Gabriella Lombardi, Milan, Italy, Chà Tea Atelier
For marketing professional, Gabriella Lombardi, forging a path for tea in Italy was no small feat. “Spreading tea culture is a stimulating challenge in a country like Italy, where coffee is culturally the traditional drink” shares Lombardi. Armed with ideas and a TAC Tea Sommelier certification, Gabriella launched her tea shop, Chà Tea Atelier in 2010 in Milan. As she ran her business, her passion for educating people about tea grew. Lombardi involved herself in educating consumers and professionals about tea as well as consulting and developing pairing menus for the hospitality industry. Gabriella also parlayed her experience into a teaching gig for Protea’s Tea Academy (Italian Tea Association) as well as serving as the national coordinator for the Tea Masters Cup competition.
Q+A with Gabriella Lombardi
What is your earliest memory of tea? I fell in love with tea when I was studying at the University of Granada (Spain) and discovered tea leaves; something unusual in Italy.
Favourite TAC Tea Sommelier module? Tea 105 and Tea 107. Tea 105 was rich in technical details and a sound introduction to cultivation. Tea 107 deepened my knowledge about pairing and cooking with tea, one of my passions.
If you could drink two teas what would you drink? Chinese and Japanese green teas such as Long Jing, Sencha and Uji Matcha and oolong teas such as Chinese Da Hong Pao, or Taiwanese Alishan and Dong Ding are among my favourites.
Where in the world has tea played a role in your travels? I visited a beautiful tea garden in Boseong, South Korea. However, the best place to enjoy a good cup of tea is in my living room with family or with my best friends.
What is next for you? I’m a volcano of ideas, so I’m always up to something. I would like to travel more and maybe to find the time to write my second book on tea. My first book “Tea Sommelier” (published by White Star – DeAgostini in 2013), gave me great satisfaction.
Have you always worked in the tea industry? Until 2009 I worked in marketing activities for different advertising agencies, leaders in the Italian scenario of communication. However, my real passion has always been tea and the cultural aspects and rituals related to the world of tea. In 2010 I changed my life and I founded Chà Tea Atelier, the first tea shop in Milan with a tea room, specialized in high quality loose leaf teas and flavoured & herbal teas. In recent months I have also had the honor of being Tea Instructor of Protea’s Tea Academy for TAC TEA SOMMELIERTM/SM Certification Program in partnership with Tea Association of Canada.
For Protea (Italian Tea Association) I’m also the national coordinator for Tea Masters Cup competition.