International tea professionals gathered at Asia House in central London on Oct. 26 to celebrate the winners of this year’s International Tea Academy Awards, The Leafies, in partnership with Fortnum & Mason.
A total of 320 teas were entered from around the world in nearly 50 categories – all distinguished by tea type, region and processing.
All teas were judged earlier this month at Fortnum & Mason’s new state of the art Food & Drink Studio at its flagship Piccadilly store.
A total of 36 “Highly Commended” and 13 Gold awards were presented by The Leafies’ judges, which include preeminent tea leaders from brands such as Fortnum & Mason, The Ritz London, Postcard Teas, Twinings, Lipton and more.
A selection of Special Awards were also presented to individuals, estates or institutions that were making positive change within the industry, in areas such as education, community empowerment, innovation and environmental stewardship.
The Leafies also named the winner of the Fortnum & Mason Best in Show award, and therefore the highest scoring tea of the entire competition: Yame Tea Kumaen’s Gyokuro Saemidori, an exquisite steamed green tea produced by a tiny tea garden in a remote mountainous region in Fukuoka, Japan. Guests at the ceremony were able to sample this tea, brewed by Kazumi Nakatani, who travelled from Japan, amongst 25 of the award-winning teas that were made available to taste.
Zealong Tea Estate, another notable winner of the afternoon, scooped three awards in total for its Aged Oolong, Aromatic Oolong and the UKTA Lifetime Achievement Award, recognizing Zealong’s phenomenal efforts of pioneering a tea culture in New Zealand and demonstrating a tireless commitment to environmental regeneration through its sustainable farming practice. Zealong CEO Gigi Crawford and International Marketing Manager Sen Kong were present at the ceremony to serve their teas, and they said the award acknowledges 25 years of hard work.
The Leafies aims to connect primary tea producers with buyers and hospitality professionals and offer exposure to a global tea-focused market. A selection of winners will once again be selected for sale across Fortnum & Mason’s Rare Tea Counter, where six winning teas from last year are still currently being sold.
Ottilie Cunningham, tea buyer for Fortnum & Mason, said: “An enormous thank you and huge congratulations to everyone for another successful year of The Leafies. The organization that goes into the entire thing is immense and it is really exciting to see how much it has grown since last year’s launch.”
New for this year were categories for retailers who are selling tea online or in store and connecting tea drinkers with carefully selected high-quality teas. Triple award-winning Japanese tea shop Chaki Co was started by three former tea producers in March this year. Dorothy’s Teas, a former UK Tea Academy student and retailer based in Cumbria, U.K., won Gold in the BRITA sponsored White Tea category for her Shannon Estate Silver Needles White Tea.
THE WINNERS ARE...
- Long He Tea Company, The King of White Peony (Highly Commended Winner)
WHITE OTHER REGION:
- Suzuki Seicha, White Tea (Highly Commended Winner)
GREEN STEAMED JAPAN:
- Atelier Sueyoshi Seicha, Furusatonohana Saemidori (Highly Commended Winner)
- Maikonhocha Honpo, High Grade JAS Certiﬁed Organic Handpicked Sencha Loose Leaf Tea (Highly Commended Winner)
- YAME tea Kumaen, Gyokuro Saemidori (Gold Winner)
- Suzuki Seicha, Premium Roasted Green Tea (Highly Commended Winner)
GREEN STEAMED NEW REGION:
- Camelia Unipessoal Lda, Kintsugi Cha (Highly Commended Winner)
GREEN PANNED/ROASTED JAPAN:
- Ocha-no-Kajihara, Koshun Kamairicha Spring 2023 (Gold Winner)
GREEN PANNED ROASTED CHINA:
- Guang Cheng Xian Gu Tea Company, Guang Cheng Xian Gu (Highly Commended Winner)
- Xiang Yang High Fragrant Tea, Green Tea (Highly Commended Winner)
GREEN PANNED/ROASTED OTHER REGION:
- Toba Wangi Indonesia, Redolent Green Tea (Highly Commended Winner)
OOLONG CHINA LIGHTLY OXIDIZED:
- Jantle Group, Feng Huang Shui Xian (Highly Commended Winner)
- Jantle Group, Ya Shi Xlang (Gold Winner)
OOLONG FORMOSA HEAVILY OXIDIZED:
- Zen Zen The, Red Oolong Tea (Gold Winner)
OOLONG FORMOSA LIGHTLY OXIDIZED:
- CHENGPION Tea House, Creamy Jinxuan Oolong Tea (Highly Commended Winner)
- Wang Family Tea Lóngfèng Xiá Oolong (Highly Commended Winner)
OOLONG OTHER REGIONS LIGHTLY OXIDIZED:
- AMBA, AMBA Uva Oolong (Highly Commended Winner)
- PT Harendong Green Farm, Organic Sukui Oolong Rolled (Highly Commended Winner)
OOLONG OTHER REGIONS HEAVILY OXIDIZED:
- Zealong, Aromatic Oolong (Gold Winner)
- Wuyishan Jun de Tea Co Qian Fang Jing Ping (Highly Commended Winner)
BLACK INDIA DARJEELING:
- Jay Shree, Darjeeling Turzum Basant Blossom (Highly Commended Winner)
- Glenburn Fine Tea, Darjeeling Moonshine (Gold Winner)
BLACK INDIA ASSAM:
- Jay Shree, Assam Nahorhabi Golden Tips (Highly Commended Winner)
- Rujani Tea, Tippy Reserve (Gold Winner)
BLACK INDIA OTHER:
- Mansimble Tea & Estate, Kangra Tea (Highly Commended Winner)
- Tea Studio, Nilgiri Orchid (Highly Commended Winner)
BLACK SRI LANKA:
- AMBA, Amba Tippy Golden Orange Pekoe (Highly Commended Winner)
- Panilkanda Tea Factory, Panilkanda FBOPF EXSP 1 (Highly Commended Winner)
- Kahawatte Plantations, Endane Special BOP 1 (Highly Commended Winner)
- TalawakelleDESSFORD Estate, BOP (Highly Commended Winner)
- Lumbini Tea Valley, Sinharaja Wiry Tips (Gold Winner)
- Sashimacha Yoshida Tea Farm, Izumi 2023 2nd Flush (Highly Commended Winner)
- Ocha-no-Sakaguchien, Natsubeni (Highly Commended Winner)
- Kagoshima Horiguchi Seicha/Wakohen, Kakuhori Benifuuki Black Tea (Gold Winner)
- Wang Family Tea, Hon Yun Black Tea (Highly Commended Winner)
BLACK OTHER REGIONS:
- Nepal Tea Collective, Rose Label Reserve (Highly Commended Winner)
BLACK NEW REGION:
- Lochan Tea, Doke Black Fusion (Highly Commended Winner)
CHAI LOOSE LEAF & SPICE:
- Glenburn, Masala Chai (Highly Commended Winner)
DARK TEA OVER FIVE YEARS:
- Zealong, Aged Oolong (Highly Commended Winner)
POWDERED TEA MATCHA:
- Chaki Co. Chaki Matcha (Highly Commended Winner)
- YAME Tea Kumaen, Matcha Saemidori (Highly Commended Winner)
- Furukawa Seicha, Asahi & Ujihikari (Gold Winner)
SCENTED TEA BLACK:
- Forest Hill Tea ( Pvt) Ltd, Vanilla Tea Rod (Highly Commended Winner)
BESTSELLER BREAKFAST BLEND:
- Lumbini Tea Valley, Golden Breakfast Tea (Highly Commended Winner)
- Chaki Co, Chaki Gyokuro (Gold Winner)
BESTSELLER WHITE + BRITA GOLD AWARD:
- Dorothy’s Teas, Shannon Estate Silver Needles (Gold Winner)
- Matsushita Tea Garden, Black Tea (Highly Commended Winner)
BESTSELLER WELLNESS BLEND:
- Lim Lam Thye/Gryphon, Bullseye (Highly Commended Winner)
BESTSELLER HOUSE BLEND:
- The White Heron Tea & Gifts, Lavender & Vanilla White Tea (Highly Commended Winner)
- Chaki Co, All About Ujicha (Gold Winner)
FUTURE OF TEA:
- Saitama Prefectural Sayama Technical High School, Japan
- Jersey Fine Tea
- Beatriz Piñeiro Lago, Tsubaki Diseno, Spain
- Harendong, Java Island, Indonesia
TEA FOR LIFE:
- Amba Tea Estate, Sri Lanka
- Zealong Tea Estate, New Zealand
F&M BEST IN SHOW:
- Yame Tea Kumaen, Gyokuro Saemidori
The list of winners is also available on the UK Tea Academy website: UKTeaAcademy.co.uk.
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