Darjeeling, Ceylon, Matcha, Sencha, White and Green Teas Are Among the
14 Different Categories with First-Place Wins
Fourteen high-quality teas took first-place awards in key categories during the North American Tea Championship’s (NATC) evaluation of spring-harvest 2015 hot teas. The competition, held July 30 – 31 in Las Vegas, Nev., was hosted by F+W, creator and organizer of the NATC, World Tea Expo and World Tea on the Road. Some of the winning companies will be featured at World Tea Expo (#WorldTeaExpo and #WTE16), June 15 – 17, 2016 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. See TeaChampionship.com and WorldTeaExpo.com.
The North American Championship (#NATC) is the only independent tea competition – evaluated by professional cuppers – to distinguish the highest quality and best tasting teas that are commercially available in the North American marketplace.
‘Diversity to Be Found in Teas’
“Hot teas in Las Vegas in July – as strange as this may sound, this recent North American Tea Championship evaluation of spring-harvest hot teas proved to be enjoyable and informative for the evaluators, and educational for the entrants as they receive feedback,” said Lydia Kung, an NATC evaluator, tea buyer and expert with Eastrise Trading Corp./VeriLeaf LLC in Rosemead, Calif.
“The number of categories in the competition reflects the diversity to be found in teas, which consumers can discover and enjoy,” said Kung. “And within each category, we continued to marvel at the range of teas submitted – evidence of the dynamic in newer trends and the wonderful myriad shapes, styles and flavors that teas can offer.”
David De Candia, one of the NATC evaluators and director of tea at The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, headquartered in Los Angeles, Calif., noted, “It’s clear to me that the creative side in blends has taken a life of its own. Unfortunately, this has resulted in blends not being very functional. For example, the evaluators saw large pieces of dried fruits and walnuts, which made judging very difficult. I would, however, like to congratulate the winners. It’s great to see that the passion for creating great teas is still alive.”
Blind and Organoleptic Analysis
During the competition, NATC evaluators reviewed every submission via blind and organoleptic analysis, including dry leaf, brewed flavor, brewed color, brewed aroma, 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, and winning teas were determined by rank.
On the evaluation process, Kung said, “The NATC evaluators are all direct importers, and with our different fields of specialization, our areas of expertise mesh well. Entries are not pre-edited, and after blind tastings and scoring, the comments that are shared with entrants show equitable calibration, with continuing attention to how the current tea category definitions can be updated and improved.”
NATC’s Spring Hot Tea Class evaluation first-place winners include the following (Company/Website, Winning Tea Name, Evaluation Category):
- Aiya America (Aiya-America.com), Matcha Infused Genmaicha – Blended Green
- Garden To Cup Organics (com), Madame Yen Yen – Blended White
- Garden To Cup Organics (com), Vithanakande Estate Private Reserve – Ceylon
- Florapharm Tea-USA L.P. (com), Darjeeling Castleton DJ 145 FTGFOP1, Second Flush – Darjeeling
- EASTSIGN INC. (com), Eastsign Dragonwell – Dragonwell
- Garden To Cup Organics (com), Maui Layover – Flavored Fruit Blend
- Florapharm Tea-USA L.P. (com), Eternal Life – Flavored Green
- Alcheme of Tea, LLC (com), Orange Appeal – Flavored Herbal Blend
- Garden To Cup Organics (com), Ceremonial Matcha – Matcha
- Osulloc (Amorepacific) (com), Sejac – Pan-Fired Green
- EASTSIGN INC. (com), Eastsign Pu’er Tea – Puer
- Aiya America (Aiya-America.com), Premium Sencha – Sencha
- Aiya America (Aiya-America.com), Premium Gyokuro – Steamed Green
- Glenburn Tea Direct (com), Glenburn Darjeeling Silver Needle – White
A complete list of first-, second- and third-place winners of the Spring Harvest North American Tea Championship is available at TeaChampionship.com. Note: There were two additional NATC spring hot tea categories where no first-place prizes were awarded – Flavored White and Unflavored Herbal. However, each of these categories had second and third place winners.
Honorees will be featured at the North American Tea Championship Winners Tasting Circle at World Tea Expo (WorldTeaExpo.com), June 15 – 17, 2016 at the Las Vegas Convention Center (#WTE16).
Next Up: NATC Packaged Single-Service Evaluation
The next North American Tea Championship will be held Nov. 12 – 13, 2015 for an evaluation of packaged single-service teas. New for 2015: This evaluation will allow K-Cup entries. Further entry and competition details are available at TeaChampionship.com. To inquire about entering the competition, e-mail [email protected].