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Specialty Tea Institute (STI) Education

My name is Kyle Stewart, and I'm passionate about tea. I've co-owned The Cultured Cup for over 26 years, and love to learn and share what I've learned with others. My formal tea education is from one institution: the Specialty Tea Institute (STI), the educational arm of the Tea Association of the USA, where I received my Certified Tea Specialist and Certified STI Instructor credentials. In 2015, I was named one of the first five STI Tea Mentors in the U.S. 

Upcoming STI Classes at The Cultured Cup

13731 Omega Rd., Farmers Branch, TX   75244  1.888.VIP.TEAS (847-8327)

For pricing and sign-up, call the STI Office at 212-986-9415 

Saturday, May 14, 2022:  5 - 10 pm: Foundations of Tea - Level One: This class provides attendees with a strong understanding of the five basic tea types and the two traditional styles of orthodox tea production used to create them. Topics covered also include: 

  • the essential components of teas
  • where and how teas are grown
  • the stages of processing
  • what differentiates the different types and classifications of tea
  • a demonstration of unique tea rituals

Attendees will together taste representative samples of each of the 5 tea
types and compare their different experiences. In addition, they’ll discuss tea
steeping methods and examine the basic characteristics of different teas.

Sunday, May 15, 2022:  8 am - 6 pm: Foundations of Tea - Level Two: Building on the essential groundwork presented in Level One, Foundations of Tea: Level Two examines:

  • "Crush, Tear and Curl" tea production and manufacture 
  • blended, flavored and scented teas
  • the sensory evaluation of teas
  • an intro to the principles of grading and naming teas by country of origin
  • tea and food pairing exercises
  • explore several tea cultures 

This class will also allow attendees to examine and taste multiple paired sets of teas as they are guided through the basics of evaluating tea. 

(For more information, please call 1.888.VIP.TEAS (847.8327)

For pricing and sign-up, call the STI Office at 212-986-9415

What Does it Mean to be An STI Tea Mentor? 

Several times a year, I teach STI's Level I & II courses, mostly in Dallas. These are the introductory classes of STI's curriculum, the only tea training certified by the Tea Association of the USA. 

Through my connections with the Specialty Tea Institute, I've traveled to origin countries and developed relationships with tea farmers, processors, wholesalers, tea scientists, and tea researchers from around the world. 

In 2018, I was one of five nominated for Best Tea Educator by World Tea Expo, and in 2019, The Cultured Cup was named the Best Retail Tea Shop, Cafe, Bar in the U.S.!

Drawing on my 26 years of tea experience, I customize the learning for each student. I get to give back and help educate the next generation of tea lovers and tea educators. 

To learn more about my background, please read the January 2019 D Magazine article in which I was featured.    


    "Kyle is a selfless supporter and promoter of tea, demonstrated by his years of service on our STI Board as well as being a leading Tea Mentor for STI. Thank you, Kyle, for dispensing tea knowledge to those unfamiliar with tea, or those who want to learn more. Through your efforts, the number of tea drinkers in the U.S. continues to grow and more people are becoming tea drinkers, tea lovers, and tea acolytes!" Peter F. Goggi, President of the Tea Association of the USA 

    "It was a true pleasure to meet you and be a recipient of your knowledge & wisdom. It was much more than I ever expected & those who said you were the best, could not have been more accurate. You've got a true passion for tea, culture and most of all...people. All the best wishes as your journey continues." Troy Knapp, Former Executive Chef, The Driskill Hotel, Austin, Texas  


    "The tea seminar was fascinating & fantastic!" Elaine C. Brown aka Hawk Wakawakaa renowned wine writer who wrote a blog after attending my tea seminar at the TexSom International Wine Awards. 

    From Anonymous Student Evaluations 

    "Kyle is simply an inspiration. His knowledge is deep like an ancient tea tree, and his passion never ends!"


    "Of all the professors I've had (and I've had some damn good ones), Kyle is one of the best! He understands the spirit of what he teaches and communicated the information in a manner that was meaningful and inspirational to my life as a tea professional." 


    "I would love to have all my tea classes with Kyle! An inspiration, truly & totally. I am so grateful. Kyle is knowledgeable, meaningful, energetic, flexible, personable, patient and engaging. Great class!"


    "A fantastic way to experience the course! Kyle was more than prepared, open & facilitated discussion. And this course was about so much more than 'Green, Yellow & White Tea.' A fantastic & passionate instructor!"   

        Contact us with questions

        13731 Omega Rd.
        Farmers Branch, TX 75244


        Monday - Saturday
        10am - 5pm

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