Tea Competition Organizers Welcome Packaged Single-Service Class

LAS VEGAS, Nev.

Single-portion packaging is evolving and no longer viewed as impediment to a good cup of tea, according to organizers of the North American Tea Competition.

Entry to a new tea class, packaged single-service tea, opens this week in The North American Tea Championship.  Held November 13th and 14th 2012, the Packaged Single-Service Tea Championship is designed to determine the best “bagged” teas available in North America. Kim Jage, Sales & Marketing Director of World Tea Media and founder of the NATC, said she once harbored that common misconception that tea bags signal inferior tea.

“I once erroneously believed that if tea came in a teabag, it was low quality. I know now that tea can be low quality even if it’s loose, and I have tasted superior teas that came in a bag,” she said. “This competition showcases packaged tea in its own right without having to unfairly compete against loose leaf tea.”

There are so many variations of a tea “bag” and styles of packaging that “we’re calling this element of the Hot Tea Class “Packaged Single-Service,” Jage said. Instant hot teas may also fit into this competition. 

The many stark differences between packaged tea and loose leaf tea present challenges in a single competition with both types of tea as competitors. Having separate competitions grants the best of both types of tea the opportunity to be judged on its own inherent characteristics.

“It is very difficult to evaluate a loose leaf tea compared to a packaged single-service tea,” Jage said. The methodology for determining winners of the original competition was designed for loose leaf tea, she explained. Bagged entries were cut open and the contents were extracted to evaluate the tea as if it were loose.

Materials in which a tea is packaged can affect taste in the cup. “The major challenge in evaluating those teas properly was the fact that judges could be tasting a different cup than a consumer would if she bought that same tea,” said Jage.

“When we cut out the material, we potentially missed a very important taste element of the tea. Thus, we decided it was time to create a category for packaged single–service teas. The demand was obviously there, now we’re filling it. And we’re filling it fairly. That’s why we added the category, or class as we call it,” said Jage.

Above all, the evaluators are looking for a quality cup, design is irrelevant, she said. 

“Our objective is to award the highest quality and best tasting teas, not packaging or business practices,” said Jage.

Teas in this class are evaluated by pack size. If the tea is sold in 50-100 ct. packs, for example, that submission will be evaluated against similar pack sized teas. Jage explained that if a tea is packaged in a box under a 25 ct., which includes most specialty teas, they will be evaluated against one another. This helps ensure a Lipton is not judged against a Rishi tea. Instead, Lipton products will be compared to like-produced products and Rishi the same.

Teas are brewed using one single-serve pack (teabag, sachet, portion pack, etc.)  steeped in an 8oz. serving cup.

The water temperature and steep time for each category is listed in the Brew Plan chart below.

To enter the competition, download and read the official Rules and Regulations. Then, enter the competition here

Category

Type

Temp

Steep Min.

Black Tea – Single Origin

Black

Boil

5

Blended Black Tea (unflavored)

Black

Boil

5

Blended Black Tea (flavored)

Black

Boil

5

Panfired Green Tea

Green

180 F

4

Steamed Green Tea

Green

175 F

3

Jasmine Scented Green Tea

Green

190 F

4

Green Tea Blended/Flavored

Any

180 F

3.5

Oolong Tea

Oolong

Boil

4

Oolong Tea Blended/Flavored

Any

Boil

4

Pu-erh Tea

Pu-erh

Boil

5

Pu-erh Tea Blended/Flavored

Any

Boil

5

White Tea

White

195 F

5

White Tea Blended/Flavored

Any

195 F

5

Herbal

Single Ingredient

Boil

5

Herbal Blended/Flavored

Any

Boil

5

 

 

COMMENT