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Spring Loose Hot - September 28 & 29, 2019 – Boulder, CO
Please note: Signature teas are single origin teas that that represent a specific tea type or standard. General teas are every tea outside of the Signature description such as less common teas, open class, blends, flavors, etc. There have been changes made so please read over carefully.

Category: USA Grown Tea
Championship: General
Tea Base Type: Any
Country of Origin: United States of America
Leaf: Orthodox processed leaf of any grade or oxidation level grown, cultivated, and processed in the USA that contains no other botanical. 
Infusion: Infusions will vary based on oxidation level. Each tea will be judged against the traditional expectations based on leaf style and oxidation level submitted.

Category: African Black (CTC/LTP/STP)
Championship: General
Tea Base Type: Black
Country of Origin: African Countries
Leaf: Fully oxidized leaf of any machine processed grade from one single origin, grown in Africa, that contains no other botanical. Leaf is of uniformly sized irregular shaped balls. This leaf does not qualify for any other hot tea category whether in the Spring or Fall championship.
Infusion: Rich coppery-brown to red-brown color with a good, strong, well balanced flavor with typical tasting notes of African grown teas. 

Category: African Black (Orthodox)
Championship: General
Tea Base Type: Black
Country of Origin: African Countries
Leaf: Fully oxidized leaf of any orthodox processed grade from one single origin, grown in Africa, that contains no other botanical. This leaf does not qualify for any other hot tea category whether in the Spring or Fall championship.
Infusion: Infusion is reddish brown to coppery in color. Medium to full body with bright astringency and an array of aromas and tastes typical of African grown teas.

Category: Ceylon Open
Championship: General
Tea Base Type: Any
Country of Origin: Sri Lanka
Leaf: Leaf of any grade from Sri Lanka that contains no other botanical.  Teas appropriate for this category do not fit the requirements of the Low, Mid, or High Grown Ceylon categories.  For example, these teas could be blends of different elevations or unique teas that are different from the standards, including black, green, tips, or other styles of tea.
Infusion: Traditionally a bright infusion with a coppery color, although different tea styles will produce their own unique infusions.


Category: Ceylon Low Grown
Championship: Signature
Tea Base Type: Black
Country of Origin: Sri Lanka
Leaf: Fully oxidized leaf of any grade from Sri Lanka grown below 600 meters (2,000 ft) elevation that contains no other botanical. 
Infusion:  A full-flavored malty tea distinctive to low grown specialty teas with a bright, light coppery color infusion.

Category: Ceylon Mid Grown
Championship: Signature
Tea Base Type: Black
Country of Origin: Sri Lanka
Leaf: Fully oxidized leaf of any grade from Sri Lanka grown between 600 and 1200 meters elevation (2,000 to 4,000 ft) that contains no other botanical.  
Infusion: These teas present a good deal of strength and a full body astringent flavor with a bright infusion with a coppery tone. 

Category: Ceylon High Grown
Championship: Signature
Tea Base Type: Black
Country of Origin: Sri Lanka
Leaf: Fully oxidized leaf of any grade From Sri Lanka grown above 1200 meters (4,000 ft) elevation that contains no other botanical. 
Infusion: Coppery bright infusion with a golden-orange hue in the cup.  These teas produce a refreshingly mellow, delicately fragrant flavor with a mild flowery note. 

Category: Darjeeling 1st Flush
Championship: Signature
Tea Base Type: Black
Country of Origin: India
Leaf: Fully oxidized leaf of any grade from the Darjeeling region of India that contains no other botanical. Dry leaf is typically harvested between March and April where the finished leaf is a blend of brown mingled with olive green and typically with silvery buds.
Infusion: Infusion is pale amber in color with a fresh, flowery, light and extremely aromatic character. Infusion is smooth floral cup easy on the palate with undertones of citrus flowers and pit fruits. Aroma reveals a muscatel grape that is very typical of this flush which is carried through the finish. 

Category:  Darjeeling 2nd Flush
Championship:  Signature
Tea Base Type:  Black
Country of Origin:  India
Leaf: Fully oxidized leaf of any grade from the Darjeeling region of India that contains no other botanical. Dry leaf is typically harvested between May and June where the finished leaf is mainly brown mingled with hints of olive green and golden tips.
Infusion: Infusion is pale amber in color with a sweet honey like flavor with notes of brown sugar and cocoa. Aroma reveals a muscatel grape that is very typical of this flush which is carried through the finish.

Category: Golden Monkey
Championship: Signature
Tea Base Type: Black
Country of Origin: China
Leaf: Fully oxidized leaf of any grade which typically comes from the Fujian or Yunnan provinces of China. This tea uses only the leaf bud and the first leaf. The buds are a nice tan color and are very abundant in the blend. Higher quality teas will still show some down on the buds. This tea is often referred to as the black tea version of the white silver need tea. 
Infusion: The infusion is a pale coppery golden color that is light with sweet honey, cocoa, and pit fruit notes, that lacks much astringency. Some particulate maybe seen from the downy buds. 

Category:  Hojicha
Championship:  Signature
Tea Base Type:  Green
Country of Origin:  Japan
Leaf: Green tea leaf (typically sencha or bancha) of any grade that has been roasted or pan fired to an oaky brown color.
Infusion: Infusion is a rich amber color with little astringency. The flavor is mild, slightly toasty caramel flavor.

Category:  Kukicha
Championship:  Signature
Tea Base Type:  Green
Country of Origin:  Japan
Leaf: A fibrous, stalky mixture of dark green stems and straw colored pieces.
Infusion: Infusion is a pale yellow green color that is mild with no astringency. Subtly fragrant with a clean nutty sweet flavor.

Category: Gyokuro
Championship: Signature
Tea Base Type: Green
Country of Origin: Japan
Leaf: Steamed green tea leaf of any grade from Japan that is grown and cultivated to make Gyokuro. This typically means the teas are handpicked and processed and that the bushes are kept shaded and covered with bamboo, reed or canvas mats prior to plucking to produce higher concentrations of chlorophyll. The flat needle leaves should be a dark green color flecked with spots of yellow.
Infusion: The infusion is a clear pale yellow. The aroma and flavor is sweet, mild and very smooth. 

Category: Matcha
Championship: Signature
Tea Base Type: Green
Country of Origin: Japan
Leaf: Japanese finely ground powder made by grinding tencha (a finely chopped tea made using the same gyokuro method). Color is a brilliant lime green with no yellow or brown shades. 
Infusion: Infusion is frothy but thin (based on our preparation protocols), intensely green with distinctive grassy vegetal flavor with no notes of raw astringency.

Category: Sencha
Championship: Signature
Tea Base Type: Green
Country of Origin: Japan
Leaf: Steamed green tea leaf of any grade from Japan typically made from the first harvest plucking in spring. Long flat emerald needle like shape of varying sizes. 
Infusion: Wet leaf is a rich green color with a fresh aroma. Infusion may be green to bright gold and often times is hazy with particulate. Flavor is fresh, rich medium-bodied with grassy and briny notes and umami rich brothy taste. 

Category: Dragonwell
Championship: Signature
Tea Base Type: Green
Country of Origin: China
Leaf: Green tea leaf, typically from Zhejiang Province of China, where the leaf bud and 1-to-2 leaves are made into a flattened shape. The leaf is neat and uniform and is yellow-green in color. 
Infusion: Wet leaf shows buds and has vegetal, nutty aroma. Infusion is clear yellow to green in color. Flavor is buttery, smooth, medium-bodied which is slightly astringent with distinctive pan-fired toasty notes. 


Category: Pan Fired Green
Championship: General
Tea Base Type: Green
Country of Origin: Any
Leaf: Green tea leaf of any grade that is NOT first processed by steam but is pan-fired to de-enzyme the leaf. This leaf does not qualify for any other hot tea category whether in the Spring or Fall championship.
Infusion: Infusion is pale to golden-yellow in color with distinctive pan fired toasty notes. 

Category: Steamed Green
Championship: General
Tea Base Type: Green
Country of Origin: Any
Leaf: Green tea leaf of any grade that is first processed by steam to de-enzyme the leaf. Leaf is often of varying sizes and is typically more of an emerald color due to the steaming process. This leaf does not qualify for any other hot tea category whether in the Spring or Fall Championship.
Infusion: Infusion is medium-bodied with grassy and briny flavor notes. Tea should have some umami brothy character. 

Category:  Steamed + Pan Fired Green
Championship: General
Tea Base Type:  Green
Country of Origin:  Any
Leaf: Green tea leaf of any grade that has been both steamed and pan-fired. It is important that the tea submitted has gone through both a steaming process and a pan-firing process. If the tea has only gone through one of the processes than it should be entered into that category and not this one. This leaf does not qualify for any other hot tea category whether in the Spring or Fall championship.
Infusion: Infusion will be complex and have characteristics of both steamed and pan-fired green tea.  


Category: Aged/Baked Oolong
Championship: General
Tea Base Type: Oolong
Country of Origin: Any
Leaf: Semi-balled or open leaf semi oxidized leaf of any grade that has undergone a post-production process of aging or heavy baking with the intent to significantly alter the original aroma and/or flavor. Leaf should be very dark, not brittle or burnt. This leaf does not qualify for any other hot tea category whether in the Spring or Fall Championship.
Infusion: Wet leaf aroma includes mesquite or pit fruits. Infusion is a deep gold-amber. Visible particulate from baking and firing is acceptable. Infusion is sweat and roasty, with concentrated flavor, but should not be excessively smoky, indicating a smoked tea. 


Category: Oriental Beauty (Bai Hao)
Championship: Signature
Tea Base Type: Oolong
Country of Origin: Taiwan
Leaf: Moderately to heavily oxidized oolong. Open, curly leaf style of many colors. 
Infusion: Infusion is deep, clear golden hue with minimum brown tones or excessive particulate from baking. Very aromatic infusion with distinctive ripe stone fruit and floral notes with a lush mouthfeel. Refined and delicate astringency with a lingering aroma finish. 

Category: Pouchong
Championship: Signature
Tea Base Type:   Oolong
Country of Origin:  Taiwan
Leaf: Lightly oxidized green oolong (typically around 10%) with emerald to yellow-green open leaf.
Infusion: The infusion is a pale light color with obvious floral aromatics. Taste is floral with notes of sweet honeysuckle with long lingering floral aroma well after the finish.

Category: Dark Oolong
Championship: General
Tea Base Type: Oolong
Country of Origin: Any
Leaf: Open leaf oolong tea that is more heavily oxidized but not aged or roasted. (Examples may include, but are not limited to, Phoenix Dan Congs, Shui Xian, Da Hong Pao, Rou Gui, etc.) Leaf is often large and twisted or openly crumpled with a dark coloring. High quality dry leaves will have noticeable aromas of pit fruits and/or spices. This leaf does not qualify for any other hot tea category whether in the Spring or Fall Championship.
Infusion: Infusion ranges from deep golden-yellow to amber to shades of brown. Some particulate from final firing is acceptable, but should not be excessive as to indicate baking or aging. Very aromatic with notes of pit fruits, roasted grains, orchids, honey and fruit and nut tree blossoms. Smooth mouthfeel deep and very lingering flavor and aroma.

Category: Dong Ding
Championship: Signature
Tea Base Type: Oolong
Country of Origin: Taiwan
Leaf: A mid-oxidized (30%) oolong in a semi-balled leaf shape with varying shades of green and light brown. 
Infusion: Pale green-gold to golden-amber infusion. A sweet medium-bodied, smooth and creamy infusion with notes of orchids and nuts with little to no astringency. 

Category: Green Oolong
Championship: General
Tea Base Type: Oolong
Country of Origin: Any
Leaf: Lightly to mid-oxidized oolong of any leaf shape or style. 9Examples may include, but are not limited to, Ali Shan, Huang Jin Gui, Jade Oolongs, etc.) This leaf does not qualify for any other hot tea category whether in the Spring or Fall Championship.
Infusion: Infusions yield a clear green or golden color with floral and pit fruit tastes. 


Category: Milk Oolong
Championship: Signature
Tea Base Type: Oolong
Country of Origin: Taiwan
Leaf: Jin Xuan variety oolong of any grade. Unique natural phenomenon that happens infrequently during the harvest season when a sudden change in temperature happens overnight. This temperature fluctuation chemically changes the leaf creating a uniquely tasting infusion. May NOT contain flavoring agents. Though the name implies that milk is used in the processing, no milk (or any other dairy or non-dairy) is used in the making of this tea.
Infusion: Infusion has a velvety buttery creaminess, aroma and taste. A creamy, buttery floral tea that is soothing and comforting.

Category: Ti Kuan Yin (Jade)
Championship: Signature
Tea Base Type: Oolong
Country of Origin: China
Leaf: A light to medium oxidized semi-balled oolong leaf typically from the Fujian province of China. Leaf will have light to mild baking. 
Infusion: Infusion is a pale yellow to green in color. Particulate from baking is NOT deemed acceptable. Very aromatic ranging from floral to fruity, with slight aroma from mild baking. Taste is mild, sweet and subtly complex, with flavors including floral, fruity and mildly vegetal. 


Category: White Peony (Bai Mu Dan)
Championship: Signature
Tea Base Type: White
Country of Origin: China
Leaf: Naturally oxidized leaf of any grade made in the classic style of processing, typically from the Fujian province of China. Tightly curled buds with 2 or 3 tender young leaves. Buds should have a nice downy appearance. The leaves are a combination of tips, broken leaf and larger unbroken leaf in colors that range from silvery white to shades of green and brown. 
Infusion: The infusion is a clear, pale yellow with a sweet wet hay aroma and a velvety smooth, sweet, mild flavor with notes of floral nuttiness.

Category: Silver Needles
Championship: Signature
Tea Base Type: White
Country of Origin: China
Leaf: Naturally oxidized bud ONLY grade made in the classic style of processing, typically from the Fujian province of China. Buds should be plump needle-like and have a nice downy appearance. Colors range from silvery white to shades of green.
Infusion: Infusion is a pale-yellow color with smooth, sweet, elegant floral taste. Notes of sweet honey and pit fruits with a silky-smooth finish. Particulate is acceptable for the hairs of the buds.

Category: White Tea
Championship: General
Tea Base Type: White
Country of Origin: Any
Leaf: Naturally oxidized leaf of any grade made in the classic style of processing. Leaf may contain tightly curled buds, buds and young leaves, or just young leaves. Buds should have a nice downy appearance. Colors can range from silvery white to shades of green and brown. This leaf does not qualify for any other hot tea category whether in the Spring or Fall Championship.
Infusion: The infusion is a clear, pale yellow with a sweet wet hay aroma and a velvety smooth, sweet, mild flavor with notes of floral nuttiness.

Category: Yellow Tea
Championship: Signature
Tea Base Type: Yellow
Country of Origin: China
Leaf: Leaf is processed similar to that of green tea with the added step of steaming under a damp cloth after oxidation. Leaf has a yellowing of their green color due to the added step. This style of leaf is typically produced in Sichuan, Hunan and Anhui provinces of China. Leaf is typically buds or young leaves and buds. 
Infusion: Infusion is golden yellow in color, with a mellower and less grassy taste than what is typically found in Chinese green teas.

Category: Keemun
Championship:  Signature
Tea Base Type: Black
Country of Origin:  China
Leaf: Fully oxidized leaf of any grade from the Qi Men, Anhui Province of China that contains no other botanical. Dry leaf is neat, well graded, small and black that may contain gold tips.
Infusion: Infusion is clear with a medium, burnt orange coloring. Flavor is smooth, medium to full bodied, well rounded with a mild astringency with piney, floral and/or wine like notes.

Category: Lapsang Souchong
Championship: Signature
Tea Base Type:  Black
Country of Origin:  China
Leaf: Fully oxidized leaf of any grade typically from the Fujian Province of China that contains no other botanical. Dry leaf is neat, well graded, intensely black and has been intentionally dried over smoking pine wood fire. May not contain any flavoring agents.
Infusion: Infusion is a dark red brown color with a distinctive smoky aroma and flavor.


Category: Yunnan
Championship:  Signature
Tea Base Type:  Black
Country of Origin:  China
Leaf: Fully oxidized leaf of any grade from the Yunnan Province of China that contains no other botanical. Dry leaf is neat, well graded, and brown that may contain gold tips.
Infusion: Infusion is golden reddish brown, full bodied and complex in flavors ranging from peppery to woodsy to sweet fruity.

Category: Gunpowder
Championship:  Signature
Tea Base Type:   Green
Country of Origin:  China
Leaf: Green tea leaf, typically from the Zhejiang Province of China, that has been rolled to look like gunpowder pellets. The leaf grade can be tightly rolled (referred to as pinhead) or a larger more loosely rolled style. Leaf is green to gray-green in color.
Infusion: Infusion is pale yellow to amber in color. Medium bodied tea with slight astringency with roasted nutty toasted notes with a lasting aftertaste.

Category: Dark Tea 
Championship: General 
Tea Base Type: Pu-erh 
Country of Origin: Any 
Leaf: Tea of any age or type that has undergone a secondary post manufacturing microbial fermentation step or aging process, whether aging is intentionally accelerated or not. This leaf must not come from the Yunnan Province of China. 
Infusion: Infusion is amber to rich dark brown in color. Medium to full bodied cup with notes that are earthy, woody, reminiscent of damp autumn leaves, molasses, and/or hints of spice. Little to no astringency. 

Category: Pu-erh
Championship: General
Tea Base Type: Pu-erh
Country of Origin: China
Leaf: Tea of any age or type that has undergone a secondary post manufacturing microbial fermentation step or aging process, whether aging is intentionally accelerated or not. This leaf must come from the Yunnan Province of China.
Infusion: Infusion is amber to rich dark brown in color. Medium to full bodied cup with notes that are earthy, woody, reminiscent of damp autumn leaves, molasses, and/or hints of spice. Little to no astringency.

Category: Pu-erh Cooked 
Championship: General 
Tea Base Type: Pu-erh 
Country of Origin: China
Leaf: Tea of any age or type that has undergone a secondary post manufacturing microbial fermentation step or aging process, whether aging is intentionally accelerated or not. This leaf must come from the Yunnan Province of China.
Infusion: Infusion is amber to rich dark brown in color. Medium to full bodied cup with notes that are earthy, woody, reminiscent of damp autumn leaves, molasses, and/or hints of spice. Little to no astringency 
 

Category: Pu-erh Raw 
Championship: General 
Tea Base Type: Pu-erh 
Country of Origin: China 
Leaf: Tea of any age or type that has undergone a post-manufacturing microbial fermentation step or aging process, whether aging is intentionally accelerated or note. Leaves are not oxidized prior to aging. Tea may be in loose form or in compressed form. Leaf may come from any province in China. 
Infusion: Tea is deep gold to light amber in color with a medium body. Flavor notes: partly earthy, toasty, with hints of damp woods; finish should not be overly astringent. 


Category:  Decaf. Straight
Championship:  General
Tea Base Type:  Black
Country of Origin:  Any
Leaf: Fully oxidized leaf of any grade from one single origin that contains no other botanical that has gone through a decaffeination process. Decaffeination may be done through super critical carbon dioxide process or ethyl acetate process.
Infusion: Infusion is golden brown to reddish brown to coppery in color. Medium body with mild astringency and an array of aromas and tastes.