Tea connoisseur Kevin Craig is a true testament of the astonishing things that can happen when you choose to live your passion. With strong aspirations to devoting his career to working in the tea industry, he heads up his own tea review website over at the TeaJourneyman and has turned his love and knowledge of teas into a business with an online storefront of his very own at the TeaJourneyman Shop.
Craig cites that his foray into the wide world of tea and tea culture was nothing less than an act of fate.
“My wife had gone to the mall one afternoon for non-tea related reasons. It seems that she was drawn to the eye-catching colors and displays of a successful mall based tea retailer. She brought home one of the flavored white tea blends, and upon smelling the product, I was quite intrigued. However, I could not help but wonder how tea could demand such prices. My wife brewed a pot of this tea. Upon tasting it, I was immediately hooked. Before long, something began to happen which had never happened before, I was asking my wife if she wanted to go to the mall.”
As a collector and admirer of botany as well as world cultures, Craig soon found that tea satisfied all these passions. There is also a definite “chemistry” to tea and so as he mastered the age-old customs of tea preparation, he learned that one’s knowledge of tea is a never-ending endeavor—something that also intrigued him.
Craig holds two tea certifications, earned in a manner similar to the way one earns degrees in higher education. In order to earn his Certified Tea Professional certification through the American Tea Masters Association (now the International Tea Masters Association) as well as Certified Tea Specialist certification through the World Tea Academy. Both of these holdings were earned through a combination of coursework, examinations, tastings, and hands-on experience. Through this training and tutelage, he has learned and practiced everything from the chemistry of teas and preparation, to the ins-and-outs of running a tea-based business.
In addition to all this, Craig is learning the art of the Japanese Tea Ceremony with a Second Degree Master in the art. He is now looking forward to earning licensure in this beautiful social art.
“I would like to focus on some of the specific cultural arts and philosophy behind the tea,” he states. “I love the quiet, peaceful, and organized atmosphere of the Japanese Tea Ceremony, and that is why I chose to learn it.”
Tea is not just a drink, after all. It is a passion and a lifelong exploration of taste, color, and culture. In closing, Craig shares some wisdom with us that certainly resonates with many of those who enjoy having tea play a part in their lives.
“Everything about tea helps me to feel better physical and mentally,” he reflects. “When I need a moment to slow down, reflect, and calm my mind, I steep and watch a good quality oolong tea open, then appreciate the aroma before taking the first sip.”
We are so happy to share that Kevin Craig will be joining the TeaDrops communitea as an expert contributor. He will be sharing his tea passions and expertise with us while teaching us more about our favorite drink in a dedicated column in our newsletter—be sure to be on the lookout for more from him there. There is so much we can learn about the wide world of tea and we are so happy that Craig will lend a hand in guiding us through this adventure.
Posted by Erin Schwartz