On February 25th and 26th of 2016 the 2015 North American Tea Championship was held in Las Vegas, Nevada. This is an internationally known tea tasting competition, the best teas from across North America are submitted for this competition. It is an independent competition that is judged by experienced tea professionals, the teas are judged in a blind setting, meaning that the judges are clueless as to what tea they are tasting. Each tea is given a final score, the highest score a tea can get is 100. The teas are judged on a lot of different characteristics: dry leaves, brewed color, brewed aroma, brewed flavor, brewed mouth-feel, and brewed harmony. The teas are given 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place based on their final score.
Conundrum Tea submitted one tea to this competition, this was our very first time competing in any tea tasting competition. The tea that we decided to submit was the Everest Sunrise Black Tea. This is currently our best selling tea and it was submitted to the black tea general category for the competition. With this being our very first tea competition, we weren't sure what to expect for the final results. We know that this is a very good tea but being humans, we are a bit biased since this is our tea and we were excited to find out if the professional tea judges would agree with us in a blind tea tasting.
We received the results of the tea competition this week, our tea received a score of 80, which put us in 4th place for the general black tea category! Our initial thought was that of slight disappointment seeing as this tea was so close to placing in the top three for this category but it didn't quite make the cut. Then we realized that there were 16 teas overall in this category and to come in 4th place is a monumental achievement not only for Conundrum Tea as a company but for the grower of this tea, Hariyali Cooperative. Furthermore, the final results were very close, the teas that came in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place received scores of 84, 83, and 82, respectively. The Everest Sunrise black tea was not far behind at all with a score of 80. The rating guidelines that are used defines a tea receiving a score from 80 to 89 as: Very Good: a tea with superior characteristics.
We couldn't be more pleased with the results of this internationally renowned blind tea tasting competition. With Conundrum Tea being 6 months old this gives us a lot of validation that the ethically grown teas that we provide and can be traced back to the exact farm that they came from are indeed very high quality teas. While this is a great accomplishment for Conundrum Tea as a company, the real congratulations goes to the Hariyali Cooperative. They are the ones responsible for growing this amazing tea and they are certainly well on their way to making a name for teas that are grown in Nepal!