We have 6 finalists in the World Tea Competition at the World Tea Expo!
We entered 10 tea & herbal house blends into the first ever World Tea Competition in the end of March. With the late harvests in China I really stepped out of my comfort zone, my first submission choices would have been the more purist, specialty teas like Dragon Well, Bai Hao Yinzhen, Qi Lan etc which I am completely confident that we are offering superior quality and some of the finest in the US.
I always say "for every problem there is a solution" so I sat down with the Teas Etc team prior to flying out to China to discuss what would be good alternatives.
The following blends we selected ended up in the finals in the categories indicated;
Black Blended & Flavored Category
Organic Mint Fusion
Green Blended & Flavored Category
Organic Lemon Ginger, this tea blend (no flavor)has been one of our most popular for a few years both commercially and for retail customers.
Herbal - Chamomile
Organic Cold Comfort Herbal
Organic Chamomile Lavender Herbal
Oolong Blended & Flavored
As you can see our organic selections did well. The only submission that is not a house blend is the Ginseng oolong and all but the Citrus Berry are blended with no flavoring, something that we as a company, and I personally, am more fond of.
The 4 entries that did not make the finals received honorable mention as well as high ratings, in the categories indicated;
White Blended & Flavored both of these were awarded a rating of 80 or higher!
Organic White Rose
Rosy Earl Grey we took a real chance with this entry and were fully aware of that prior to the competition. This house blend includes jasmine green tea which is a real twist on a black earl grey!
Rooibos Blended & Flavored
The most interesting part of this process for me is that unfamilar feeling of stepping out of my comfort zone, something I don't do to often. When forced to do so, with the late harvests in China and not wanting to enter 2007 teas, it opened a whole new arena for Teas Etc with our delicious house blends that don't always get the same "air" time from me. Just goes to show you I really don't know everything.
The World Tea Competition (WTC) and World Tea Ratings (WTR) are going to change the face of the US Tea Industry. It is a good thing, in my opinion, for the industry and especially for consumers. WTR is a buyers guide, similar to the wine rating guide, listing all finalists, 5 in each of the 25 categories. All WTE attendees, the show is in Las Vegas May 30th, 31st and June 1st, will receive a copy of the WTR Buyers guide.
Another thing I found curious, of all of the tea companies in the US only 30 entered teas into WTC. You would think that this is the perfect venue to showcase and promote what they do well? Maing me wonder why?
Any time innovative change is occurring it tends to make people uncomfortable, good, bad or indifferent. There is no doubt that educating consumers on quality and guiding them to terrific teas and companies that consistently provide buyers with fine choices can only be a positive thing.
Hats off to Kim Jage and the Wordl Tea Expo staff for working so hard to make this critical competition happen!! The World Tea Competition is here to stay! YEAH!!!!!
In addition we have 2 entries in the Iced Tea Shake Off which is being held at the World Tea Expo. We have a black tea and rooibos entry and some interesting preparation techniques that should be delicious and fun!
Look for my post on the Shanghai Tea Expo. With pictures!
Until next time, Beth