Pioneer Members

Our Pioneer Members, are the first Tea Fellows and Tea Catalysts to join our association. We really appreciate their early trust and support, when we were just at the beginning of the path.  Thanks to them we were able to build a global Japanese tea community and start many new tea initiatives. We are proud to introduce them here.


Yasuharu Matsumoto
Global Japanese Tea Association,
Kyoto Obubu Tea Farms
Tea Catalyst
Matsumoto is one of our association founders. He has been working with Japanese tea since 2004, has been focusing on bringing Japanese tea to the world
Ryo Morisaki
Morifuku Chaen
Tea Fellow
Ryo is the first generation tea farmer in Wazuka, Kyoto. He focuses on making natural tea that is good for people and the environment.
Jun Watanabe
Deai Noen
Tea Catalyst
Jun is the fourth generation tea farmer from Shimada, Shizuoka. He mostly makes deep steamed tea - fukamushicha, but he has also been experimenting with other kinds like Wakoucha, Oolongcha.
Simona Zavadckyte
Global Japanese Tea Association,
Kyoto Obubu Tea Farms
Tea Catalyst
Simona is one of our association founders. She has been working with Japanese Tea since 2013. Her focus is on making Japanese tea more open and accessible to the world


Erik De Keersmaecker 
Tea Fellow
Erik is a certified ITMA Tea Sommelier. He has been fascinated by Wakoucha and has built the whole website for it.
Sofie Vercauteren
Tea Fellow
Sofie spent nearly a year travelling through Asia and learning about tea. Now she teaches about tea to others and organizes trips to tea regions. 


Lee Jolliffe
University of New Brunswick
Tea Fellow
Lee is a professor of hospitality and tourism. She has been deeply interested in tea tourism and has also published a book about it 'Tea and Tourism'.
Francois Mathieu
Tea Fellow
Francois is a founder of and is working on introducing Japanese roasted tea all across North America.


China Teacora
Tea Fellow


 Elsa Carette
Tea Fellow
Elsa is a true tea spirit. After completing a tea internship in Japan she has worked in several tea companies in the US and Germany
 Lucie Pinzano
Tea Fellow
Lucie has a great passion for Japanese tea. A few years ago she travelled across Japan to experience and learn more about Japanese tea.


Susanne Lang
Horenso Consulting
Tea Fellow
Susanne is the founder of Horenso Consulting. Combining her experience in hospitality sector and her interest in tea, she is working to help other businesses succeed. More here.


Maria Giulia Rigon
Tea Fellow
While working with languages professionally Maria has a great passion for tea and has been collaborating with local teashops in holding tea events.


 Caren Chawa
Tea Fellow
While professionally involved in a different field Caren has been a tea lover for a long time and in future hopes to have her own teashop.


Andri Ciang
Tea Fellow
Andri is the founder of Hojichaya. He works on promoting Hojicha and other Japanese teas in Malaysia.


Maarten Roos
Lightcurve Films
Tea Fellow
Maarten's background is in science and film making. He also loves tea, of course, and is looking for ways to combine these passions.


Anna Poian
Global Japanese Tea Association,
Mindful Teas
Tea Catalyst
Anna is one of our association founders. By attending tea festivals and holding tea workshops she has been introducing Japanese tea throughout Europe.


Xenia Bianco
Japanese Tea Hub
Tea Fellow
Xenia is the founder of the Japanese Tea Hub and she is working on promoting Japanese tea in Sweden and across all Europe. More here.

The Netherlands

Richard Schukkink 
International Tea and Coffee Academy
Tea Catalyst
Richard is the founder of the International Tea and Coffee Academy. For over a decade, he has been teaching and inspiring a new generation of tea and coffee professionals.


Eray Ergenc
Tea Fellow
Eray has roots in a tea producing region of Turkey and in future would like to have a tea farm to produce green tea.


Christopher Lum
Tea Master Matcha Cafe & Green Tea Shop
Tea Fellow
Christopher works at a tea shop in LA - Tea Master. He is a true Japanese tea lover and Matcha is his passion. 
Cathy Reyes-Gallardo
Cathy Ana
Tea Fellow
Cathy has a great passion for Japanese tea. She has spent nearly a year in a tea town in Kyoto, and hopes to open her own tea shop one day.
Kimberly Richardson
Viridian Tea Company
Tea Fellow
Kimberly is the founder of the Viridian Tea Company offering a range of teas on Etsy platform
Tess Thormodsgaard
LA Tea Sommelier
Tea Fellow
While professionally working in a different field, Tess is passionate about tea and is happy to organize tea activities and workshops in LA.
Adrian Vega
Tea Fellow
Adrian has been working in the tea industry for a number of years and now he is creating a new tea company