Some of the Winning Categories Include Black Tea, Breakfast Blend, Chai, Darjeeling and Earl Grey, Among Others
The North American Tea Championship (NATC) – the only independent and professionally-judged tea competition in North America – named the 16 best, premium hot teas from the fall 2014 harvest. The evaluation was held Feb. 26-27 in Las Vegas, Nev., and all of the high-quality winning teas are commercially available in the marketplace. Visit www.teachampionship.com.
Companies that took home an esteemed first-place award include: The Tea Kings; Glenburn Tea Direct; Mountain Tea Company; Garden to Cup Organics; Nepali Tea Traders; Chico Chai; Florapharm Tea-USA LP; and La Crème Coffee & Tea.
“What makes the North American Tea Championship so helpful in defining benchmark teas is that there is not only comparison but also context, with the combined palate memories, tea experience and tea knowledge – of origins, varietals, processing methods – of several evaluators, tasting together,” said Lydia Kung, an NATC evaluator, tea buyer and expert with Eastrise Trading Corp./VeriLeaf LLC in Monrovia, Calif.
Kung added, “Lessons from two categories stood out: 1) The continuing popularity of Flavored Black teas was reflected by the large number of entries. Many were visually appealing, but there was a consensus that these teas must also show a good balance of tea along with flavor added to enhance the tea. 2) Oolong teas remain an underappreciated, underused category. This is a tricky category and for good reason: The teas are complex in the making and in the tasting. A small number of incorrect submissions indicates that the very processing methods that produce such a wonderfully wide range of flavors in Oolong teas need wider dissemination and understanding.”
North American Tea Championship first-place winners include:
(Company/Website, Name of the Winning Tea, Category)
- The Tea Kings (theteakings.com) Traditional Coal Fired Tieguanyin Wulong, Aged/Baked Oolong
- Glenburn Tea Direct (GlenburnTeaDirect.com), Khongea Assam Goldent Tips GFBOP, Assam
- Mountain Tea Company (mountaintea.com), Oriental Beauty Limited Edition, Bai Hao/Oriental Beauty
- Garden to Cup Organics (gardentocup.com), Quatrain Breakfast Blend, Breakfast Blend
- Garden to Cup Organics (gardentocup.com), Black Rose Garden, Blended Black Tea with Other Botanicals
- Nepali Tea Traders (NepaliTeaTraders.com), Himalayan Golden, Black Tea
- Chico Chai (chicochaitea.com), Original Chico Chai, Chai
- Glenburn Tea Direct (GlenburnTeaDirect.com), Khongea Assam CTC, Black Tea-CTC
- Florapharm Tea-USA LP (florapharmteausa.com), Organic Junpana Wonder Muscatel, Darjeeling
- Garden to Cup Organics (gardentocup.com), Wenshan Baozhong, Dark Oolong Tea
- Garden to Cup Organics (gardentocup.com), Majestic Earl Grey, Earl Grey
- Florapharm Tea-USA LP (florapharmteausa.com), Spring Fragrance, Flavored Black Tea
- La Crème Coffee & Tea (lacremecoffeeandtea.com), Peach Oolong Tea, Flavored Oolong Tea
- Florapharm Tea-USA LP (florapharmteausa.com), Desert Blossom, Flavored Rooibos Tea
- Garden to Cup Organics (gardentocup.com), Moonlight Jasmine, Green Jasmine Open Leaf
- Garden to Cup Organics (gardentocup.com), Orchid Oolong, Green Oolong Tea
A complete list of first, second and third-place winners of the North American Tea Championship is available at teachampionship.com.
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.
Honorees will be featured at the North American Tea Championship Winners Tasting Circle at World Tea Expo (WorldTeaExpo.com), May 6 – 8, 2015 at the Long Beach Convention Center, Long Beach, Calif.
The next North American Tea Championship will be held in June 2015 for an evaluation of iced teas. To inquire about entering the competition, e-mail [email protected] For more on the North American Tea Championship, see teachampionship.com.