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ITEI Tea Trainings & Certification Programs

Questions raised on some social media networks about why certification programs in tea?

Holding a Certificate from any school does not mean that the person has sufficient and broad knowledge in that particular field, only that they passed the exams of a specific program designed and developed for a specific level of expertise in that field. So many industries prepare their professionals for various schools and career programs/certifications, and the tea industry is no exception. Of course, motivated people can learn and experience a lot on their own, but it's also nice to know that there are wonderful schools out there that can help in a more structured way including work-based experience and guide the students when it comes to various tea careers or tea business models. School is where the experts are expected to share and pass on their knowledge and expertise to the next generation. The more sophisticated the tea industry becomes, the more tea chains, tea houses, tea rooms, etc., open up, the more structured, tea careers need to be. In today's competitive job market, being certified for a set of skills is an advantage. Sylvana. P. Levesque, Founder of International tea Education Institute (ITEI).

Infuse true knowledge and some flavour in your tea world or culinary career when you pursue professional ITEI Certification Courses, ITEI Level 1 Award in Tea, ITEI Tea Sommelier, ITEI Tea Master and ITEI Tea Blending & Flavouring Professional intensive trainings from our tea school and its worldwide affiliates starting with Laval, Montreal, Quebec, Canada. At the International Tea Education Institute, our intensive and various tea training and certification programs are designed for tea startups, tea houses, tea rooms, tea cafes, restaurants, tea bars, hotels, tea cafe owners and employees looking to develop and manage tea culture within the hospitality/catering industry and beyond.

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- Sylvana Levesque was one of my wonderful teachers, leaders, mentors at ITEI. Where she leads I suggest all follow...Simply the best of the best! Lisa- Marie

- Beautiful documents! The quality of the materials ITEI is putting out is absolutely top-notch! I have it printed and in my manual right now. Thank you for continuing to send these our way! Janet

- Good morning Sylvana,

The past few days, upon rising, I have been preparing myself a bowl of matcha. Pondering the principles of Chanoyu, purifying the utensils, my mind, and spirit. Sitting down to meditate afterward. Everything feels very good, and I am grateful for your training. Your work continues to touch and influence my life. Thank you. Drake

- Hello ITEI tea educators!
You are wonderful teachers and team. I'm forever grateful, and I’m glad for the opportunity of having ITEI Founder, Sylvana. P. Levesque is my mentor in a few sessions to lead us in the art of tea. Kind regards, Elisa

- I really felt fortunate to have you as my trainer as you shared so much of your energy, knowledge, and love of tea with us. Until I started training with you, I had only a minimal knowledge of tea. The fine world teas samples provided by ITEI for the training were great to expand my awareness of what is available, but it was your training that really made me want to continue to learn more and keep digging. You are an inspiration! Elysa

- Way to go International Tea Education Institute! Keep sharing that enthusiasm and knowledge so people like myself can continue to be inspired to expand our world! Please do keep in touch and I look forward to learning more from you in the future! Best Wishes! Kylie

- I learned so much with your school. I miss our group; the online meetings were nothing less than a joy. Sheryl

- I’m fascinated by the level of dedication and devotion you and the other trainers from ITEI have demonstrated during my training. I now know that tea is a gift from God and your school is the key to that gift. Joshua

- Thank you for sharing your trainer's tea passion and expertise with me during my training. When you asked me why I enrolled in your courses although I had certificates from other schools, the answer is I came for True Tea Knowledge.
Thank you for teaching me, Joey.

- Learning with your expert team of international tea educators from around the world made me realize i paid very little to have 100 years of tea expertise bundled with all of you. Narita

- Hope your classes in Germany are going well. Wish I was there too. Hope your students know how lucky they are. Bonnie

- It is so fantastic to meet people who are so devoted to tea and who see it also from the philosophical point of view. There is no surprise people say that tea is liquid wisdom. It is much more than a thirst quenching beverage. I am very excited about ITEI professional courses. Thank you for sharing the magic of tea with me! Juliana

Sylvana P. Levesque

Founder of International Tea Education Institute
International Certified Mastery in the Art of Tea
Japanese Tea expert- CEO KEIKO TEA North America
World Teas Sourcing expertise
Tea Import/Export & Distribution Expert
International Business Development expert
Keynote Speaker for tea Lectures and conferences
Tea educator and training Director
Tea Menus Consultant for the hospitality industry


In Sylvana's world, the words written on her heart read, "The journey of a hundred cups ... begins with a single sip." For 25 years, Sylvana has dedicated her life to tea, the beautiful and flavorful drink steeped in ancient and recent history. Even as a teenager, she knew that tea was not just any common beverage, so she would often spend her days drinking and studying the nuances of Russian and Armenian teas. It was in Europe where she discovered KEIKO tea, the finest of Japanese teas, and decided to pursue her dream of mastering the art of tea. Today, Sylvana, a multilingual ITEI Certified in Mastery of the Art of Tea, believes dedication to tea is of utmost importance passion is not enough.

Mastering the art of tea is a lifelong learning process, and it does not end with the training Sylvana offers. It is useful as it allows for decisive knowledge in handling tea, tea lists, and everything about the tea experience. The more she learns about tea, the more she realizes that tea shapes her lifestyle making every cup she drinks or shares an additional step towards enlightenment. She has recently launched the International Tea Education Institute where students will obtain various professional tea certifications corresponding to each student ambition and career in tea. Those aiming for Authentic and Genuine Tea Mastery, an educational journey that is difficult to attain, but after hard work and dedication, they will understand the endless horizons of such aim and how we guide you through this lifelong journey. At her new school, Sylvana offers an extraordinary opportunity. The classes will be held across Canada, USA, Latin America, Europe, Dubai, India, Asia and South East Asia.

Her commitment to everything tea manifests in the numerous organizations in which she is involved, as well as her time spent working and traveling for the cause of tea, both domestically and internationally, and particularly in Europe. During her ten years in France, Sylvana worked as a business development consultant serving multi-national companies and governments. Traveling extensively to Japan has also played a vital role in her understanding of tea tastes, history, flavors, and serving styles. This is where she became a true expert on Japanese tea, built strong relationships with suppliers, and developed a unique connection to the Japanese culture. This was also the seed for her tea-focused business. With insight and expertise, she pioneered matcha, tea-based desserts and sweets to North America under her company, Top Taste International.

Sylvana successfully utilizes her law degree and her background in public relations to advance today's growing tea category. She consults with tea-loving entrepreneurs, assisting them in implementing ideas, building strategies, and inspiring and expanding their overall vision about the world of tea.

Sylvana thinks "outside the tea box" and enthusiastically searches for ways to further incorporate tea into the world around us. Recently featured in the Chicago Shimpo magazine, it was noted that her presentation at the Japanese Green Tea Showcase, October 20th, 2011, was exceptional and that she offered "comprehensive information about green tea." The article also mentioned her revolutionary concept for introducing tea lists into the menus of restaurants, much like wine lists. She hosts Tea Workshops in North America and lectures at tea symposiums around the world. Frequent comments like, "What a memorable experience!" are heard. With a sparkling personality and unmatched enthusiasm, Sylvana herself is much like the tea she sources: rare.

Brigitte Horrenberger

Founder of the Comptoir Français du thé ®
Master Tea Blender
CEO of import-export tea company
World tea sourcing
Tea educator and speaker


It was during my apprenticeship with a German tea importer that I discovered the various facets of working in the tea industry, from provisioning at the source all the way to creating various tea blends and going through countless tea tastings.
In the early eighties, I decided to open a tea shop in Bordeaux.

A few years later, I founded a trading company specialized in sourcing and importing teas directly from various tea producing countries, created specific tea blends targeted to retail shops.

The merger of both my tea businesses, the retail tea shop and the trading company under one brand « Comptoir des thés Français,» resulted in the company being acquired by the SALBA group in 2004.

Since 2010, I have been, as a freelance tea consultant, helping executives in their business development needs, training, education, innovations, creation of specific tea blends making sure they benefit from my expertise that covers both in-depth pieces of knowledge of tea products and the challenges of tea purchasing at source.

This broad experience has made me realize the lack of structure in tea knowledge transfer within the tea industry and, in parallel, the strong demand from consumers, future tea vendors and hospitality industry professionals for real tea knowledge and expertise.
It is a with great commitment that I will be dedicating myself to tea education, particularly in the United States and Canada.

Wolfgang Boehmer

ITEI Certified Tea Blender
Diploma Ing. Chemist (Germany)
Flavor Chemist
Certified Business Administrator
Flavor Educator
Speaker for Tea and Coffee Conferences


Wolfgang Boehmer began his career in his native Germany, graduating from the University of Essen with a degree in Chemical Engineering. In 1979 he joined the flavor house in Northern Germany working with flavours as well as Essential Oils. Soon thereafter he developed his passion for tea and coffee flavourings. Through his work he quickly became involved with the United States Market, so when the German house opened their U.S. production division he took his family to Cincinnati, OH to become their general manager. In that position he was responsible for the company’s success in the U.S. market, due in large part to his focusing attention on the growing tea flavor market.
Mr. Boehmer has over 33 years of experience in the industry, successfully merging his expertise as a flavourist with his knowledge as a business manager. His keen ability to understand and interface with his customer base has enhanced his knowledge and understanding of the industry in his progression from junior flavourist to senior flavourist, from production to plant manager and EVP &COO. Wolfgang always focuses on knowing his customers, their needs, and the forces shaping the marketplace in general. His knowledge and focus has also translated into a role as an educator within the industry, as he has given presentations and seminars in such contexts as SCAA Conventions, Tea Seminars or World Tea Expos.

Mr. Boehmer was the first ITEI Certified Tea Blender to graduate with Honors in both North America and Europe in 2013. He is a faculty member of Canadian Tea Masters, European Tea Masters and International Tea Education Institute.
Mr. Boehmer joined Flavor Dynamics Inc. in March 2007 to help expand the company’s exploration of the tea flavouring market. Since joining the company he has created a wide variety of successful flavouring systems for many kinds of tea, both herbal and traditional.

Susan Peters

Tea Historian
Historical Research Consultant; Archivist; writer
ITEI  Certified Tea Master
ITEI Blue Leaf Award in Teas
TAC Tea Sommelier
Tea Educator - Tea history
Member of the Culinary Historians of Canada; Jane Austen Society
Expertise in Culinary History including the cultural history of tea
Steeped in History International Tea Education Institute becomes the first in Tea Industry to employ a Historian.


International Tea Education Institute announces the addition of a faculty member in the role of “Tea Historian.” Susan Peters brings to the association nearly three decades of experience in professional ethno historical research. With an academic background in both history and cultural anthropology and further studies in museum collections and culinary history; she provides a unique perspective in the study of the past, within the context of material culture. Spanning almost 30 years, Susan has been conducting historical research for a variety of clients: various local museums; Aboriginal cultural groups; The Union of Ontario Indians; The Assembly of First Nations; Indian Residential Schools Resolution Canada; and the National Museums of Canada. She has also been a long-term member of the Culinary Historians Associations of Ontario and Canada.

As a child living in France and Germany, (as well as in various provinces of Canada), Susan developed a real sense of the richness of local culture. One also develops a sense of the importance of culinary traditions, both now and in the past. While later living in the American South, she also learned to appreciate just how culinary history is embedded in the culture of the South. One cannot help but develop a real sense of history and place with this exposure. Culinary history is embedded in our oral traditions, not just as a means of survival, but as the focus of our family traditions. Within this context, Susan has been developing an understanding in the cultural traditions associated with tea. Tea is steeped in history. As a commodity, tea was traded and stolen and bootlegged throughout history. Pirates commandeered shipments of it. People were enslaved over the tea trade. Wars were fought over it. Dowry’s consisted of tea, as it was very valuable. At times, tea was sexy or forbidden. Because it was valuable, acts of industrial espionage were freely carried out in order to garner control of the tea trade. It is not simply the warm beverage we drink with toast. When you sip a cup of tea, you drink in all its history, all its blood and guts and glory. You pay homage to all the brave pioneers in the past who risked life and limb so we could take this mighty beverage for granted. Susan does not take this beverage for granted. She brings to he Canadian Tea Masters Association a passion for sharing her love of the place tea has in our history. It was not always a happy story, but we must respect those who had a part in our embracing tea today. It is a commonplace element in our everyday lives, but that was not always so. By learning their part in the story, we pay homage to those who worked so hard to bring it to us. As a Tea Historian and Certified ITEI Tea Sommelier and Mastery in the Art of Tea, she has a real respect for these pioneers, warts and all.

Sandy Li

Chinese Tea Taster
20 years of experience
Tea Educator
Professional photographer



Michael Longo

Tea Grower and Tea Manufacturer
Co-Founder of Onomea Tea Company
Hilo, Hawaii
New World Teas expertise

Michael Longo


Rob Nunally

Tea Grower and Tea Manufacturer
Co-Founder of Onomea Tea Company
Hilo, Hawaii
New World Teas expertise

Rob Nunally

Dr. Christine TN Wong

ITEI Certified Tea Master

Dr. Christine TN Wong is an independent scholar and education consultant. She received her Doctor of Education from Simon Fraser University in Canada. Christine's major research interests include Chinese philosophies, human agency, transformative learning and lifelong education. Christine enjoys teaching Chinese cultural courses and offers various types of classes with a tailor-made curriculum. Christine started to love tea when she was young. Tea, for Christine, is much more than a drink. It is a culture. A small cup of tea has countless meanings and reflections. The more you know tea in a cultural perspective, the deeper you may discover about tea, yourself and others. Let’s drink not merely to your physical health, and to your philosophical and spiritual exploration!

Dr. Christine TN Wong

Ajit Madan

UK First ITEI Master Tea Sommelier ™

Ajit Madan graduated in Medical Microbiology with a BSC honours degree and completed a Masters in Economics, worked in investment banking for 13 years culminating in as Head of European Leveraged Capital Markets at Societe Generale, and Founded Camellia’s Tea House, a speciality tea company in London, UK, with his sister Lubna Madan in 2007. Offering over 150 different premium tea types including hand-blended herbal infusions designed for specific health ailments and general wellness, Camellia's Tea House supplies many of the best hotels, restaurant, and spas around the world.



Yulius. R, Wu

ITEI Certified Tea Master from Shanghai

Yulius.R, Wu

Kim McHugh

Founder of McHugh tearoom & gifts
ITEI Certified Tea Blending Master
Certified Tea Master
Tea Educator
Culinary expert
Public Speaker

Kim McHugh

This love affair with tea was sparked by a series of life changing events and a devotion to learning, blending and tasting teas for almost a decade. She transformed that love into the highly successful online store mchughtea.com in 2010 . In 2013 she opened her first “brick and mortar”, full service tea room in Bellaire, Texas called McHugh Tea Room and Gifts. The tea room offers over 65 organic teas from around the world as well as tea-infused foods, tea classes, Private Party Room, Afternoon Tea (“High Tea”), and full-service lunches served 6 days a week.

Prior to opening the doors to McHugh Tea Room, Kim was an Executive Senior Sales Director and public speaker in the cosmetics industry for over 20 years. Her dedication to leadership and personal growth has evoked women to “push the boundaries”. Following her cosmetics career, she represented a medical device company which focused on women’s breast health. This further sparked her interest in tea as many surgeons she met with suggested that consuming tea is one of the “best dietary habits for cancer prevention”.

Having years of experience speaking to large groups on subjects such as customer service and life balance, she now incorporates the topic of the miraculous health benefits, social aspects and the fascinating history of organic teas from around the world. Kim has spent the last few years focusing on the many uses of tea in food infusion and beauty regiments discovered by universities, hospitals and fellow tea enthusiasts. She now teaches about these unique and modern tea uses as well as their tasty, healthy, healing powers to private groups, companies, and her large following of loyal customers. She has been featured in magazines such as The Buzz, Tea in Texas, Tea Time, Modern Luxury Bride, and The Jewish Herald Voice. She has appeared on Channel 13 with Rebecca Spera and FOX 26 with Rita Garcia.

Kim has a humorous coaching style that transforms the way we think and feel about our health, our happiness and our busy lives. Her motto is… there is always a way to see your tea cup half full!

Budoor Steele

Founder of Chawan–Authentic Japanese Tea House
Japanese professional certification in chado by the Urasenke  School
ITEI Certified Tea Master
ITEI Tea Blending & Flavouring Professional
Tea Educator
Founder of Chawan–Authentic Japanese Tea House.

Budoor Steele

Having her first cup of matcha in Japan in 2008, Budoor immediately fell in love with the Japanese tea culture. After spending three years in Japan exploring the tea culture, she returned to Bahrain and founded Chawan, a first of its kind Japanese-themed tea house in 2012. She then started importing traditional Japanese teas such as matcha, genmaicha, and artisan Chinese teas such as blooming teas and the ancient pu’er tea. Built around the Japanese concept of hanami (admiring the seasonal flowers’ bloom, while enjoying a cup of tea) the unique tea house not only aims to educate people about the proper ways of enjoying high-quality loose-leaf teas, but also exploring the Japanese culture through a variety of activities. A kimono dressing experience, traditional tea ceremony, the art of calligraphy, and Japanese movie night are some of the activities offered.

 In 2015, Budoor returned to Japan to deepen her knowledge about the Japanese culture and tea education. She spent three more years in Japan where she acquired an International Masters in Japanese Humanities from the Kyushu University in Fukuoka, with a research focused on the Japanese tea ceremony grandmaster system iemoto. During her time in Japan she also acquired a professional certification in kimono dressing, and the Japanese tea ceremony known as chado certified by the Urasenke School, making her the first Bahraini woman in this field.

Budoor is also a certified Tea Master, Tea Blending Professional from ITEI (International Tea Education Institute), as well as Japanese tea culture educator at the institute.

Contact us to take part in tea certification and sommelier courses designed for those passionate about tea.

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Nixon Chen

Nixon is an Assistant Professor at Mahidol University International College, Thailand. He holds a Ph.D. in Architectural Heritage Management and Tourism and a undergraduate degree in Fashion and Clothing Technology. He has an Associate Degree in Wine Essentials, Business and Marketing, and possesses the qualifications of a Tea Sommelier and Japanese Tea Master. Also, Nixon is a Tea Catalyst and specialises in Japanese tea. One of his missions is to promote Japanese tea worldwide.
Nixon’s interest in tea stems from his childhood, where tea drinking was a part of his daily living. For him, tea is not only a drink with thirst-quenching and health benefits but also an instrument through which to appreciate life and understand various cultures.

Nixon Chen

Daniel Lewis

Author, entrepreneur and motivational speaker and proud founder of the award winning Tea company T By Daniel.
ITEI Certified Tea Master
ITEI Corporate Events gold partner

Daniel Lewis

Ondrej Herda

ITEI UK Certified Tea Sommelier
Bartender with 7years experience
Tea Mixologist with passion for Iced Teas

For me tea mixology is quite an art and as I always say ,, with enough imagination and creativity any ingredient can be carved into a masterpiece. Each step of the process of creating a Tea Cocktail or Iced Tea that will stand out of the ordinary is crucial: Right choice of tea, other ingredients and their right dosage. Then comes the Technique for assembling them, the creativity in presentation as well as the desire to share.


I started my Tea journey when I was 23 in Prague. Later with my mind set on developing my skills further, I moved to London to learn more about tea and tea mixology. In 2014, I was lucky enough to represent the Czech Republic in Sri Lanka as a tea mixologist and show my skills during my first presentation about Iced Teas and Tea Cocktails. I got a chance to spend 1 month with a tea producer from Sri Lanka’s central Highlands and from that moment I knew, that I wanted to become a tea professional. 1 year later back in London, I finished my UK tea sommelier diploma with ITEI. While in London I worked for Gordon Ramsey group as tea mixologist, then I continued in 12Hay Hill private members club and last London UK place where I worked was Corinthia Hotel as a tea mixologist and tea sommelier.

I would describe myself as a hyperactive bartender and tea mixologist. My second big passion is sport. I’m amateur triathlete and ex-pro swimmer. Every year I compete in one Ironman triathlon. I like to push myself far and try to find my limits. I would say that taking part in Ironman triathlons has really motivated me to always be the best version of myself. Because when I’m crossing the finish line I can truly say: anything is possible! It always helps me to return to work with a positive mindset.
Now you can find me in Switzerland. I’m working for luxury hotel Le Grand Bellevue in Gstaad. During my time here at Le Grand Bellevue I have created very successful and dedicated Iced tea menu.

Francelle Blum, PhD

Founder of Sweet Spirits Tea
ITEI Certified Tea Master
ITEI Certified Tea Blending Professional
Tea Educator

Francelle holds a doctorate in history from Rice University, with a background in university-level teaching, research, and academic and documentary editing. Dr. Blum is published academically and has written and illustrated creative works as well. She is a certified Reiki Master, with training in Aromatherapy and an interest in gardening and holistic approaches to healthful living. Her role as a tea educator includes Tea History, Water for Tea, and the personalization of one’s tea experience.

Francelle Blum, PhD

Tea has been an ever-present companion for Francelle, be it in academic or creative pursuits. It is has been a guide through every life phase and an inspiration for every accomplishment. Topics researched, books written, flowers harvested, or kittens cuddled—they have all been done with a cup of tea at hand. Francelle now brings her knowledge and work experience in the fields of History, Energy Awareness, and the Creative and Literary Arts to inspire others on their own tea journeys.

Francelle sees the tea path as ideal for a graceful blending of our intellectual and creative sides. Through tea, we explore not only the sensations of the body, but our mental, emotional, and spiritual sides as well. Her approach to the tea profession and to tea education is one of creative discovery, personal growth, and connectivity, with a strong emphasis on the continually evolving role of tea in history and culture. Simply put, we do not drink tea. We experience tea!