Jason M. Cohen is the primary author of Tea Technique and the series, An Introduction to the Art & Science of Chinese Tea Ceremony.
Subject Matter Expertise
My interest in tea began in 2007, while attempting to study politics in Kunming. I spent most of my time in Kunming at the tea market, focused on Pu'er.
In 2008, I picked and harvested my own tea on Makaibari tea plantation in Darjeeling, India.
In 2009, I revisited China and India to further my tea education. In Nepal, I attempted to visit the tea fields, which were unfortunately closed because of the continuing Maoist insurgency in the remnants of the civil war; I wasn't quite warned of this in advance and was abducted by soldiers in Ilam who took me to their fortified compound in the tea fields to be interviewed by their commander - who thankfully turned out to be a government commander (not Maoists) and let me go after an interview to make sure I wasn't an arms dealer. While my research in Nepal was not exactly successful, I was able to return to Darjeeling to continue my studies in India.
In 2010, I founded the Tea Institute at Penn State, an interdisciplinary research institute dedicated to the study and preservation of tea, tea ceremony, and tea culture. At Penn State University, in addition to overseeing the research of over 30 students in five fields of study, I did my own research in sensory science (the science of taste), machine learning, and artificial intelligence. I remained the Executive Director or Executive Director Emeritus from 2010 - 2018).
In 2011, I studied tea in Taiwan with multiple high level practitioners. I then studied Korean tea with Brother Anthony of Taize (http://anthony.sogang.ac.kr/; author of two books on tea) and Hong Kyeong-Hee (one of the) the Inheritors of the Dharma of Cho Ui.
In 2012, I led a group of my students from the Tea Institute through Korea, and then continued my education with multiple teachers in Taiwan. I also visited Japan to finalize the Institutes relationship with the Urasenke and Omotesenke Chanoyu Schools.
In addition to my time spent in Asia, from 2009 - 2016 I directly oversaw (first as Executive Director and then as Executive Director Emeritus) the research, events, and education of the members of the Tea Institute. During those years, I spent hundreds of hours researching, overseeing, and assisting tea related research, as well as teaching about 80 students in total to perform the Chinese tea ceremony, and programming international events. Many of those students have gone on to teach others - a few hundred individuals have learned there practice from my lineage.
Each year, the Tea Institute would fly-in one of the tea masters mentioned above for a week-long series of public events, workshops, and "master class" for advanced practitioners. I directly oversaw and benefited from those closed-door sessions for the institutes most advanced practitioners.
Since 2016, I have continued my studies alone.
I am the Founder & CEO of Analytical Flavor Systems, a venture backed ~20-person tech-startup. Our platform, Gastrograph AI, is a Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence platform used by large multinational food and beverage companies to develop new products, optimize existing brands, and enter new markets by predicting high-preference flavor profiles for targeted consumer demographics around the world.
Analytical Flavor Systems grew out of my research at the Tea Institute.
I am a recognized expert on the application of artificial intelligence to predict human sensory perception and preference. In my role as CEO of Analytical Flavor Systems, I work with the world's largest food and beverage companies, have spoken at academic conferences to audiences of up to ~1,000 attendees, and continue to publish research on the applications of AI for human sensory perception.
I am frequently interviewed within the industry and have appeared on podcasts, radio, and video for general interest interviews about AI and food development.
One of the best examples of an on-the-spot interview is available here: https://www.gastrograph.com/sleepwalkers-ai-sparkling-water-development/
I have also been interviewed by:
- The Atlantic: https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2018/12/gastrograph-flavor-goes-digital/577270/
- The Economist: https://www.economist.com/1843/2019/01/21/for-your-mouth-only-welcome-to-the-era-of-personalised-food
- The New Statesman: https://www.newstatesman.com/science-tech/technology/2018/05/how-artificial-intelligence-could-personalise-food-future
- The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/may/23/food-for-thought-will-an-era-of-hyper-personalized-meals-leave-a-sour-taste
- The Counter: https://thecounter.org/artificial-intelligence-personalized-food-beverage/
I am very happy to receive personal inquiries - though I am often slow to reply.
For questions related to the chapters published here, please discuss in the comment threads (subscriber only).
My email address is: akedomakona [at] gmail [dot] com.