Meet the Global Tea Championship Judges for the Spring Hot (Loose Leaf) Competition 2019

The Global Tea Championship’s Spring Hot (Loose Leaf) Competition will take place in Boulder, Colorado, Sept. 28-29. Dozens of commercially-sold teas will be tasted and evaluated by three judges: Lydia Kung, Danielle Hochstetter and Jhanne Jasmine. Community Content & Conference Manager Faith Bailes explains why she chose these tea experts.

“I’m so excited about this because we’ve never had anall-female panel of judges before,” Bailes said. She did not set out to createan all-female judging panel but was pleasantly surprised when choosing judgesbased on their qualifications resulted in three women for the first time ever.She chose to bring new judges into the competition to have differentbackgrounds and perspectives.

Kung, a long time GTC judge, has always been the expert onChinese tea and is familiar with the nuances of the teas in all of the categoriesbeing judged, said Bailes.

Hochstetter studied tea in China in Zhejiang University’s Tea Science department. “Her education is impeccable,” said Bailes. Hochstetter has worked for Mighty Leaf Tea and is on the board of the American Specialty Tea Alliance.

Jasmine, who has 20 years of tea industry experience, is currentlyStash Tea Company’s primary Research & Development Specialist and wasformerly a tea house proprietor. “She’s got the experience behind her that willmake her a terrific judge, too,” said Bailes.

She added that when choosing judges she looks for experience and versatility, “They have to be able to go from one category to another at a certain pace.” Efficiency and thoroughness are both essential.

Learn more about the judges below.

Lydia Kung

Lydia Kung owns VeriLeaf Fine Teas and enjoys being a tea advocate. As a tea importer, she samples teas on a daily basis. She has a passion for tea's traditions and surprises. Tea can still astonish and reveal new characteristics and this is what makes tea special to Lydia. She enjoys tasting new teas and sharing her feedback. Read more here.




Danielle Hochstetter

Danielle Hochstetter learned about tea in China at Zhejiang University and ran a tea tourism business. After returning to the United States, she worked at Mighty Leaf Tea and Teforia where she was the Director of Tea. Read more here.





Jhanne Jasmine

Jhanne Jasmine has more than 20 years of tea industry experience. In 1999, she co-founded the TeaZone tea house in Portland, Oregon; and in 2006, she founded the Camellia Lounge, a tea cocktail lounge, which she sold in 2014. Read more here.