Adnan Smajić, doctor who became a sommelier for tea
‘’In every other business, especially corporate business, you are bound by regulations, programs, business guides, which must to be respected. Here there is much more impulsiveness, sincerity, creativity and naturalness.’’
“Tea is connected with legend, story, communication, adorned by secrecy. It is a product which is still largely unknown, if we deal with special kinds.
Then it is a real trouble to find the right producer and the manner of production. There is a lot of unexplored, and I’m simply drawn to diversity of the
product. A single tea can, during the year change, its taste, aroma, quality, and so if you drink the same tea in the morning, noon or at night, it could
taste differently, or if you use different water’’, these are the words with which sommelier for tea and owner of the tea shop ‘Franz & Sophie’ Adnan
Smajić (50) described the reasons of his fascination with tea. In fact, Adnan first became a doctor and besides that he also finished School of Public
Health and Tea Academy in Germany. Average man could say that it is too much education for this sort of job and that it is very unusual. But, Adnan is
satisfied and he’s following his vision.
Didn’t you regret quitting your profession of a doctor, for which is not so easy to earn diploma?
– To be honest, it was a long process, it didn’t happen overnight. I felt tired of it, unsatisfied, and maybe some set of circumstances influenced that
I leave medicine. I’ve never regretted and I’ve never wanted to return to practice medicine.
Even today you have contact with the preservation of health, because most of your organic teas originate in distant lands.
– It is a rarity, not just in BiH, but generally in the World of tea, that someone opens a store and tries to acquire organic teas, which is much
harder to acquire than the classic teas, and it requires that one has good knowledge of the tea market. On the other hand, it is a motivation and my
personal vision of a healthy tea. In a way, we all profit from that, the producers, who don’t pollute the environment, the buyer and the seller.
Before this, you’ve worked in pharmaceutical industry. How did you experience the drastic difference of nature of those two
– I feel very satisfied with this job, which I lacked in the last job. I missed enthusiasm, something new, and now I have all that. Every person who
enters the store, comes with a story that you must accept, and open yourself to it. It’s my pleasure to work with people in this way, much closer way. In
every other business, especially corporate business, you are bound by regulations, programs, business guides, which has to be respected. Here there is
much more impulsiveness, sincerity, creativity and naturalness. I feel that people recognize my satisfaction with my job unlike when I worked in pharmaceutical company.
How complex is the knowledge of tea?
– Some things can be learnt from books, but working with teas, tea-mixes, testing them, choosing the right tea, it is a very complex job. In that manner, the Academy helped a lot. I’ve worked with people who were basically born in the tea store, who travelled the world and have the culture and the knowledge of tea at their finger tips.
How do pesticides and insecticides that are being used in the production of tea influence the health?
– There are several aspects concerning that matter. First, it’s not just one insecticide or pesticide that is being used, but rather many of those chemical products. The EU is clear; there are maximum allowed dosages of insecticides and pesticides that must not be exceeded. However there were no studies how the cocktail of chemical products influence the health of humans. We know how particular pesticides and insecticides affect the health, but we don’t know their influence when they’re mixed, whether there is a synergy effect that enhances their effect… Those are the problems that you generally have with insecticides and pesticides, or genetically modified plants that are also being used.
Have you thought about expanding your activities?
– I should organize a workshop for all those who are interested, for people who want to enter the world of tea and find their place in it. I shall offer information about tea and its preparation. I will help everyone as much as I can and as much as it is in my interest to help people, together with my partners.
Are there certain regions in our country that have good soil for the production of organic teas?
– I had the intention and the will to cooperate with certain NGOs that started to work in that field, which has stopped for now, to work with plants such as sage, nettle in areas where the soil is still unpolluted. Herzegovina is very interesting; it has a rather healthy soil, without industry, roads, without anything that might seem threatening. We’ll see, it might happen.
You consider yourself a tea-addict. How does a man who almost never drinks fresh water feel?
– I feel good, absolutely. The advantage is that I have 110 teas, and I try ten-fifteen a day.