The Global Tea Championship’s Spring Hot Tea Competition will take place September 16-17, 2017 in Boulder, Colorado. Here are some notable aspects of this year’s competition.
Any company from around the world that sells tea commercially is eligible to enter the competition.
This is the first year the competition will take place at the Informa Corporation’s Boulder, Colorado office. Previously, it took place in hotel conference rooms.
Scott Svihula, who will be one of the judges in the competition, noted that certain categories have been added or expanded upon this year. United States and African tea categories have been added; and the herbal and Ceylon categories have been expanded upon.
Rob McCaleb brings his expertise in botany and herbs as a first-time judge in this competition. Lydia Kung who has participated as a judge in the past, but did not judge last year, is returning this year and bringing her proficiency in the tea industry.
With regard to the judging process itself – in the past, the judges awarded First, Second and Third Places. These have been changed to Gold, Silver and Bronze with each award corresponding to a score. “It is much harder to achieve First Place and those that took second or third are still above average teas and should be considered winners. People don’t want to advertise Second Place so we changed, similar to other beverage industries, to medals,” said Svihula.
There has been some skepticism that has been expressed with regard to whether the judges are unbiased. The concern pertains to the instances in which judges have worked with an entrant previously and may possess bias either for or against a certain company. In order to eliminate bias, mathematicians at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas came up with a process, which statistically takes bias out of the equation and creates a “z” score or standard score. If a judge exhibits bias, that judge’s scores are thrown out for that category. “It’s not possible to get someone to skew the data,” said Svihula. Additional Rules and Regulations can be found here.
The 2017 Buyers Guide will also be available by digital download in January of 2018.
The 2018 competition schedule has just been released. 2018 will also be the launch of a brand new category called – Small Batched Iced Tea. According to Svihula, “Many tea companies have wanted to enter their teas into the iced tea category, but did not meet the commercial packaging qualification.” The new Small Batched Iced Tea competition will allow many new companies to enter their retail/home brew iced teas, loose leaf teas and/or single cup iced teas. More details will become available starting in October.
- Single Serve Hot Tea & Small Batched Iced Tea – January 20-21
- Fall Harvest Loose Hot Tea – March 24-25
- Iced Tea (RTD, BIB, Commercial Fresh Brewed) – May 3-4
- Spring harvest Loose Hot Tea – September 29-30