New York tea companies score big at NA Tea Championship

Three New York tea companies – Royal Tea New York, Big T NYC and SerendipiTea – won accolades in the North American Tea Championship’s (NATC) 2016 Spring Harvest Hot Tea Class evaluation, held recently in Las Vegas, Nev. The North American Tea Championship is the only independent tea competition – evaluated by professional cuppers – to distinguish the highest quality and best tasting teas that are commercially available in the North American marketplace.

During the competition, NATC evaluators reviewed every submission via blind sensory analysis, which included the dry leaf appearance, the brewed tea’s color, aroma, flavor, mouth feel and overall harmony. A numerical value on a 100‐point scale was then calculated based on the ratings of each characteristic, and winning teas were determined by rank. A complete list of first, second and third-place winners is available at TeaChampionship.com.

One of the more specific tea categories judged at the NATC was the ‘Pan Fired Green Tea’ selection. Almost entirely dominated for the past two years by the South Korean-based Amorepacific Osulloc Tea Company, Royal Tea New York broke their win streak by scoring second place with their Zhu Cha Green Tea from Guizhou Province, China, in Royal’s first run at the NATC.

An affiliate branch of Royal Coffee New York, Royal Tea New York was founded in January 2016 on the premise of providing a variety of high quality teas for wholesale purchase. “We feel honored to be able to source quality teas from farmers throughout the world. The tea itself is a testament to their skill than anything else,” said Royal’s director of tea operations, Ravi Kroesen. Having established strong connections with tea estates, the taster-importer showcases organic-, Rainforest Alliance- and Fair Trade-certified teas, as well as conventional teas sourced directly from foreign suppliers.

Another company that won at the NATC was Big T NYC, winning first place in ‘Flavored Fruit Blends’ with their new tea, “Pixie Pink Punch.” Pixie Pink Punch is a caffeine-free, tropical fruit-infused medley that will be available to the public in December 2016, as part of a new collection launch by Big T NYC. Big T NYC is a wellness-driven organic tea company on a mission to enhance people’s lives with great-tasting, health-promoting teas and tisanes. Named one of Entrepreneur Magazine’s 15 Female Entrepreneurs to Watch in 2015, founder Theresa Krier was inspired to create Big T NYC after noticing a lack of healthy options available backstage at New York Fashion Week. The brand has since become a staple backstage, and has garnered the attention of extensive national press such as Yahoo!, Huffpost Style, PopSugar, Well+Good, Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, and New Beauty Magazine.

Perhaps the most consistent New York-based winner at the NATC, SerendipiTea won first place in the ‘Flavored Herbal Blends’ category with their tea entry, “Harmony” (a blend of apple, hibiscus, honeybush, mango, and rose hips) and third place in the ‘Flavored Fruit Blends’ category with ‘Berry Blueberry’. A seasoned tea importer, SerendipiTea was established in 1995 with a commitment to “environmentally & socially responsible practices”. SerendipiTea runs both wholesale and retail operations, sourcing teas from around the world and selling them at their Manhasset boutique.

The NATC’s evaluation of spring-harvest 2016 hot teas was held 15-16 September in Las Vegas, Nevada. The event was hosted by Penton, organizer of the NATC and World Tea Expo.

Some of the winning companies will be featured at World Tea Expo, which takes place 13-15 June 2017 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

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