In 2018, a national round of Tea Masters Cup was held for the first time in Sri Lanka, and two tea masters, the winners of the national tournament in Tea Mixology and Tea Pairing, represented their famous tea country at TMC International, also for the first time. The routines of the Lankan participants were remembered by the guests and judges of the tournament for their vivid emotionality and the masters’ full involvement in preparing and presenting their drinks.
Yasarathna Bandara, a bar supervisor at Habarana Village Hotel by Cinnamon in Sri Lanka, won in TMC Tea Mixology 2018 and became a hero of this breviloquent interview.
Yasarathna, what skills and knowledge are required for your job?
- Proven food and beverage experience.
- Knowledge of various software (MS Office, SAP, POS).
- Ability to spot and resolve problems efficiently.
- Delegating multiple tasks.
- Communication and leadership skills.
- Beverage knowledge.
Is your work connected with tea in any way?
Yes, of course. We have high tea concept in our hotel. There is a selection of about 20 tea varieties.
How many cups of tea a day do you drink and what is your favourite tea or tea drink?
3 cups. Ceylon Black Tea.
Living in one of the largest tea-producing countries, do you have a favourite tea place?
Yes. It’s Lumbini Tea Valley in Deniyaya, Sri Lanka.
Where do you have tea most often (home, or some establishment)? Who makes the best tea for you?
Best tea is made at home, by my mother.
Have you received any tea education? Who were your teachers in tea?
I have attended many tea competitions and won gold medal two times. I have attended tea training sessions conducted by Ceylon Tea Board. My mother is my first tea teacher who inspired me to build my career.
How did you train to prepare for TMCI finals in Huế? Did you have a special plan? A trainer?
My plan was to be number one in the World Tea Masters Cup. The Department executive’s team helped me to prepare for the competition.
What was the most difficult part of the TMCI championship?
It was difficult from the very beginning till the end of the TMCI finals.
Did you have enough time to choose the best ingredients and make the recipe for the Master’s Mix?
Yes, timing was okay. I managed it well.
What was the most memorable moment or thing during TMCI 2018?
The most memorable moment was when I became the Champion of the competition in Tea Mixology category.
Do you serve your champion mixes at the hotel where you work?
Yes. We will be serving my Master’s Mix and it’s in our beverage menu.
Could you share your plans and aspirations with us?
My aspiration is to move to the next step in my career and participate in future competitions.
TMCI 2018 Master’s Mix by Yasarathna
Black tea (Sri Lanka) + lemongrass + jaggery + allspice leaves + mango + Ceylon Arrack + Amaretto. Allspice leaves, jaggery and tea garnish.
Master’s Mix original components:
Ceylon Arrack. Traditional Sri Lankan spirit distilled from fermented sap of the coconut flower.
Jaggery. Non-centrifugal cane sugar, a concentrated product of cane juice and often date or palm sap without separation of the molasses and crystals.
Allspice leaves — leaves of Pimēnta diōica. Dried unripe berries of Pimēnta diōica are a popular spice, also known as allspice, pimento(a), Jamaica pimento, Jamaica pepper, or myrtle pepper.
TMCI 2018 Organizers’ Mix by Yasarathna
Red Vietnamese tea + local vodka + chocolate syrup + vanilla syrup + orange. Fresh fruit decoration.
Photo Credits: Natalia Bogdanovska.