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Tea Management

Tea is one of the most refreshing and popular beverages of the world. India being the world's largest producer, exporter and consumer of tea, there is wide scope for careers in this field. Though not a very well known career option, jobs in this area can be interesting. There are a variety of jobs one can specialize in a tea industry. The jobs put together is known as tea management. Tea tasting is one of the highly specialized area of work. Other areas are that of researchers, plantation managers, tea brokers, consultants etc. Work in the Tea industry includes plantwork, processing, auctioning, branding, marketing and research. Plantation work involves nurturing tea plants in the plantations which includes preparing the soil, applying the appropriate fertilizers, choosing the right variety best suited for the prevailing conditions and supervising the pinching and plucking of the leaves. Processing work involves the crushing, tearing and curling of the leaves, which takes place in the factories. The tea is then packed and dispatched to auction centers. The various samples of tea from different plantations are tested, blended and branded by the tea tasters in the auction centers. Tea brokers who have a background in planting, tasting and a know how of market trends, auction the tea and the Marketing personnel market the final product. Although computers are now used for blending varieties of tea, the tea taster’s verdict is still considered the ultimate test for determining the quality of tea. In India, best tea growing areas are Assam, Darjeeling and Nilgiris. Several varieties of tea can be grown in one garden. As tea is a seasonal plant, the same leaves from the same bush, plucked in different seasons, have different bouquets. Each of these varieties require different ways of handling. Eligibility Educational: Even though anybody who have a basic educational background can get into tea industry, and pick up the skills required on the job, a degree in Agricultural Science or a B.Sc. in Botany, Food Sciences, Horticulture or allied fields is preferred these days. Candidates who have specialised in business management or marketing are recruited for marketing jobs. New entrants are taken on as Assistants at the plantation level. After gaining experience and competence an assistant can get promoted to the level of Assistant Manager, and then Manager of a tea garden. Most assistants can expect to become managers in 12-15 years of service. Potential tea tasters selected are trained on the job. Besides natural talents, vigorous training for a number of years is essential before becoming a professional tea taster and then a tea tasting manager. Besides acquiring skills in tasting, they need to work on their managerial and marketing capabilities too. Personal attributes One opting for a career in the filed must have an interest and liking for outdoor life. Must be physically fit, adaptable and self-reliant. Leadership qualities and the ability to deal with labourers is an added asset for plantation/ factory managers. One must also have initiative, be knowledgeable about the tea market and be alert to changing market forces, and should be willing to undertake strenuous work. Should possess fair knowledge about the topography and geographical location of the tea estate. Tea tasters need to have keen taste buds and should keep their sensitivities clean. They should therefore be inclined to keep smoking, drinking and intake of spicy foods in check. Those planning to become brokers should be level headed and disciplined and be able to strike a good rapport with producers and buyers.

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