The North American Tea Championship (NATC) has named the 22 best, premium hot teas from the fall 2013 harvest. The evaluation was held Feb. 20-21 in Las Vegas, Nev., and all of the high-quality winning teas are commercially available in the marketplace.
Companies that took home an esteemed first-place award include: Black Tusk Trading; Florapharm Tea; Garden to Cup Organics Ltd.; International Tea Importers, Mountain Tea; Naivetea; Octavia Tea; QTrade Teas & Herbs; Sipping Streams Tea Company; TeaSource, LLC; Tea Xotics, LLC; and Walters Bay.
Garden to Cup Organics led the championship with the most wins, including four first-place honors, four second place wins and a third place recognition. This new player in the market, driven by seasoned tea experts, is a wholesale supplier of ethically sourced, loose-leaf organic teas based out of Vancouver, British Columbia. The company’s teas are carefully selected, directly from organic tea gardens across the world, and hand-blended in micro-batches to produce the highest quality products. Garden to Cup Organics offers wholesale, custom blending, private and white label opportunities.
“The North American Tea Championship is an excellent platform to showcase quality teas, and we’re thrilled to have received the most wins in this recent evaluation,” said Raj Teja, one of the principals of Garden to Cup Organics. “And the best part of this competition is that it’s independent and judged by professional members of the tea community with stringent standards. For us, the timing of these wins perfectly coincides with the expansion of our distribution across North America.”
NATC Cupping Coordinator Mo Sardella, of The G.S. Haly Company in Redwood City, Calif., noted, “For this competition, there was a noticeable increase in quality and uniqueness within the blended and flavored tea and herbal categories. The flavored and blended products, which are experiencing steady growth within the specialty tea industry, have quickly become the most popular categories at the NATC. Within these categories, the judges noticed a significant increase in custom blends that include good quality specialty teas and herbs, as well as premium ingredients regarding flavoring, decorations and other botanicals. This is a noticeable increase from previous NATC events, in which most blended and flavored products were of varied quality, with less refinement and overall harmony in the finished product.”
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.
“Congratulations to all of the teas that stood out and took first place prizes,” said David De Candia, one of the NATC evaluators and tea buyer at The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, headquartered in Los Angeles, Calif. “The North American Tea Championship continues to gain exposure in the marketplace, attracting some of the finest teas for review. Certainly, winners of this competition are experiencing the benefits of being an NATC-winner, such as heightened recognition for quality and taste, additional buyer interest and increased sales.”
A complete list of first, second and third-place winners of the North American Tea Championship is available at teachampionship.com.
North American Tea Championship first-place winners include:
Black Tusk Trading, Blended Oolong Tea, Osmanthus Blossoms
Black Tusk Trading, Traditional Ti Kuan Yin, Ti Kuan Yin Private Reserve
Florapharm Tea, Darjeeling, Organic Darjeeling Jungpana
Florapharm Tea, Earl Grey Tea, Manhattan Natural
Garden to Cup Organics Ltd., Blended Black Tea, Black Rose Garden
Garden to Cup Organics Ltd., Flavored Black Tea, Lychee Black Tea
Garden to Cup Organics Ltd., Jade Ti Kuan Yin, Nanyan Tiequanyin
Garden to Cup Organics Ltd., Yunnan, Yunnan Golden Tip
International Tea Importers, Assam, Mangalam Assam
International Tea Importers, Keemun, Keemun Hao Y
Mountain Tea, Bai Hao/Oriental Beauty, Oriental Beauty
Mountain Tea, Green Oolong Tea, LiShan
Naivetea, Flavored Oolong Tea, Passion Fruit Oolong
Naivetea, Green Jasmine Open Leaf, Jasmin Bao Zhong
Octavia Tea, Dark Oolong Tea, Phoenix Mountain Dancon
QTrade Teas & Herbs, Chai, Sweet Chai
QTrade Teas & Herbs, Green Jasmine Pearl, Jasmine Pearls
Sipping Streams Tea Company, Aged/Baked Oolong Tea, 1999 Muzha Formosa
TeaSource, LLC, Breakfast Blend, Ceylon Lumbini Est. Burning Sun FBOPF
TeaSource, LLC, Black Tea, Jin Jun Mei
Tea Xotics, LLC, Flavored Rooibos Blends, Santa’s Cup
Walters Bay, Black Tea CTC, Walters Bay English Breakfast
Honorees will be featured at the North American Tea Championship Winners Tasting Circle at World Tea Expo (WorldTeaExpo.com), May 29 – 31, 2014 at the Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center, Long Beach, Calif.
The next North American Tea Championship will be held in April 2014 for an evaluation of iced teas. Entries will be accepted in early April. To inquire about entering the competition, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.