Tina McDonald - Academy of Tea Instructor
Tina is the Program Director at the Academy of Tea and a certified TAC Tea Sommelier® Professional.
Loving tea since she was a little girl, starting with garden parties drinking tea out of tiny ceramic cups with her great-grandmother in Kent, England. Since then, she has been tenaciously tea-focused, poring over yard sales, flea markets, and auction houses for tea-related accouterments – all for a beautiful cup of tea!
When not curled up with a good book and her favourite short oolong, floral white, or big bold black tea, Tina can be found puttering in the kitchen endlessly trying to perfect her choice recipes.
Tina’s knowledge and love of tea will become a memorable part of your tea journey.
Joyce Maina - Cambridge Tea Consultancy
Joyce is the Founder and Director at Cambridge Tea Consultancy and is a certified TAC Tea Sommelier® Professional.
Joyce’s great passion for tea is infectious. Her tea journey began rather serendipitously 28 years ago when she joined Brooke Bond in Kenya as a graduate trainee in Tea Marketing. This opened up a whole new world of tea for her beyond the fine Kenyan teas she had grown up drinking. It enabled her to taste teas from all over the world and travel to tea origin countries including Malawi, Tanzania, South Africa, Sri Lanka, India and China. With each new discovery her love for tea grew.
Cecilia Corral - Escuela Mexicana de Té
Cecilia is the Academic Director at the Escuela Mexicana de Té. She is certified as a TAC Tea Sommelier® Professional, Tea Designer and Expert in Protocol and Ceremonial Tea.
Cecilia was born in Mexico City and, after finishing high school, lived in France for a year. Bachelor’s degree in business administration from the Universidad La Salle in Cuernavaca, Morelos, she moved to Lomas de Cocoyoc to work as an assistant director in an academic institution. Her work as coordinator of the Entrepreneurs Program allowed her to have direct contact with students and to master the academic instruction.
She has also visited tea plantations in Sri Lanka and Argentina, where she learned in detail the process of cultivation and collection of Camellia sinensis, as well as the manufacturing processes of different varieties of teas, both industrial and artisanal.
Cecilia Corral - Escuela Mexicana de Té
Katie’s first experience with tea comes in the memory of drinking Irish Breakfast with her grandmother out of delicate teacups. Today, she carries the same reverence and passion for the art of tea into her day to day life. Katie founded The Monarch Tea Co. in late 2013 with the vision of bringing together the traditional eloquence of tea time with a modern twist. Katie is a Certified TAC Tea Sommelier® Professional and loves offering hands on tea talks to others. Her passions involve reading, cooking and spending time outdoors. Her favourite tea is either Genmaicha or Cream Earl Grey.
Gabriella Lombardi – Protea Academy
Gabriella Lombardi is the President and instructor at Protea (Italian Tea Association). The Protea Academy is partnered with the Tea and Herbal Association of Canada to offer the TEA SOMMELIER® Certification Program in Italian.
Her love of tea began when she was away studying at the University of Granada (Spain). After graduation, and before she could devote her time to tea, she worked at several advertising agencies in marketing positions in Milan. In 2010, Gabriella was able to return to her real passion and opened Chà Tea Atelier, the first tea shop in Milan with a tea room, specialized in high quality loose leaf teas.
Gabriella is the first Certified TAC TEA SOMMELIER® Professional in Europe and is the author of Tea Sommelier from White Star Publishers. She has been a speaker and judge at: World Tea Forum (Korea – Oct 2013, Sept 2014, Nov 2015), World Final Round of Tea Masters Cup International (Turkey – Sept 2015) and Mount Emei International Tea Culture Exhibition Sichuan (China – Apr 2016).
She is also currently the national coordinator for Tea Masters Cup competition.
Wanda McCumber - THAC In-person Kingston
Wanda McCumber is the Owner of Enchanted Creations, a unique tea and gift shop enchantingly nestled in a tranquil treescape in Kingston ON. As a TAC Tea Sommelier she engages attentively while sharing her experience and knowledge of Tea. Wanda’s passion for the topic of TEA radiates in her teaching as an instructor with the Tea and Herbal Association of Canada, a tea merchant and as a columnist. She has an unquenchable thirst for knowledge concerning all things tea. Wanda is elated when this same enthusiasm is ignited in others as they comprehend and appreciate the extraordinary, vast, wonderful world that is tea.
Shabnam Weber - THAC In-person Toronto
Shabnam Weber has spent the last eighteen years in the tea business as an entrepreneur. As owner of a specialty tea company, a tea school and a Director on the Board of the Tea and Herbal Association of Canada, she has a unique perspective on multiple angles of the tea business. She is the author of THAC’s well known and recognized Tea Sommelier® program and a big driver in both consumer and industry education. Shabnam values the diversity offered by all parts of the tea industry, both in Canada and beyond and focuses always on the bigger picture. Shabnam is a graduate of the University of Toronto with an Honours degree in Political Science and she also holds a post-graduate diploma in Psychology.
Dani Liu - THAC In-person Coquitlam, BC
After visiting one of the finer establishments for afternoon tea in London’s Mayfair district, Dani was introduced to their vast tea selection. It was at this moment that her curiosity in the different types of teas began. When relocating to the Lower Mainland she stumbled across what was then a specialty tea shop, hosting workshops on the weekend. After a career change, Dani decided to work in that tea shop and whilst doing so embarked on a trip to India to study to become a yoga instructor and visit tea plantations. On her return she decided to enrol in the TAC Tea Sommelier® Professional certification program and launched her own tea company online earlier this year to fuse the holistic practices of yoga with her own organic tea blends.
Dani Liu is a TAC Tea Sommelier® Professional and instructor in the THAC in-person program in Coquitlam, British Columbia.