We’re proud to announce that Coffee and Training Specialist Brandon Bir has earned Level 1 and Level 2 certification from the Specialty Tea Institute.
The STI certification program is designed to increase understanding of tea varieties, brewing methods, and the botany of the tea plant, camellia sinensis. It also develops skills in tea preparation, blending, cupping and sensory evaluation.
To prepare for Level 1 certification, Brandon completed courses covering the five basic tea types – white, green, black, oolong and pu’-erh – and the orthodox tea production styles used to create them. In addition to cupping and tasting teas, topics also included essential components of teas, where and how teas are grown, the stages of processing and what differentiates different types and classifications of tea.
Level 2 certification courses covered tea production and manufacture, as well as blending, flavoring and scenting teas. Classes also included introductions to sensory evaluation of teas and the principles of grading and naming teas by country of origin.
Brandon earned the certifications by passing exams at the 27th Annual Exposition of the Specialty Coffee Association, held April 9-12 at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle.
Kudos to Brandon on achieving this important certification! As a key member of our innovation team, he will use his expanding knowledge to help us identify more great teas for our customers.