Penton’s Global Tea Championship (formerly the North American Tea Championship) named the best hot teas (loose leaf) and the best packaged single-service teas during its recent evaluation, Feb. 25 – 26 at Allegro Coffee Company in Thornton, Colo. The Global Tea Championship (GTC) is an independent competition that evaluates and distinguishes the highest quality and best tasting specialty teas. The recent Championship, which was open to all teas that are commercially sold around the world, evaluated 245 teas from 16 countries in various categories and presented 15 first-place wins, in addition to second and third-place awards.
Tea purveyors submitted a spectrum of tea varieties – from breakfast blends to flavored green teas and herbal infusions – for this round’s packaged single service and fall hot (loose leaf) classes. Each tea was given equal consideration as judges examined the leaves, liquor and taste. To earn third place, teas had to earn a score of 60. Second place required a score of 70, and the threshold for first place was 80. Several categories did not have first-place winners or any winners at all. With the competition now open to global submissions, the GTC scoring standards were set much higher than in past competitions. However, if a tea entry did not win, it does not mean that tea was a bad tea. Thresholds for winning are meant to identify teas that are above average to superior in quality. A complete list of first, second and third-place winners from the Fall Hot (Loose Leaf) Tea and Packaged Single-Service Tea evaluations is available at teachampionship.com.
All Global Tea Championship winners will be featured in an October 2017 Global Tea Buyers Guide, which will be distributed digitally worldwide. And all winners will have the opportunity to showcase their winning teas at World Tea Expo 2017 in the “Winner’s Tasting Circle” (if they are exhibiting or attending the show) – with a chance to win a People’s Tea Choice Award. World Tea Expo takes place June 13 – 15, 2017 at the Las Vegas Convention Center (with a pre-conference program June 12). See WorldTeaExpo.com.
Fall Hot (Loose Leaf) Tea Class – First-Place Winners Include (Company, Winning Tea and Category):
—Teaja Organics (teaja.com), Jasmine Pearls Private Reserve – Jasmine Green (Pearl)
—Florapharm Tea USA (florapharmteausa.com), LP Assam GTGFOP1 Halmari (cl) – Assam
—Lumbini Tea Factory (Pvt) Ltd (lumbinitea.com), Lumbini Sinharaja Wiry Tips (FBOPF Extra Special) – Black Tea (Orthodox)
—Lumbini Tea Factory (PVT) LTD (lumbinitea.com), Lumbini Breakfast Tea (FBOPF) – Breakfast Blend
—Teaja Organics (teaja.com), Lemongrass Mint Oolong – Blended Oolong
—Tea Sip (teasip.com), Black Walnut Brownie – Blended Pu-erh/Dark
—Garden to Cup Organics (gardentocup.com), Ginseng Oolong Supreme – Ginseng Oolong
—CitizenTea (citizentea.com), Creamy Nut Oolong – Flavored Oolong
—Churchill’s Fine Teas (churchillsteas.com), Lemon Drops Black Tea – Flavored Black
—Teaja Organics (teaja.com), Tangerine Basil Pu’erh – Flavored Pu-erh/Dark
—Tea Sip (teasip.com), Masala Chai – Chai (Masala Chai)
Packaged Single-Service Tea First-Place Winners Include (Company, Winning Tea and Category):
—Shohokuenchaten Co., Ltd. (ujicha.com), Uji Gyokuro Tea Bag – Green Steamed (Bagged)
—Zealong Tea Estate (zealong.com) Zealong Oolong – Green Oolong (Bagged)
—Zealong Tea Estate (zealong.com) Zealong Black – Black (Single Origin) (Bagged)
—Numi Organic Tea (numitea.com), Turmeric Three Roots – Herbal Blended (Bagged)
Suzette Hammond, founder of Being Tea, an independent consultancy offering training and program development, and one of the Global Tea Championship evaluators, said, “We saw noticeable high points this year in the flavored and blended black tea categories, specifically with quality of ingredients and elegant restraint in flavoring. Some teas had simply beautiful ingredients, showing off the natural curl of citrus peel or bright, truly fresh-looking herbs for example. These were clearly done for a tea-forward concept and the skillful approach delivered in the cup.”
Scott Svihula, founder of Hula Consulting, an independent consultancy offering product development, sourcing and regulatory compliance, said, “I want to congratulate all those that won or scored above 60. You should be proud of your teas. For those that are considering entering future events, this is a great new platform to get peer review and validation of your teas. Though entries were significantly up from last year, there were many categories in both fall hot and single-serve that were underrepresented. I encourage everyone who sells tea to businesses or consumers to consider entering a couple of your top teas.”
GTC Evaluator Richard Enticott, owner of Meridian Trading Company, which supplies botanical ingredients to customers around the world, noted, “Being my first time as a judge, I was very impressed by the large number of entries across such a broad range of categories. It demonstrates clearly the enormous potential for continued expansion of the U.S. market for specialty teas.
Kelly Amoroso, tea buyer at Allegro Coffee Company, based in Thornton, Colo., and a GTC evaluator, explained, “Tea competitions are useful to the tea community and consumers as it creates a space for healthy competition amongst tea suppliers, as well as drives innovation and new blend ideas that keep our industry fresh. Thank you to the companies that submitted samples and for your creativity.”
The Global Tea Championship is made up of three classes: Hot Tea, Iced Tea and Packaged Single Service Tea. Each class consists of its own categories and evaluations panel. The Hot Tea Class is evaluated twice a year: September for spring teas and February for fall teas. The Iced Tea Class is evaluated once a year in May. The Packaged Single-Service Tea class is evaluated once a year in conjunction with the February Championship.
The next Global Tea Championship will be held May 2017 at the Wilbur Curtis corporate headquarters in Los Angeles, Calif., for an evaluation of iced teas.
To inquire about entering the competition, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.