Someone who is qualified at wine is a sommelier and someone who is qualified at coffee is a barista.

What do you call the equivalent of someone for tea?

Also, I'm thinking there might be a word buried in someone's culture, like Asia maybe, but I have not yet found it and I've been looking for a while now.

I don't think the word would be brewer as that isn't really specific to tea because you can brew many things. Nor an infuser for the same reason.

  • 1
    While there may be such a word, it might well be better to phrase the question to allow for there not being. Consider 'What's the word for someone who specialises in sarsaparilla extract?' Commented Nov 3, 2014 at 15:44
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    A barista is not an expert per se in coffee, just one who prepares and serves it. The job requires at least an order of magnitude less training than a sommelier's.
    – choster
    Commented Nov 3, 2014 at 15:46
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    It seems to me that the British must have had a specific word for "tea merchant" at one time, since they had words for just about every occupation. However, I have no idea what it might be.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Nov 3, 2014 at 16:55

3 Answers 3


Someone who specializes in tea is called simply a tea specialist.

A tea specialist is someone who has been educated in tea’s history and making tea, categories or types of tea and the methods of tea production and processing.


If they are working in a restaurant, it is called a tea sommelier. This term would be equivalent to sommelier (or more specifically wine sommelier) and barista. For example, there are certificate programs to become a tea sommelier.

n. a restaurant worker employed as an expert on teas.


Note: Barista is someone who makes and serves coffee (usually espresso-based coffee drinks) but its meaning has expanded and they might be called a coffee sommelier also. Today, not all baristas are coffee experts but more of them are becoming experts. For example, Nespresso started this coffee sommelier program.

Apparently, sommelier is a versatile term that can be applied to many fields.

The terms beer sommelier and sake sommelier are sometimes used for beer and sake. In Japan, sommelier describes not only wine experts but other fields of expertise, for instance music sommelier,or vegetable sommelier which is a certification delivered by the Japan Vegetable Sommelier Association (日本野菜ソムリエ協会).



You can be a connoisseur of tea or of wine (or indeed both, though probably not together). It does not have the implications of professionalism: is that important?



"Maven" is a word derived from Hebrew


which means, roughly, one who distinguishes, or one who is able to distinguish. Don't be fooled by the transliteration into English: Maven should rhyme with day-scene.

Main Entry: ma·ven Variant(s): also ma·vin \ˈmā-vən\ Function: noun Etymology: Yiddish meyvn, from Late Hebrew mēbhīn Date: 1950 : one who is experienced or knowledgeable : expert ; also : freak 4a

--Merriam-Webster Online

  • "maven" does not rhyme with "day-scene" for me. It rhymes with "raven."
    – herisson
    Commented Sep 21, 2015 at 11:04
  • I wish I could upvote you again just for putting in the Hebrew symbol! :) Also, yeah unusual that it rhymes with day-scene, does that have an etymology relation to the Irish name Maeveen I wonder which is pronounced the exact same?? also spelled Maiveen, Mayveen, Maeveenn, Maebhín, Maedbhín. Commented Apr 7, 2016 at 10:53

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