On June 1, 2011, the North American Tea Championship announced the winners of their 2011 Iced Tea Class. A total of fourteen teas achieved first place ranking in either the Ready-to-Drink (RTD) or Food Service group. The competition was held May 24 in Montebello, California. This year 43 tea companies submitted over 130 premium iced teas for judging. This is nearly twice as many teas aswere submitted to the 2010 North AmericanTea Championship– Iced Tea Class.
According to Kim Jage, executive vice president of World Tea Media which produces the North American Tea Championship, “The competition was fierce. Across the board, the quality of these specialty iced teas was much more refined than years past.”–World Tea Media press release
For those who follow what has been happening in the tea industry for the past several years, this is not really surprising. America’s demand for the higher quality specialty teas has grown. Iced tea in no exception. In fact, the US drinks most of its tea consumption in iced tea form.
Winners in the RTD categories included the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group in the Ready-to-Drink-Flavored Green Tea category; ITO EN, LTD, for TEA’S TEA Low Calorie-Mango Oolong in the Ready-to-Drink-Flavored Oolong Tea; Numi Organic Tea, Earl Grey Pu-er Tea in the Ready-to-Drink-Flavored Black tea category, as well as several others.
In the Foodservice group, QTrade took first place in both the Unflavored Green Tea and Unflavored Black Tea categories. Walters Bay Bogawantalawa Estates took first place in the Foodservice-Flavored Green Tea category for their Tropical Green Iced Tea and Teas Etc. won first place in the Foodservice-Flavored Black Tea category with Meyer Lemon Black.
All first place winners as well as second and third place can be found at www.teachampionship.com.
Expert judges at of the North America Tea Championship Iced Tea Class included Michael Cardenas, owner of Innovative Dining Group; David De Candia, senior manager and tea master/tea blender from The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, and Patrick Main, quality manager of Peet’s Coffee and Tea.
The event was hosted by Wilbur Curtis. Curtis is a leading manufacturer of tea accessories and tea brewers. Curtis supplied the equipment for the North American Tea Championship. Cirqua Customized Water supplied the water.
The following quote from the World Tea Media press release describes the judging criteria for the Iced Tea Class as well as the Spring and Fall Hot Tea Classes of the North American Tea Championship.
“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.”
The 2011 World Tea Expo, June 24-26 in Las Vegas, will hold a Winner’s Tasting Circle for all attendees.
The next North American Tea Championship is the spring-harvested Hot Tea Class. It will be held in July in Las Vegas.