Portland, Maine-based Finest Kind Tea has been named a finalist in the Next Big Food Thing contest. The contest is sponsored by crowdfunder RocketHub and food supplier FreshDirect. The winner of the contest will receive $10,000 and a partnership with FoodDirect which supplies metro New York and Philadelphia.
Entries into the Next Big Food Thing contest were required to be food products, a new kitchen item, a food-related business concept or community project, or a farm or garden innovation.
Launched in June 2013 and originally named Maine Original Tea, Finest Kind makes tea concentrates using only sustainable, natural ingredients. Founder Jay Lombard developed the concentrate when he was looking for a flavoring for seltzer that was healthy and had great taste. Finest Kind Tea concentrates can be mixed with hot water, cold water, seltzer, or spirits to make a range of beverages. There are currently two flavors available. Half & Half is a black tea and lemonade blend and there is a wild Maine blueberry white tea.
Finest Kind Tea will be facing off against 14 other entries including tricked out waffle cones, chia chip cookies, bite-sized popsicles, and mobile gardens that can serve as teaching tools. Judging the entries will be: David McInerney, co-founder of FreshDirect; Geoff Bartakovics, CEO of Tasting Table; Natasha Case, CEO of Coolhaus; Sarah Copeland, food director of Real Simple; and John Craven, the founder of BevNet. If Finest Kind wins, they intend to create a new organic, non-GMO, ethically-sourced concentrate.