Earlier there was a thin line demarcating business or professional activities from leisure ones, which has now completely vanished, making people opt for careers in fields that are highly recreational, leisurely or just involves lazing around or even working with basic sense organs. For instance, can you imagine eating, sleeping or tasting beverages like tea could ever fetch you money, if not for the present day scenario?
Today the job market has come up with such diversity in career options that are the most unconventional and still relatively new like the field of tea management, especially for people living in Asia, from where the tea drinking habit originated and spread far across the world.
Tea leaves serve the taste buds as much as they serve India’s economy and its export revenue, where several people get jobs in the tea plantation industry.
Well, if you are a tea lover, you too can earn a good sum, especially with a degree or diploma course in tea management.
There are people working at all different levels in the tea industry whether it is related with the production, finance, sales and marketing, processing or tea tasting. There are courses in several institutes providing for courses in all these different aspects of the tea industry. However, these courses would not need you to be having a master’s or Ph.D., a simple graduate or a student who has passed class 12th can work as a tea sommelier after pursuing these courses and earn a handsome pay package! After the completion of this course, you surely would be able to tell one tea leaf from the other!
All being said and done, graduates of botany, agricultural science, food science, horticulture and related subjects would stand a better chance in understanding the procedures behind tea production and processing of tea leaves much better. If, however, you want to work in the marketing field of tea industry, a course in marketing and management would be advantageous. The industry offers for a job in tea brokering, auctioning, branding, marketing, processing, consulting, research, plantation management, et al.
The Department of Tea Husbandry and Technology in Assam Agricultural University, Indian Institute of Plantation Management, The Tea Research Association (TRA), Calcutta, Dipras Institute of Professional Studies, Darjeeling Tea Research and Management Association, NITM, Assam Darjeeling Tea Research Centre, Dipras Institute of Professional Studies, UPASI Tea Research Institute, The Tea Tasters Academy, Birla Institute of Futuristic Studies and Department of Tea Management, University of North Bengal are some colleges that offer both degree and diploma courses in tea management. Out of these, Indian Institute of Plantation Management, Bangalore is also known to offer two certificate courses in Tea Tasting and Marketing. For the professional certificate programme in tea tasting and marketing, the course duration is only for 45 days, while for a certificate course on Tea Estate Management is only for a month.
Dipras Institute also offers a certificate course in Tea Management with course duration for a year; however, its Tea Tasting course would be complete within 2 months. The Post Graduate Diploma Course (PGDT) in NITM lasts for 9 months while at the Birla Institute, the Tea Tasting course is only for duration of 3 months. The University of North Bengal also offers a post-graduate diploma in Tea Management (PGDTM) for tenure of a year.
NITM has various modules for the PGDT course that includes Tea Culture and Agronomy, Tea Processing, Tea Management and General work in Tea Plantations covering surveys of land and nature and project works.
Most of these colleges offer courses in tea management for a short term, where processing, finance, marketing and tea tasting are all a part of the curriculum. Tea tasting, though needs you to be an avid tea lover, a quality which should be inherent or inculcated and not taught or that can be learnt over a period of time. However, during the training, one learns to spot the missing ingredient in a certain type of tea, and grade its quality by an understanding of the colour, brightness, the density and the texture or strength of the beverage. A tea prepared in Assam will be easily distinguishable for you from the one made in Kerala, after this course. A cup of tea that has more of water and less of tea leaves and a cup where all ingredients are in the right proportion to one another are something you will easily be able to make out by just sniffing the tea and inhaling its aroma, examining how even is the texture to calculate and figure out the innate, minute differences and the strength of the cup of tea.
After the course, you will be equipped with managing tea plantations, estates, agricultural requirements, finances, the storage and marketing needs as well as the labour management processes. But to pursue the course, you will first need to take a general aptitude test that will be a check on your skills, market knowledge about the leading beverage industries globally and your awareness on the prerequisites for tea production like the type of area, soil and equipment required.
The tea industry in India is a market that is flourishing and has a promising future and many organizations in the country employ individuals offering them attractive incentives like The Tea Board of India, Tea Plantations and Associations or broking houses where you can be employed as research personnel and tea consultants.
If you are interested in the finance aspect of the industry, working as the Financial Head, Consultant, Estate manager or in the marketing department can be a viable option and you can be paid generously as well with trainees earning INR 7000-10,000 and senior professionals around INR 25,000 a month. However, if you specialise in a certain aspect of the industry, you may even go on to earn a whopping 50,000 rupees a month and may even get the chance to work in a five-star hotel.
So what are you waiting for? Pick up the cup of tea and start examining its taste, colour and aroma!
Who knows it might just lead Tea Tasting As A Career.