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What is a Master Blender?

About Tea
What is a Master Blender?

Every Twinings’ tea begins with a Master Blender. In this article, we meet our very own Master Blender, Rishi Deb, to learn about this fascinating role.

About Rishi Deb

Rishi is one of our Master Blenders at Twinings and with over two decades of tea mastery, Rishi guides his team in the development of the next generation of Twinings’ tea blends. Rishi’s love for tea began when he saw tea growing at the foothills of the Himalayan mountains in North-East India.


Outside of work, Rishi is a keen cricketer in the British summertime and, when weather permits, you'll often find him playing or enjoying his favourite sport. Ask him for his favourite tea, and he’ll answer with one for each time of the day – an English Breakfast Extra Strong in the morning, a Darjeeling in the afternoon and a Pure Green tea to sunset the day.


Tea: simple in theory, complex in reality. Every tea we drink has a story, but we often only know the ending. We sat down with our Master Blender (and storyteller), Rishi, to learn about his role in the Twinings’ tea story.


So, first up: what exactly is a Master Blender?

Rishi: Well, for me, the clue is in the name — you really have to earn the title. A Master Blender is someone who, first and foremost, has become a master of their senses. On a more practical level, they are someone who knows what would excite someone’s senses and what ingredients, when blended together, would elicit an emotional response. It also goes without saying, but a Master Blender knows taste like the back of their hand.


What are the key things that a Master Blender is responsible for?

Rishi: On a more detailed level, a Master Blender is the synergy between quite a few things. Firstly, we need to understand what would excite or inspire you. We do this through knowing what need or function the tea we’re crafting will serve.

Secondly, we’re responsible for connecting you with the communities that grow and yield the ingredients we add into each blend. This, alongside our Sourced With Care program Source With Care – Sourced With Care, is an integral part of our job. Lastly, we taste, test and repeat until we’re satisfied with the flavour we’re creating.

In short, think of us as a chef, blending up a bit of this and a bit of that to create the perfect tea recipe.


What are some key skills you need to be a Master Blender?

Rishi: Good question. The first (and most important) thing that comes to mind is a Master Blender is the keeper and custodian of quality. For us it’s the quality of our tea at Twinings. This is of paramount importance. But what do we mean by quality? Well if we take some of our iconic blends like English Breakfast or Earl Grey for example quality for us means that the taste is uncompromised day in and day out month in and month out and so on. Now considering we’re working with agriculture and botanicals and the fact that we’ve been around for hundreds of years that’s no easy task! 

The second most important skill a Master Blender must have is the ability to create. Our job is to create an experience that has a purpose and that tastes good. To do this at Twinings we ensure that we’re at our creative best by taking inspiration from each other and the herbalists we co-create with. This we believe is the synergy that gives you the best-tasting beverage possible.


And lastly can you tell us one thing that we may not know about Master Blenders?

Rishi: Well it’s really about what I touched on earlier. Being a Master Blender I’m the keeper of the tea recipes that have been passed down for generations. Considering that our product comes from the earth ensuring that we honour these traditions and never compromise on taste might surprise you — in short it’s easier said than done!