American works as Tea Makers in Europe

Wenzhuo Liu

Photo Andy LeGresley

Alicia Gentili, an American with a Bachelors degree in Socioe conomics, gradually transformed into a new tea maker in Europe through multiple encounters with tea. As a project manager, Alicia worked at a tea plantation in Jersey, UK for over two years, accumulating knowledge of tea production through practical experience. In 2022, she began providing tea processing services and consulting Alicia Gentili Tea Consulting in Europe, and during the tea season, she went to tea plantations of customers in various European countries to help with tea processing and production.

Alicia graduated with a Bachelors degree in Socioeconomics and has traveled to India and Sri Lanka to study. At that time, she felt that tea gardens were a future life she longed for. When she spent with her British ex husband in the UK, she enjoyed British tea culture very much. By chance, she worked as a tea season helper at a tea plantation in Oregon, USA, and then participated in an Indian study tour to examine the growing and processing aspects of the Indian tea industry. Her various experiences are a process of quantitative to qualitative change, and Alicia has decided that her future career will definitely be related to tea. After being introduced to work, she worked in a tea plantation in Jersey, UK for over two years from 2019 to 2021. As a project manager, she was responsible for all aspects of tea plantation operation and learned various tea knowledge through practice.

During the operation of the tea plantation, Alicia enjoys delving into the tea making process. In 2022, she began providing tea processing services and consulting in Europe. She first visited tea plantations in France and the Netherlands, where she helped Linda at Het Zuyderblade tea plantation debug tea processing machines purchased from China, picking fresh leaves and making green and black tea. Alicia discovered that in recent years, many new tea gardens have emerged in Western Europe, but few people know how to process tea, which is a good opportunity for her to provide services. Now she resides in the Netherlands, and when the tea season arrives, she will visit tea gardens in various European countries to help harvest fresh leaves and process them into finished tea according to customer needs. She has experience in making black tea and hand roasted green tea, and has also tried making white tea. She has received invitations in 2023 from her clients to assist in their tea plantations in Italy, Germany, and the UK, in which she stayed in each tea plantation for approximately a few weeks to a month.


Alicia is not unfamiliar with China. In 2013, she went on a three week study tour to China during her university years, visiting cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, and Chongqing. At that time, she was deeply impressed by Chinese tea houses and even purchased craft flower tea. Recently, she has been very fond of drinking Chinese black tea, with Yunnan’s Dian Hong and Fujian’s Jin Junmei being her favorites. She is very curious about the processing techniques that can make the golden hairs on black tea so good. She hopes to go to China again in the future to learn a few weeks about the knowledge and skills of Chinese handmade tea, such as the roasting temperature of green tea Biluochun and so on. Chinese tea training institutions, if they launch more courses for international students or cooperate with tea training institutions from various countries to enroll students internationally through fixed courses, will undoubtedly be beneficial in promoting Chinese tea and tea culture. 

Chinese tea sensory evaluation, Alicia is very interested. She has participated in a tea sommelier course at the UK Tea Academy and studied local tea evaluation during her study tour in India and Sri Lanka. She is very confused and feels that every country has a system and there is no international tea evaluation standard, which makes it very inconvenient to apply and communicate. In recent years, China has taken the lead in formulating the international standard ISO for tea classification, which can be said to be the standard for tea processing at the international level and has achieved phased success. It is hoped that more international standards related to tea can be developed and applied in the future.

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