Corporate Flight Attendant Training 101: Tea Service
This is a post by guest author Dietmar Duller, founder and course leader of Training Solutions. Dietmar was asked to contribute to this blog because of his expertise in business aviation flight attendant training in the Middle East, Europe, and Africa. Any thoughts expressed below are entirely Dietmar’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of Universal Weather and Aviation, Inc.
Tea, especially green tea, has become a frequently consumed hot beverage onboard private jets, primarily due to its beneficial health effects. However, there are differences in how different cultures serve tea and when this beverage is consumed.
Below is an overview about tea and how to serve it to your passengers:
1. What are the health benefits of drinking tea?
Tea has been regarded in Asia for thousands of years as the key to good health, wisdom, and happiness. Increasingly, scientific research testifies to the health benefits of all varieties of tea: black, green, white, and other types. Below you will find some of the benefits tea may offer:
a) Tea helps keep you hydrated
Tea replaces fluids which are lost and keeps your body hydrated, which is especially important when flying.
b) Tea contains antioxidants
Some studies have shown that the antioxidants found in tea protect your body from the ravages of aging and the effects of pollution.
c) Tea increases your metabolism
Green tea has been shown to actually increase your metabolic rate.
d) Tea is calorie-free
Tea does not have any calories. It can have calories with the addition of lemon, sugar, and/or milk.
e) Tea has less caffeine than coffee
Coffee usually contains two to three times the caffeine of tea.
2. What are some tea-drinking customs around the world?
Russian tea customs: Although black tea is traditionally the most common tea in Russia, green tea is becoming increasingly popular. Russians drink their tea boiling hot (100°C or 212°F) and drink it for the most part throughout the day.
Chinese tea customs: In China, the art of drinking and serving tea is a special event in which both the aroma and flavor of the tea are important.
In Chinese society, members of the younger generation always show respect for the older generation by offering cups of tea.
Light finger-tapping is a custom for thanking the tea server for serving tea.
Japanese tea customs: Tea is still one of the most popular beverages in Japan, where the tea ceremony is a much cherished, special, and important event. The Japanese commonly drink a variety of different teas and powdered green tea called "matcha." These days, the tea ceremony is a relatively popular hobby for many Japanese, with many of them taking lessons to learn the ceremony.
Turkish tea customs: It is hard to imagine breakfast in Turkey, social gatherings, or business meetings without the presence of tea as tea is such a big part of Turkish hospitality. Today, Turkey has one of the highest per capita rates of tea consumption, averaging about 1,000 cups per person per year.
Black tea is offered in small tulip-shaped glasses, and sugar cubes are added. You may offer lemon, but never offer milk.
North African tea customs: Moroccan-style mint tea is a green tea with mint leaves which is commonly served in the "Maghreb" countries (Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia). It is served throughout the day as it is considered a drink of hospitality. Tea is traditionally considered a "man’s business," and it is prepared by the head of the family. If a guest is offered tea, it would be considered impolite to refuse it.
3. What is the difference between tea and herbal tea?
All types of tea – black, green, white, oolong, and others – are derived from the Camellia sinensis plant, a plant native to China and India.
"Herbal tea" refers to dried herbs such as peppermint, chamomile, and rosebud served with hot water. Herbal tea tends to be high in volatile oils, which tend to be high in vitamins and minerals.
4. What is "High Tea"?
"High Tea" is an English tradition that refers to tea served in the late afternoon and early evening. Guests should be offered different types of tea, which should be served with a selection of finger sandwiches. The most traditional sandwich fillings are mixes of cucumber, egg, salmon, and watercress. Other offerings include scones with Devonshire clotted cream and strawberry jam and a selection of cakes and pastries.
High tea is considered to be very proper, and many corporate flight attendants now serve it during the afternoon.
5. Can I use any type of water?
No. Ensure that the water for making tea is low in calcium. Some very popular types of mineral water brands contain a high amount of calcium, which can damage any tea-making equipment. This can be very costly to replace on a private jet.
6. How should tea be stored on a private jet?
An airtight container is necessary to maintain the quality of tea. Teas should be stored in a dark, odor-free, and moisture-free environment. Room temperature is fine for most varieties of tea.
Keep in mind that every tea is different, and many variables can affect storage conditions. Some green teas are extremely fragile and lose their finer notes quickly while others can be stored for several years. In general, the less oxidized the leaf, the faster it will lose its flavor when exposed to air. For example black teas tend to retain flavor longer, sometimes even up to two years.
There are many different ways to brew tea, and preparation depends on variables such as the formality of the occasion, the means in which it’s being prepared, and the type of tea being served. With the many tea varieties available and serving differences among cultures, it’s always recommended to know your passengers’ preferences prior to flight. This will allow you to offer the best tea service possible for your passengers.
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