With the understanding that discussion, research, and greater educational efforts must be undertaken in order to promote the growth and consumption of tea throughout the world, the Specialty Tea Institute (STI) exists as a resource for those involved with or served by the specialty tea industry.

The Specialty Tea Institute was formed on July 8, 2002. It is an amalgamation of its two parent organizations; the American Premium Tea Institute (APTI) and the Specialty Tea Registry (ST*R), each created to promote a better understanding and consumption of high quality teas.

The Specialty Tea Institute, which operates under the non-profit auspices of The Tea Association of the USA, Inc

Mission Statement

The mission of the Specialty Tea Institute shall be to promote awareness and consumption of Specialty and Premium teas by providing an educational forum, resources and education about quality tea for members, the trade, the media, and consumers.

STI will function as the recognized voice of the specialty and premium tea industry, and as such will interact with other national and international trade, consumer, governmental, non-government, and other groups to further the cause of quality teas worldwide. Furthermore STI will sponsor a wide spectrum of geographically dispersed programs to promote the appreciation, consumption, knowledge and sale of specialty and premium teas.


The Institute is organized with the objective of providing a forum where research, discussion and education is fostered. It provides representatives from all segments of the industry an opportunity to enrich and enhance their knowledge and appreciation of the fine teas of the world.

To that end, the Specialty Tea Institute will undertake the following:

  1. Promote the cultivation, processing, importation and sales of specialty teas through educational outreaches that nurture and increase awareness, understanding, and demand by those in the specialty foods and food-service industries.
  2. Encourage specialty tea consumption by retail and food-service consumers.
  3. Standardize and clarify specialty tea descriptions, nomenclature, and standards that are both accurate and understandable. This activity will include efforts that focus on tea leaf types and grades, growing methods, harvesting and manufacturing processes, brewing methodology, flavor characteristics, consumer friendly language and the like.

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