23 Best Iced Teas – North American Tea Championship Declares Winners

ITO EN Leads the Pack with the Most First-Place 2015 ‘Iced Tea Class’ Wins; Iced Teas from All Winners Span Various Ready-to-Drink, Instant and Foodservice Categories

NATC 1The North American Tea Championship (NATC) – the only independent and professionally-judged tea competition in North America – named the 23 best, premium iced teas. The evaluation was held June 11 – 12 in Montebello, Calif. at the Wilbur Curtis headquarters, and all of the high-quality winning teas are commercially available in the marketplace. Visit teachampionship.com.

NATC 3Companies that took home an esteemed first-place award include: ITO EN (North America) INC. (which received the most first-place wins in the NATC 2015 Iced Tea Class evaluation – five first-place wins total and one second-place win), Aiya America, EASTSIGN INC., Farmer Brothers, Milo’s Tea Company, S&D Coffee & Tea, Shangri La Tea Co., Teas Etc. Inc., Templar Food Products, Tiki Tea / Lalajava and Walters Bay.

“ITO EN is honored to be awarded six awards at the North American Tea Championship 2015 in the Iced Tea Class,” said Rona Tison, senior vice president, corporate relations, ITO EN (North America) INC. “With the growing demand for healthier beverages and tea emerging on top, we are pleased to be able to offer a great tasting tea with purity in taste and flavor balance. To be recognized for the hard work of the tea farmers we work so closely with and our 50 years of tea expertise is truly rewarding.”

NATC 6David De Candia, one of the NATC evaluators and director of tea at The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, headquartered in Los Angeles, Calif., noted, “I judged the first North American Tea Championship iced tea evaluation many moons ago, and I felt that this year’s iced tea entrants showed marked improvements in all of the categories, in terms of attention to flavor balance and overall quality.” De Candia added: “The increase in the wholesale side was definitely encouraging, especially its improvement in flavor profiles. I look forward to next year’s iced tea evaluation and continued growth of quality iced tea submissions.”

Anthony Capobianco, an NATC evaluator and founder and CEO of Zen Tea Traders in Los Angeles, Calif., said, “It was an honor to be a judge at the 2015 NATC Iced Tea Class evaluation. The American palate is certainly changing, in my opinion. I personally noticed that there were a lot of unflavored tea entries as compared to flavored teas. I believe that this proves that Americans are beginning to appreciate the real pure flavor of tea itself. Hopefully, we will see the single origin iced tea category expand as Americans experience these high quality teas for the first time.”

NATC 5Reena Shah, one of the NATC evaluators and president of International Tea Importers, based in Commerce, Calif., said, “It was great to see so many iced tea competitors in the North American Tea Championship Iced Tea Class – congratulations to all of the tea companies who are delivering high quality and taste. And if you entered and did not win this year, remember: If at first you don’t succeed ‘chai chai’ again.”

All NATC tea submissions were evaluated blind and through organoleptic analysis of the following characteristics: dry leaf, brewed color, brewed aroma, brewed flavor, brewed mouth-feel and brewed harmony. An overall numerical value on a 100-point scale was then calculated based on the ratings of each characteristic. Winners were determined by rank.

A complete list of first, second and third-place winners of the North American Tea Championship is available at teachampionship.com.

North American Tea Championship first-place winners include:
(Company/Website, Name of the Winning Tea, Category)

  • ITO EN (North America) INC (itoen.com), TEAS’ TEA Black Organic, Ready-to-Drink – Unflavored/Unsweetened
  • ITO EN (North America) INC (itoen.com), TEAS’ TEA Peach Ginger Organic, Ready-to-Drink – Sweetened
  • Milo’s Tea Company (drinkmilos.com), Milo’s Famous Sweet Tea and Lemonade, Ready-to-Drink – Flavored
  • Templar Food Products (icedtea.com), Hibiscus Mint, Ready-to-Drink – Herbal Any
  • Farmer Brothers (farmerbros.com), Farmer Brothers Premium Pacific Raspberry, Foodservice – Black Flavored
  • Walters Bay (waltersbay.com), Walters Bay Mango Passion Fruit Iced Tea, Foodservice – Green Flavored
  • Farmer Brothers (farmerbros.com), Farmer Brothers Classic Black, Foodservice – Black – Unflavored/Unsweetened
  • Farmer Brothers (farmerbros.com), Farmer Brothers Select Black Tea Concentrate, Foodservice – BIB Black – Unflavored/Unsweetened
  • S&D Coffee & Tea (sdcoffeetea.com), Teafinity Low-Calorie Pomegranate Green, Foodservice – BIB Green – Flavored
  • Shangri La Tea Co. (shangrilaco.com), Organic Green, Foodservice – Green – Unflavored/Unsweetened
  • Farmer Brothers (farmerbros.com), Farmer Brothers Select Sweet Black Tea Concentrate, Foodservice –  Black – Flavored
  • S&D Coffee & Tea (sdcoffeetea.com), Teafinity Sweet Black, Foodservice – BIB Black – Sweetened
  • ITO EN (North America) INC (itoen.com), TEAS’ TEA Pomegranate Blueberry Organic, Ready-to-Drink – Green – Flavored
  • ITO EN (North America) INC (itoen.com), TEAS’ TEA Lemon Mint Organic, Ready-to-Drink – Green – Sweetened
  • EASTSIGN INC. (eastsignbio.com), Blueberry Black Tea, Instant Black – Flavored
  • Tiki Tea / Lalajava (lalajava.com), Tiki Tea / Lemon Key Lime, Instant Black – Sweetened
  • EASTSIGN INC. (eastsignbio.com), Lemon Ice Green Tea, Instant Green –Flavored
  • Tiki Tea / Lalajava (lalajava.com), Tiki Tea / Kiwi pear, Instant Green – Sweetened
  • ITO EN (North America) INC (itoen.com), MATCHA LOVE ORGANIC – Traditional, Ready-to-Drink Green – Unflavored/Unsweetened
  • Teas Etc. Inc. (teasetc.com), Root Beer, Foodservice – Herbal Any
  • EASTSIGN INC. (eastsignbio.com), Instant Black Tea Powder, Instant Black – Unflavored/Unsweetened
  • Aiya America (aiya-america.com), Matcha to Go, Instant Green – Unflavored/Unsweetened
  • EASTSIGN INC. (eastsignbio.com), Dried Tangerine Peel Dark Plum Fruit Tea, Instant – Herbal Any

Wilbur Curtis, a leading manufacturer of tea brewers and accessories, is the official equipment supplier and brewing host for the North American Tea Championship Iced Tea Class evaluation. Global Customized Water was the official water supplier.

Honorees will be featured at the North American Tea Championship Winners Tasting Circle at World Tea Expo (WorldTeaExpo.com), June 15 – 17, 2016 at the Las Vegas Convention Center (#WTE16).

Next Up: NATC Spring Tea Class Evaluation
The next North American Tea Championship will be held July 30-31, 2015 for an evaluation of Spring teas. Entries will be accepted through July 17th, further entry and competition details are available at TeaChampionship.com. To inquire about entering the competition, e-mail info@teachampionship.com.

Also of Note: To build your business and career through tea, register for World Tea on the Road in Boston, Oct. 10 -11, or Chicago, Nov. 7 – 8. Visit WorldTeaontheRoad.com to sign-up today.