Two Global Tea Championship competitions and their entry deadlines are right around the corner. The Iced Tea Commercial Competition will take place Aug. 16 in Montbello, California, and the Spring Hot (Loose Leaf) Competition will take place Sept. 29-30 in Boulder, Colorado. The Global Tea Championship is an independent tea competition open to teas that are commercially sold and tea purveyors from any country can enter. The Global Tea Championship is a great opportunity for tea companies, both new and established, to receive feedback from judges who have several years of experience in different facets of the tea industry. It also helps companies to obtain objective feedback of where their teas fall within the spectrums of aroma, color, mouthfeel and taste and how they stand up to competitor entrants. Lydia Kung, a Global Tea Championship judge and owner of VeriLeaf Fine Teas said, “Tasting several teas in one category always furnishes a rewarding overall view, but the evaluation is done by comparing each tea against benchmark standards that the judges have acquired from years of cupping and familiarity with processing methods, and not so much against other entries in the category.” She added, “By always focusing on the defining features of a category as set forth in the competition criteria, the process adheres to certain standards and maintains consistency rather than relying, in a more limited fashion, on the various teas that are entered from one session to the next.” The deadlines for the Iced Tea Commercial Competition are rapidly approaching. Early Bird Pricing which is $150 per entry and saves entrants $25 ends July 30. Regular Pricing, which is $175 per entry, begins July 31. Entry Forms are due Aug. 6, samples are due August 13. Teas can be entered here. Regular pricing begins July 31. The list of categories and category definitions are on the Global Tea Championship website. Winners will be notified Aug. 22. Four tea industry experts will judge the competition. John Culicott, president and COO of Walters Bay; Eliot Jordan, tea master at Mighty Leaf Tea; David DeCandia, senior manager of tea and master tea blender for the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf and Hannah Crum, president of Kombucha Brewers International. “I’m interested in seeing how this year’s iced tea entrants interpret the ‘classic’ iced teas, and not just teas that follow new food trends," Eliot Jordan said. "It will be interesting to see if quality of tea is improving in the competitive marketplace.” For the first time ever, kombucha will be judged in this competition across eight categories, six of which are exclusive to kombucha and two of which are probiotics categories. Crum, who will judge the kombucha categories in the competition, said, “We are excited that Kombucha is being included in the Global Tea Championships Ready to Drink category. As a fermented tea with ancient origins in China and Russia, it is natural that Kombucha would be included and is truly a global phenomenon.” She added, “Plus, as a craft brewed beverage, Kombucha ranges in styles and flavors - from tangy and full bodied with a hint of sweetness, to a filtered and refreshing ‘tea soda.’” Next up is the Spring Hot (Loose Leaf) Tea Competition, which will happen Sept. 29-30. Entry forms are due Sept. 18 and samples are due on Sept. 24. Categories and Category Definitions are listed on the Global Tea Championship website. Winners will be notified Oct. 4. Important dates along with Rules and Regulations can be found here. Tea experts Richard Enticott, owner of the Meridian Trading Company and Lydia Kung will judge this competition. Results of each competition will be published in World Tea News. Winners have the option of participating in the World Tea Expo’s Winners Tasting Circle at which expo attendees cast their votes for the People’s Tea Choice Awards.