LAS VEGAS, Nev.
The North American Tea Championship named 19 first-place winners in its annual Hot Tea Class / Fall Tea evaluation, which took place Feb. 22 – 23 in Las Vegas, Nev.
Rishi Tea led the group by winning a total of four first-place spots in the competition, and five first-time competitors came out on top in each of their categories. Tea companies that took a prestigious first-place title include: Ajiri Tea Company; Barnes & Watson Fine Teas; China Mist Brands; Globex America dba Cavallini Coffee & Tea; Naivetea; Qtrade Teas & Herbs; Rare Tea Cellar Inc.; The Republic of Tea; TeaGschwendner; Teas Etc.; Tao Tea Leaf; and Yogic Chai – all of which offer tea products in the North American marketplace.
The first-time competitors who bested the competition include: Ajiri Tea Company, Globex America dba Cavallini Coffee & Tea, Rare Tea Cellar Inc., Tao Tea Leaf; and Yogic Chai.
Overall, competitors showcased an assortment of premium fall teas in 19 different categories – from Assam to Yunnan – and the renowned judges evaluated nearly 200 teas. The Championship is the only independent and professionally-judged tea competition in North America. Each year, the competition identifies the highest quality and best tasting teas that are commercially available in the marketplace.
First place “Signature Famous Teas” winners include:
• Assam – TeaGschwendner, Assam SFTGFOP Marangi Second Flush
• Bai Hao/Oriental Beauty – Barnes & Watson Fine Teas, Bai Hao – Exquisite
• Breakfast Blend – The Republic of Tea, Lucky Irish Breakfast Full-Leaf Loose Tea
• Chai – Yogic Chai, Original Masala Chai
• Darjeeling – Rishi Tea, Organic Fair Trade Darjeeling Estate Select
• Earl Grey – Rishi Tea, Organic Fair Trade Earl Grey
• Jasmine – The Republic of Tea, Imperial Republic Jasmine Pearls
• Keemun – Tao Tea Leaf Ltd., Keemun Kong Fu
• Yunnan – Rishi Tea, Organic Fair Trade Golden Needle
First place “General Category Teas” winners include:
• Aged/Baked Oolong Tea – Naivetea, Dong Ding Oolong
• Black Tea – Qtrade Teas & Herbs, Winter Frost
• Black Tea CTC (crush, tear, curl) – Ajiri Tea Company, Ajiri Tea
• Blended Black Tea – China Mist Brands, Organic Berry Black
• Blended Oolong Tea – Teas Etc., Ginseng Oolong
• Dark Oolong Tea – Qtrade Teas & Herbs, Red Robe Oolong
• Flavored Oolong Tea – Globex America dba Cavallini Coffee & Tea, Plum, Mango Sake
• Flavored Rooibos Blends – Rare Tea Cellar Inc., Gingerbread Dream Rooibos
• Green Oolong Tea – Rishi Tea, Bao Zhong
• Flavored Black Tea – The Republic of Tea, Fair Trade Cranberry Blood Orange Full-Leaf Loose Tea
Kim Jage, executive vice president of World Tea Media, producers of the North American Tea Championship and World Tea Expo, said, “This North American Tea Championship was eye-opening as it allowed several first-time competitors, who are all offering high quality tea, the chance to be recognized. This event continues to confirm the significant number of premium loose-leaf teas from companies in North America.”
The 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 above. Winners were determined by rank.
A complete list of first, second and third-place winners of the North American Tea Champions is available at www.teachampionship.com.
Judges of the North American Tea Championship included:
• Eliot Jordan, Peet's Coffee & Tea
• Jane Pettigrew, internationally-renowned tea expert
• Mike Spillane, G.S. Haly Company
• David Walker, a prominent tea taster and tea expert
• Marty Kushner, past president of Southern Tea Company and the Tea Association of the USA and current co-chair of the Tea Association’s Tea and Health Committee
Cupping Coordinators included:
• Suzette Hammond, Peet's Coffee & Tea
• Aaron Vick, G.S. Haly Company