SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Liz McMillan, Sean Houghton, Glenn Rossman, Ignacio M. Llorente, Xenia von Wedel

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'Grade A' Teas Rise to the Top During the North American Tea Championship's Hot Tea Evaluation

Garden to Cup Organics, a Newly Launched Tea Company, Leads the Championship

LAS VEGAS, March 7, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- The North American Tea Championship (NATC) – the only independent and professionally-judged tea competition in North America – 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. Visit www.teachampionship.com.

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."

De Candia added, "As usual, there was a good balance of judges at the Championship – all with varied tea specialties to rank the more than 130 tea submissions. And I expect that as the NATC gains even more attention, we'll see an even larger supply of tea entries in the upcoming competitions, as well as additional high-profile judges."

A complete list of first, second and third-place winners of the North American Tea Championship is available at www.teachampionship.com.

North American Tea Championship first-place winners include:
(Company, Website, Category, Name of the Winning Tea)

Honorees will be featured at the North American Tea Championship Winners Tasting Circle at World Tea Expo (www.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 [email protected].

About The Beverage Group, a division of F+W Media
The Beverage Group, a division of F+W Media, Inc., is an integrated media company dedicated to providing business solutions to the global beverage industry. Events include: Healthy Beverage Expo and World Tea Expo. The Beverage Group also produces the North American Tea Championship, World Tea Academy and World Tea News.

F+W Media is a community-focused, content creator and marketer of products and services for enthusiasts. The Company offers a diversified portfolio of books, ebooks, magazines, events, competitions, ecommerce, education, video and more. The Company serves 20 different markets, including writing, fine art, genealogy, antiques and collectibles, design, outdoors and horticulture. Its growing portfolio includes print and online properties, free and for-fee subscription sites, educational programs, competitions and events. See www.fwmedia.com.

SOURCE The Beverage Group, a division of F+W Media

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