Both Mr. Nakane and Tad Honda grew up watching the farmers of Nishio carefully harvest the tea, and learned how AOI’s superior production leads to the company manufacturing some of the finest matcha in the world. Both Tad and Mr. Nakane spent their lives learning, training, and tasting green tea to develop a sophisticated palette, just like a wine sommelier. Both men can judge a tea’s location and quality with simply a taste, while caring for the tea within AOI's warehouse just as a vineyard owner would care for their wine cellar. The functions of AOI's tea sommeliers include:
- Many years of matcha tea training including harvesting, production, manufacturing and tasting.
- Caring for the tea warehouse, transportation of tea and storage of tea just as a vineyard owner would care for their wine cellar.
- Making recommendations for ingredient pairing and food/tea combinations.