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.


Alba Ameller
Tea Fellow
Alba's background is in media production and communication. She has been practicing Omotesenke tea ceremony for many years and has visited several tea regions of Japan.
Ian Chun
Tea Catalyst
Matsu seduced Ian into the tea industry in 2010, and he began promoting Japanese tea farmers and small factories globally establishing as an online platform in 2013. now offers a thousand teas from over a hundred Japanese tea producers.
Lilia Dzyk
Fujini Shokai Kyoto
Tea Fellow
Lilia is an avid tea-lover and enthusiast. She has spent time volunteering on a Japanese tea farm and now works at a tea company in Kyoto.
George Guttridge-Smith
Kyoto Obubu Tea Farms
Tea Fellow
George's fascination with tea started nearly 10 years ago. Since 2019 he has been working at Obubu Tea and leading several creative tea projects.
Helen Hayashi
Tea Fellow
Helen has been living in Japan for a long time and has been teaching yoga. In future she would like to open a take out tea shop in Sakai.
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
Caven Mitchell
Tea Fellow
Caven is the CEO of SIVENTH, a technology focused consulting and mentorship provider. He is also developing a tool for sustainability evaluation in tea industry practices.
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.
Moe Nakashima 
Kyoto Obubu Tea Farms
Tea Fellow
Moe has a passion for tea and tourism. She has been working at Obubu Tea since 2019 and has been helping to manage several ta tourism activities.
Yoshihiro Sugimoto
Wazuka Koucha
Tea Fellow
Sugimoto-san is a 5th generation tea farmer in Wazuka, Kyoto. He specializes in Japanese black tea - Wakoucha
Simona Suzuki (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
Noriyasu Uejima
Uejima Sourokuen
Tea Fellow
Uejima-san is a 5th generation tea farmer in Wazuka, Kyoto. He makes high-grade teas including Matcha and Gyokuro
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.


Bonnie Robin
Parlor Tea
Tea Fellow
Bonnie is the co-founder of Parlor Tea, a Melbourne based tea brand, that focuses on organic green tea.
James Millward
Tea Fellow
James has been a long-term Japanese tea enthusiast since studying at Kochi University in 1997. He has recently completed a Japanese tea course with our association.


Claudia Befu
Tea Room Stories 
Tea Fellow
Claudia is a tea lover and tea ceremony practitioner, who shares here passion through here page Tea Room Stories. 


Carol Bailleul 
The Art of Tea Brewing
Tea Fellow
Carol has been working with tea since 2013. She runs a Wabi Sabi Guest house, provides tea consulting and has published a book called "Afternoon Tea or High Tea?"
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.
Cinzia Merlin
The Tea Circle
Tea Catalyst
Cinzia's background is in professional translation, but she is also a co-founder of the Tea Circle - a space for tea culture and education in Brussels.
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. 


Paula Batista
Tea Fellow
Paula is an agronomist with a deep interest in tea. She has been an active member of the first Brazilian tea school and is now researching about tea at the Okayama University


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'.
Han Le
 Salon de Thé Oasis
Tea Catalyst
Han is a founder and the owner of Salon de The Oasis in Montreal, Canada. Han is deeply invested in tea education, and over the years has held many workshops and events
Francois Mathieu
Tea Fellow
Francois is a founder of and is working on introducing Japanese roasted tea all across North America.


 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.


Beatriz Rodriguez
Tea Fellow
Beatriz has been passionate about Japanese tea for a long time and she is looking for new ways how to help introduce it more in Germany
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.
Susanne Monka
Tea Fellow
Susanne has a deep interest in tea and has completed several online tea courses at our association.
Olesya Rudolff 
Tea Fellow
Marten Verch
Tea Fellow
Marten has worked in several tea companies and associations in Germany. He is really passionate and enthusiastic about tea.

Hong Kong

Yeuk Shing Chiu
Tea Fellow
Otto used to help at his grandfather's tea shop where he developed interest in tea. Now he is learning about and exploring Japanese tea more proactively.


Shane Flynn
The Plant Based Cafe
Tea Fellow
Shane is the founder of The Plant Based Cafe. In future he would like to introduce more Japanese tea to Ireland.


Jose Guillermo
Te Invito
Tea Fellow
At the age of 17 Jose founded a tea company,  and is working on re-culturalizing people in the coffee country -Honduras towards tea.


Alessandra Celi
Tè e Teiere
Tea Fellow
Alessandra's background is plants and herbs. It is natural that she discover tea, and since 2005 she has been running a tea shop in the heart of Rome.


Sara Cherchi
Tea Squirrel
Tea Fellow
Sara's passion for Japanese tea started during her university years. She lived in Osaka for several years and hopes to start a tea business in the near future. 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.


Giedrė Trumpienė
Yugen Tea
Tea Fellow
Giedrė's interest in tea began over 10 years ago. In 2020 she started a tea company Yugen Tea, and now is promoting Japanese tea in Lithuania.


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

New Zealand

Mark Pierson
Tea Fellow
Mark is the founder of the International Guild of Tea Liturgists, and curates “Tea & Be” rituals at festivals, conferences and churches.


Crisiljefv Garrido 
Tea Fellow
Crisiljefv's background in real estate, but he has also started an organic tea manufacturing company in the Philippines, called C-Tea.
Sharee Mae Te
Chingkee Tea
Tea Fellow
Sharee is the founder of Chingkee Tea. She started her tea business at the age of 21 and now runs 4 locations.


Nina Gruntkowski
Chá Camélia
Tea Fellow
Nina has a great passion for tea. She is a co-founder of Chá Camélia and one of the first tea growers in Europe.
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.


Julie Wang
Tea Fellow
Julie has been involved in several tea education and consulting projects. She is also a graduate of the Japanese Tea Master Course


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


Nixon Chen
Mahidol University International College
Tea Catalyst
Nixon is an assistant professor in Mahidol University International College.  He teaches about Sales, Marketing, Fashion, Society, Wine Studies and of course Tea! 

The Netherlands

Philippine Kahn
Tea Fellow
Most of Philippine's career was in the field of law, but she is looking for a future in tea, and has been actively studying about Japanese tea. She is also very interested in wagashi.
Marjolein Raijmakers
Nagasaki Ikedoki Tea
Tea Fellow
Marjolein has a great passion for Japan tea. She has completed an internship at Obubu Tea and now works at Nagasaki Ikedoki Tea.
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.


Viktoryia Toma
Tea Fellow
Viktoryia is a food & beverage specialist. She is also a WSET wine & sake educator.

United Kingdom

Luisa Duca
The Yorebridge House
Tea Fellow
Luisa is Chef de rang in 5 star hotel. She is also an avid tea drinker and has already completed several tea courses.


Michaeline Becker 
Tea Fellow
Michaeline is a professional hair & makeup artist. She would also like to start curating and selling Matcha.
Dan Bolton
Tea Journey
Tea Patron
Dan is the founder of the digital Tea Journey magazine, and he is also the chief editor of several other tea magazines.
Sam Boyles
Second Steep Tea
Tea Fellow
Seth Griffin
Tea Fellow
Seth is a professional Chinese translator and a keen tea drinker.
 David Lavecchia
Tea Fellow
Patrick Leonard
Tea Fellow
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. 
Marzi Pecen 
Pecen & Associates
Tea Fellow
Marzi is a independent tea professional consulting about the tea, fragrance, flavoring, culinary & beverage industries
Lauren Purvis
Mizuba Tea Co.
Tea Fellow
Lauren has been studying specialty tea for over 17 years. In 2013 she founded Mizuba Tea Company, that is a recognized Uji Cha Tea Dealer working with some of the most highly awarded tea producers in Japan. More here.
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.
Aiko Strasser
Tea Fellow
Aiko started Matchalo in 2020, an online female-founded, California -based small business with a mission to promote Japanese heritage teas and matcha in the US.
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.
Erin Toyoshima
Tea Fellow
Erin manages Operations and Sustainability at Matchaful, a female-founded, mission-driven matcha and wellness company based in New York City. 
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