Hot Tea Judges
March Competition Judges:
- Scott Svihula
- Suzette Hammond
- Aaron Vick
September Competition Judges:
- Scott Svihula
- Richard Enticott
- Lydia Kung
Scott Svihula | Hula Consulting
Scott Svihula has carved out a niche as an expert in the specialty coffee and tea industry. His discerning palate has garnered him many industry awards and achievements. He further fortifies his multi-faceted skill set encompassing strategic planning, product development, operations, marketing, quality assurance, regulatory compliance, training, sales and field-to-cup production management. He brings exceptional business acumen focused on enhancing sales and revenue growth within regional and nationally leading brands supported by impactful advertising, continuous research, and a talent for identifying and capitalizing on emerging industry trends. Scott recently started his own tea and coffee consulting business, Hula Consulting™, to offer a unique one stop service approach offering everything a company needs to grow, whether they are a startup or have been in business for decades. His customized consulting approach allows companies to capitalize on his skills and knowledge to target specific growth areas.
Suzette Hammond | Founder, Being Tea
With more than 13 years of experience in retail and wholesale, Suzette Hammond is known as one of the most passionate, engaged and creative educators in the global tea industry. Suzette is the founder of Being Tea - an independent consultancy for interactive training, customized workshops, program development, sourcing and hands-on tea mentorship. She works with clients across the US, Europe and the Middle East, including importers, wholesalers, retailers, fine restaurants, coffee roasters, culinary / beverage management and industry trade groups. Suzette is also the Education Director for Tea Journey Magazine, serves on the Advisory Board and guest teaches for the World Tea Academy, teaches regularly for World Tea Expo and other trade events. She serves as a Judge for the North American Tea Championship and has been involved in the competition since its inception.
Richard Enticott |
Richard has worked in the tea industry for over 25 years. After a 5 year apprenticeship as a trainee tea taster with Tetley in England tasting thousands of teas each week, Richard held senior roles in buying and blending covering all major tea producing Origins. In 1999 he joined Finlays USA in New Jersey as Director of Tea Trading selling bulk tea and decaffeinated tea to national brands and private label packing companies throughout North America. Thereafter, he joined Martin Bauer Inc. in 2003 as President & CEO (N.A.) with responsibility for a portfolio of ingredients covering tea, herbs, botanical powders and extracts for the dietary supplement industry. In 2015 Richard relocated his family to Boulder Colorado and is presently owner of Meridian Trading Company, providing botanical ingredients to clients worldwide.
Lydia Kung Ph.D., Owner, VeriLeaf Fine Teas.
An avowed foodie who thinks teas get short shrift even as culinary expectations rise in our craft-fixated food culture, Lydia is delighted to play the role of tea advocate. Surely, some of the attention to growing regions and techniques in food, wine, and coffee can be transferred to a more judicious appreciation of fine teas. As an importer, Lydia has occasion to sample teas daily, ranging from low-end, high-volume products to captivating teas that virtually demand sipping again and again. She especially enjoys any occasion to taste with a group, since shared comments help build a tea lexicon and give articulation to nuances. Although no longer working in ethnography, all that this subject encompasses remains a passion, and tea falls easily into this field. Despite its long tradition, tea continually turns up new finds and surprises. Tea can still confound, and Lydia considers this as one of tea's greatest pleasures.
Aaron Vick fell out of professional cooking and into the world of tea when he had his first tea cupping lead by a professional trainer at Peet's Coffee & Tea in 1997 in Berkeley, California. Inspired by that experience he spent ten years with Peet's as a staff educator, sharing the knowledge that inspired him and learning form some of the most experienced people in the industry. That community of tea people led him to The G.S. Haly Company where, as the senior tea buyer, Aaron is immersed in the daily discipline of cupping offers from the great specialty tea origins of the world and bringing them to the North American Market.