Asako Steward has been appointed the only Japan tea ambassador in the UK. Steward developed her interest in tea in Australia when her family lived there for her father’s business and, when she started flying for Japan Airline in 1987, she noticed how many countries have individual tea drinking cultures.
So she took a year-long qualification program at the Japan Tea Association (black tea) in Tokyo, became a qualified junior tea instructor for the Japan Tea Association in 1997, and then qualified as senior tea instructor. In 1997, she moved to Britain and learned tea tasting with a tea brokering company in London; in 1998 she started ‘infuse tea’, a course about English tea for Japanese people in London, attracting 150 people a year; and in 2012, she started running the same course in Tokyo, Hiroshima, and Nagoya.
In 2006, she gained her qualification as a ”Nihoncha advisor ” for Japanese green tea from the Japan Tea Industry Central Association, and then in 2017, qualified as a “Nihoncha instructor”. She has written four tea books, all in Japanese, lectures regularly at the Lipton tea school in Tokyo, and has run seminars and in-house training for tea and food related companies, and participates regularly at British fairs in Japan.