North American Tea Championship Names Best Spring-harvest Teas

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teaFourteen high-quality teas took first-place awards in key categories during the North American Tea Championship (NATC) evaluation of spring-harvest 2014 hot teas. The competition was held in Las Vegas, Nevada at the headquarters of The Beverage Group, a division of F+W, organizer of NATC. Some of the winning companies will be featured at World Tea Expo at the Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center in Long Beach, California.

The North American Championship is the only independent competition — evaluated by professional cuppers — to distinguish the highest quality and best tasting teas that are commercially available in the North American marketplace.

“If we can all agree that elevating the quality of teas we — as retailers, packers, importers, etc. — present to consumers is a shared goal, then an event like the North American Tea Championship does an excellent job of turning the spotlight squarely on quality, on features that constitute high quality in many tea and botanical categories, rather than on just what may be trendy and marketable at the moment,” said Lydia Kung, an NATC evaluator, tea buyer and expert with Eastrise Trading Corp./VeriLeaf LLC in Monrovia, Calif.

Kung added: “Although we are months away from and excited about the 2015 World Tea Expo, it is good to remember that these award-winning teas are available now in the North American marketplace for viewing/tasting. However, they also provide tea companies an opportunity to evaluate their own teas against comparable ones that have earned high marks. We may not all use the same terms to describe teas, but nothing beats actually sipping a good tasting, high-quality tea and storing that in our palate memory.”

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.

NATC’s Spring Hot Tea Class evaluation first-place winners include the following (Company/Location/Website, Winning Tea Name and Category):

Aiya America, Torrance, Calif. (Aiya-America.com), Matcha Infused Genmaicha – Blended Green Tea

QTrade Teas & Herbs, Cerritos, Calif. (QTradeTeas.com), Ceylon Sapphire – Ceylon

Florapharm Tea USA LP, Hinesville, Ga. (FlorapharmTeaUSA.com), Organic Darjeeling Jungpana Wonder Muscatel, 2nd flush – Darjeeling

QTrade Teas & Herbs, Cerritos, Calif. (QTradeTeas.com), Dragonwell’s Gold – Dragonwell

QTrade Teas & Herbs, Cerritos, Calif. (QTradeTeas.com), Garcina Corvina – Flavored Fruit Blend

Dethlefsen & Balk Inc., Aurora, Ill. (Dethlefsen-Balk.us), Mango/Mirabelle – Flavored Green Tea

QTrade Teas & Herbs, Cerritos, Calif. (QTradeTeas.com), O.M.G (Orange Mango Ginger) – Flavored Herbal Blends

Waterfall Tea Company, Pico Rivera, Calif. (WaterfallTeas.com), Organic Orange Ginger White Tea – Flavored White Tea

Aiya America, Torrance, Calif. (Aiya-America.com), Premium Matcha – Matcha

AMOREPACIFIC OSULLOC, New York City, (AmorePacific.com), Illohyang – Pan-Fired Green Tea

International Tea Importers, Pico Rivera, Calif. (TeaVendor.com), Sencha Supreme (Arihara) – Sencha

Aiya America, Torrance, Calif. (Aiya-America.com), Premium Gyokuro – Steamed Green Tea

Florapharm Tea USA LP, Hinesville, Ga. (FlorapharmTeaUSA.com), Refreshment – Unflavored Herbal Blends

Dewdrop Tea, Naperville, Ill. (DewdropTea.com), White Peony by Fang Shoulong – White Tea

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Posted by Rachel Allan

08/12/14