Kelly Amoroso is the tea buyer at Allegro Coffee Company and brings more than 23 years of tea industry experience to the Global Tea Championship. World Tea News asked her more about her background and her judging criteria.
What sparked your interest in tea?
I come from the coffee world and was inspired to know that another beverage in the world brings just as much joy to consumers, yet offers benefits and income to the rural communities in distant lands that produce it.
How did you learn about tea?
When we were younger, my sister always drank it and I would enjoy a cup with her.
What kind of tea research have you done and what are some of your findings?
Nothing scientific based, but I love the fact that in tea there is usually a flavor or type of tea for everyone out there, even coffee drinkers.
What are your criteria for judging hot tea?
We use the STI form and process when evaluating our teas here at Allegro. The tea should have pleasant aromatics, be flavorful, with some sweetness on the finish; not astringent, no rough finish. The liquor should be clear, not muddled.
What are you criteria for judging iced tea?
No muddled liquor color, vibrant color. Flavorful, brisk.
What are your criteria for serving packaged single-served tea?
Brew should be clear, not muddled, pleasant aromatics, flavorful, not astringent, maintain bag integrity throughout brew.
Is there a common thread among the teas that have won in the past?
For how many years have you been judging this competition?
This will be my first.
Do you judge any other tea competitions?
I have not judged other tea competitions, but I have judged in coffee competitions.
What do you hope to see in the competition this year?
It’s always nice to see different origins trying something new and different from their usual tea offerings, and doing it well.
What is this competition’s impact on the tea industry?
It seems to promote and create healthy competition among a growing industry. The industry as a whole benefits.
What do you hope competitors and those who follow the competition will take away from it?
Validation and congratulations to the competitors for all their hard work and what they are doing in their quality selection, process and drying processes to produce an exceptional cup of tea. And keep up the good work.
What kinds of teas do you usually drink, and why?
I drink all types of tea, depends on my mood. My go-to’s are oolongs, herbals, greens.
What is the best time to drink tea?
Anytime, and especially whenever you feel like you need some comfort and warmth.
What is your favorite tea memory?
The first time I tried a milk oolong. I could not believe that tea could have such satisfying, delicate, floral and rich flavors all at the same time.
What is in your cup today?
I have the sniffles, so I’m drinking an echinacea-based tea.