen Danhieux.