2019 Commercial Iced Tea - Category Definitions

 

Ready to Drink (RTD)

This overall category is defined as a single strength pre-bottled or packaged liquid drink that requires no further brewing or preparation. Submissions must be a minimum of 6 bottles (packages) in full case quantities.

Jump to Bag-in-Box (BIB) | Commercial Fresh Brewed


Tea Base Type: Black
Country of Origin: Any
Leaf: Must be derived from the fully oxidized leaf of Camellia sinensis. May contain flavoring agents or other botanicals to make up flavor profile. May contain shelf stabilizers and/or acidifiers.
Infusion: Well balanced, thought-out flavored black tea where the flavoring is not distracting and enhances the tea experience. Flavoring agent should not give off notes that are medicinal, chemical, perfumey or have notes of alcohol. When other botanicals are used, each should have a reason for being part of the flavored blend. Though the black tea taste may not be in the forefront; notes of the black tea should be present and detectable.

Tea Base Type: Black
Country of Origin: Any
Leaf: Must be derived from the fully oxidized leaf of Camellia sinensis. Sweetened is defined by the addition of sugar, corn syrup, glucose, honey, high fructose corn syrup, high intensity sweeteners, or any other natural and/or artificial sweetener. May NOT contain flavoring agents or other botanicals. May contain shelf stabilizers and/or acidifiers.
Infusion: Well-balanced sweet black tea where notes of the black tea are present and detectable.

Tea Base Type: Black
Country of Origin: Any
Leaf: Must be derived from the fully oxidized leaf of Camellia sinensis. May NOT contain flavoring agents or other botanicals. May contain shelf stabilizers and/or acidifiers.
Infusion: Golden brown to reddish brown to coppery in color. Medium to full body with mild astringency and an array of aromas and tastes.

Tea Base Type: Green
Country of Origin: Any
Leaf: Must be derived from streamed or pan fired green tea leaf of Camellia sinensis. May contain flavoring agents or other botanicals to make up flavor profile. May contain shelf stabilizers and/or acidifiers.
Infusion: Well balanced, thought-out flavored green tea where the flavoring is not distracting and enhances the tea experience. Flavoring agent should not give off notes that are medicinal, chemical, perfumey or have notes of alcohol. When other botanicals are used, each should have a reason for being part of the flavored blend. Though the green tea taste may not be in the forefront; notes of the green tea should be present and detectable.

Tea Base Type: Green
Country of Origin: Any
Leaf: Must be derived from streamed or pan fired green tea leaf of Camellia sinensis. Sweetened is defined by the addition of sugar, corn syrup, glucose, honey, high fructose corn syrup, high intensity sweeteners, or any other natural and/or artificial sweetener. May NOT contain flavoring agents or other botanicals. May contain shelf stabilizers and/or acidifiers.
Infusion: Well-balanced sweet green tea where notes of the green tea are present and detectable.

Tea Base Type: Green
Country of Origin: Any
Leaf: Must be derived from streamed or pan fired green tea leaf of Camellia sinensis. May NOT contain flavoring agents or other botanicals. May contain shelf stabilizers and/or acidifiers.
Infusion:
If pan fired: Clear yellow to green in color. Flavor is buttery, smooth medium bodied and slightly astringent with distinctive pan fired notes.
If steamed: Green to bright yellow. The infusion may have particulate and hazy (not clear). Flavor is fresh, medium to full bodied with grassy, briny notes; rich in brothy umami.

Tea Base Type: Matcha
Country of Origin: Any
Leaf: Must be derived from Japanese matcha. May contain flavoring agents or other botanicals to make up flavor profile. May contain shelf stabilizers and/or acidifiers.
Infusion:Well balanced, thought-out flavored matcha where the flavoring is not distracting and enhances the tea experience. Flavoring agent should not give off notes that are medicinal, chemical, perfumey or have notes of alcohol. When other botanicals are used, each should have a reason for being part of the flavored blend. Though the matcha taste may not be in the forefront; notes of the matcha should be present and detectable.

Tea Base Type: Matcha
Country of Origin: Any
Leaf: Must be derived from Japanese matcha. Sweetened is defined by the addition of sugar, corn syrup, glucose, honey, high fructose corn syrup, high intensity sweeteners, or any other natural and/or artificial sweetener. May NOT contain flavoring agents or other botanicals. May contain shelf stabilizers and/or acidifiers.
Infusion:Well-balanced sweet matcha where notes of the mactha are present and detectable.

Tea Base Type: Matcha
Country of Origin: Any
Leaf: Must be derived from Japanese matcha. May NOT contain flavoring agents or other botanicals. May contain shelf stabilizers and/or acidifiers.
Infusion:Intensely green with distinctive grassy vegetal flavor with no notes of raw astringency. The infusion may have particulate and hazy (not clear).

Tea Base Type: Oolong
Country of Origin: Any
Leaf:Must be derived from partially oxidized leaf of Camellia sinensis. May contain flavoring agents or other botanicals to make up flavor profile. May contain shelf stabilizers and/or acidifiers.
Infusion:Well balanced, thought-out flavored oolong tea where the flavoring is not distracting and enhances the tea experience. Flavoring agent should not give off notes that are medicinal, chemical, perfumey or have notes of alcohol. When other botanicals are used, each should have a reason for being part of the flavored blend. Though the oolong tea taste may not be in the forefront; notes of the oolong tea should be present and detectable.

Tea Base Type: Oolong
Country of Origin: Any
Leaf:Must be derived from partially oxidized leaf of Camellia sinensis. Sweetened is defined by the addition of sugar, corn syrup, glucose, honey, high fructose corn syrup, high intensity sweeteners, or any other natural and/or artificial sweetener. May NOT contain flavoring agents or other botanicals. May contain shelf stabilizers and/or acidifiers.
Infusion:Well-balanced sweet oolong tea where notes of the oolong tea are present and detectable.

Tea Base Type: Oolong
Country of Origin: Any
Leaf:Must be derived from partially oxidized leaf of Camellia sinensis. May NOT contain flavoring agents or other botanicals. May contain shelf stabilizers and/or acidifiers.
Infusion:
If lightly oxidized: Clear green or golden color. Very aromatic with notes of fresh blooming flowers, pit fruits, nuts, and/or toasty characteristics.
If heavily oxidized: deep golden yellow, amber or brown. Some particulate from final firing is acceptable, but should not be in excessive as to indicate a baked or aged tea. Very aromatic with notes of pit fruits, roasted grains, orchids, honey, chocolate and/or nuts. Smooth mouthfeel with deep and very lingering flavor and aroma.

Tea Base Type: White
Country of Origin: Any
Leaf:Must be derived from partially oxidized leaf of Camellia sinensis. Must be derived from naturally oxidized leaf of Camellia sinensis. Sweetened is defined by the addition of sugar, corn syrup, glucose, honey, high fructose corn syrup, high intensity sweeteners, or any other natural and/or artificial sweetener. May NOT contain flavoring agents or other botanicals. May contain shelf stabilizers and/or acidifiers.
Infusion:Well-balanced sweet white tea where notes of the white tea are present and detectable.

Tea Base Type: White
Country of Origin: Any
Leaf:Must be derived from naturally oxidized leaf of Camellia sinensis. May NOT contain flavoring agents or other botanicals. May contain shelf stabilizers and/or acidifiers.
Infusion:Clear pale yellow in color. Particulates from the hairs of the unfurled leaf bud are acceptable. Velvety smooth sweet cup that is mild in flavor.

Tea Base Type: Pu-erh/Dark
Country of Origin: Any
Leaf:Must be derived from tea of any age or type that had undergone a secondary post manufacturing microbial fermentation step or aging process, whether aging is intentionally accelerated or not, processed from the leaf of Camellia sinensis. May contain flavoring agents or other botanicals to make up flavor profile. May contain shelf stabilizers and/or acidifiers.
Infusion: Well balanced, thought-out flavored pu-erh/dark tea where the flavoring is not distracting and enhances the tea experience. Flavoring agent should not give off notes that are medicinal, chemical, perfumey or have notes of alcohol. When other botanicals are used, each should have a reason for being part of the flavored blend. Though the pu-erh/dark tea taste may not be in the forefront; notes of the pu-erh/dark tea should be present and detectable.

Tea Base Type: Pu-erh/Dark
Country of Origin: Any
Leaf:Must be derived from tea of any age or type that had undergone a secondary post manufacturing microbial fermentation step or aging process, whether aging is intentionally accelerated or not, processed from the leaf of Camellia sinensis. Sweetened is defined by the addition of sugar, corn syrup, glucose, honey, high fructose corn syrup, high intensity sweeteners, or any other natural and/or artificial sweetener. May NOT contain flavoring agents or other botanicals. May contain shelf stabilizers and/or acidifiers.
Infusion: Well-balanced sweet pu-erh/dark tea where notes of the pu-erh/dark tea are present and detectable.

Tea Base Type: Pu-erh/Dark
Country of Origin: Any
Leaf:Must be derived from tea of any age or type that had undergone a secondary post manufacturing microbial fermentation step or aging process, whether aging is intentionally accelerated or not, processed from the leaf of Camellia sinensis. May NOT contain flavoring agents or other botanicals. May contain shelf stabilizers and/or acidifiers.
Infusion: 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.

Tea Base Type: Herbal/Tisane/Botanical
Country of Origin: Any
Leaf:Must be derived from one or more botanicals other than Camellia sinensis, whether caffeine free or not. May not contain rooibos (green or red) or honeybush. May contain flavoring agents or other botanicals to make up flavor profile. May contain shelf stabilizers and/or acidifiers.
Infusion: Well balanced, thought-out flavored herbal/tisane tea where the flavoring is not distracting and enhances the tea experience. Flavoring agent should not give off notes that are medicinal, chemical, perfumey or have notes of alcohol. When other botanicals are used, each should have a reason for being part of the flavored blend.

Tea Base Type: Herbal/Tisane/Botanical
Country of Origin: Any
Leaf:Must be derived from one or more botanicals other than Camellia sinensis, whether caffeine free or not. May not contain rooibos (green or red) or honeybush. Sweetened is defined by the addition of sugar, corn syrup, glucose, honey, high fructose corn syrup, high intensity sweeteners, or any other natural and/or artificial sweetener. May NOT contain flavoring agents or other botanicals. May contain shelf stabilizers and/or acidifiers.
Infusion: Well-balanced sweet herbal/tisane tea where notes of the herbal/tisane tea are present and detectable.

Tea Base Type: Herbal/Tisane/Botanical
Country of Origin: Any
Leaf:Must be derived from one or more botanicals other than Camellia sinensis, whether caffeine free or not. May not contain rooibos (green or red) or honeybush. May contain shelf stabilizers and/or acidifiers.
Infusion: A wide range of colors, aromas and taste. Because of this, this category will be judged on the merits of the individual botanical submitted. Each botanical will be judged on the aroma and color expected from botanical submitted.

Tea Base Type:Rooibos/Honeybush
Country of Origin: Any
Leaf:Must be derived from Rooibos (green or red) and/or honeybush. May contain flavoring agents or other botanicals to make up flavor profile. May contain shelf stabilizers and/or acidifiers.
Infusion: Well balanced, thought-out flavored rooibos tea where the flavoring is not distracting and enhances the tea experience. Flavoring agent should not give off notes that are medicinal, chemical, perfumey or have notes of alcohol. When other botanicals are used, each should have a reason for being part of the flavored blend. Though the rooibos tea taste may not be in the forefront; notes of the rooibos tea should be present and detectable.

Tea Base Type:Rooibos/Honeybush
Country of Origin: Any
Leaf:Must be derived from Rooibos (green or red) or honeybush. Sweetened is defined by the addition of sugar, corn syrup, glucose, honey, high fructose corn syrup, high intensity sweeteners, or any other natural and/or artificial sweetener. May NOT contain flavoring agents or other botanicals. May contain shelf stabilizers and/or acidifiers.
Infusion: Well-balanced sweet rooibos tea where notes of the rooibos tea are present and detectable.

Tea Base Type:Rooibos/Honeybush
Country of Origin: Any
Leaf: Must be derived from Rooibos (green or red) or honeybush. May contain shelf stabilizers and/or acidifiers.
Infusion:
If red rooibos: Medium bodied earthy tea that is naturally sweet with notes of honey. A clean finish with no astringency with mineral notes that linger.
If green rooibos: Woody, grassy cup that is sweeter than red rooibos. Bright herbaceous aroma and taste with a hint of sweet pea.
If honeybush: Sweeter and fuller bodied cousin of rooibos. Rich earthy brew with sweet honey overtones with hints of dark plum.

Tea Base Type:Any
Country of Origin: Any
Leaf:Must be derived from tea leaves of Camellia sinensis. May contain flavoring agents or other botanicals to make up flavor profile. May contain shelf stabilizers and/or acidifiers. Must be carbonated.
Infusion:Well balanced, thought-out flavored carbonated beverage where the flavoring is not distracting and enhances the tea experience. Flavoring agent should not give off notes that are medicinal, chemical, perfumey or have notes of alcohol. When other botanicals are used, each should have a reason for being part of the flavored beverage. Though the tea taste may not be in the forefront; notes of the tea should be present and detectable.

Tea Base Type:Any
Country of Origin: Any
Leaf:Must be derived from tea leaves of Camellia sinensis. May NOT contain flavoring agents or other botanicals. May contain shelf stabilizers and/or acidifiers. Must be carbonated.
Infusion:Well-balanced carbonated tea beverage.

Tea Base Type:Any
Country of Origin: Any
Leaf:Must be derived from tea leaves of Camellia sinensis. Sweetened is defined by the addition of sugar, corn syrup, glucose, honey, high fructose corn syrup, high intensity sweeteners, or any other natural and/or artificial sweetener. May NOT contain flavoring agents or other botanicals. May contain shelf stabilizers and/or acidifiers. Must be carbonated.
Infusion:Well-balanced sweet carbonated tea where notes of the tea are present and detectable.

Tea Base Type:Any
Country of Origin: Any
Leaf:Must be derived from tea leaves of Camellia sinensis. May contain flavoring agents or other botanicals to make up flavor profile. May contain shelf stabilizers and/or acidifiers. Product must be sold and labeled as a cold brew product, and the method of extracting the tea was done via a cold brew method.
Infusion:Well balanced, thought-out flavored cold brew tea where the flavoring is not distracting and enhances the tea experience. Flavoring agent should not give off notes that are medicinal, chemical, perfumey or have notes of alcohol. When other botanicals are used, each should have a reason for being part of the flavored beverage. Though the tea taste may not be in the forefront; notes of the tea should be present and detectable.

Tea Base Type:Any
Country of Origin: Any
Leaf: Must be derived from tea leaves of Camellia sinensis. Sweetened is defined by the addition of sugar, corn syrup, glucose, honey, high fructose corn syrup, high intensity sweeteners, or any other natural and/or artificial sweetener. May NOT contain flavoring agents or other botanicals. May contain shelf stabilizers and/or acidifiers. Product must be sold and labeled as a cold brew product, and the method of extracting the tea was done via a cold brew method.
Infusion:Well-balanced sweet cold brew tea tea where notes of the tea are present and detectable.

Tea Base Type:Any
Country of Origin: Any
Leaf: Must be derived from tea leaves of Camellia sinensis. May NOT contain flavoring agents or other botanicals. May contain shelf stabilizers and/or acidifiers. Product must be sold and labeled as a cold brew product, and the method of extracting the tea was done via a cold brew method.
Infusion:Well balanced, thought-out cold brew tea.

 

Bag-in-Box (BIB)

This overall category is defined as a liquid concentrate of any ratio that requires the addition of water to make a single strength, drinkable tea. This product must be packaged in a traditional bag-in-box with either a QCD or Scholle connection. Submissions to this category will be hand blended by GTC professionals according to submission’s ratio to create a 1 gallon (128oz, 3,785ml) finished single strength, drinkable volume with room temperature water and then judged over ice. Submissions must be a full BIB unopened case from stock product.

Jump to Ready to Drink (RTD) | Commercial Fresh Brewed


Tea Base Type: Black
Country of Origin: Any
Leaf: Must be derived from the fully oxidized leaf of Camellia sinensis. May contain flavoring agents or other botanicals to make up flavor profile. May contain shelf stabilizers and/or acidifiers.
Infusion: Well balanced, thought-out flavored black tea where the flavoring is not distracting and enhances the tea experience. Flavoring agent should not give off notes that are medicinal, chemical, perfumey or have notes of alcohol. When other botanicals are used, each should have a reason for the being part of the flavored blend. Though the black tea taste may not be in the forefront; notes of the black tea should be present and detectable.

Tea Base Type: Black
Country of Origin: Any
Leaf:Must be derived from the fully oxidized leaf of Camellia sinensis. Sweetened is defined by the addition of sugar, corn syrup, glucose, honey, high fructose corn syrup, high intensity sweeteners, or any other natural and/or artificial sweetener. May NOT contain flavoring agents or other botanicals. May contain shelf stabilizers and/or acidifiers.
Infusion: Well-balanced sweet black tea where notes of the black tea are present and detectable.

Tea Base Type: Black
Country of Origin: Any
Leaf:Must be derived from the fully oxidized leaf of Camellia sinensis. May NOT contain flavoring agents or other botanicals. May contain shelf stabilizers and /or acidifiers.
Infusion: Golden Brown to reddish brown to coppery in color. Medium to full body with mild astringency and an array of aromas and tastes.

Tea Base Type: Green
Country of Origin: Any
Leaf:Must be derived from streamed or pan fired green tea leaf of Camellia sinensis. May contain flavoring agents or other botanicals to make up flavor profile. May contain shelf stabilizers and/or acidifiers.
Infusion: Well balanced, thought-out flavored green tea where the flavoring is not distracting and enhances the tea experience. Flavoring agent should not give off notes that are medicinal, chemical, perfumey or have notes of alcohol. When other botanicals are used, each should have a reason for being part of the flavored blend. Though the green tea taste may not be in the forefront; notes of the green tea should be present and detectable.

Tea Base Type: Green
Country of Origin: Any
Leaf:Must be derived from steamed or pan fired green tea leaf of Camellia sinensis. Sweetened is defined by the addition of sugar, corn syrup, glucose, honey, high fructose corn syrup, high intensity sweeteners, or any other natural and/or artificial sweetener. May NOT contain flavoring agents or other botanicals. May contain shelf stabilizers and/or acidifiers.
Infusion:Well-balanced sweet green tea where notes of the green tea are present and detectable.

Tea Base Type: Green
Country of Origin: Any
Leaf:Must be derived from streamed or pan fired green tea leaf of Camellia sinensis. May NOT contain flavoring agents or other botanicals. May contain shelf stabilizers and/or acidifiers.
Infusion:
If pan fired: Clear yellow to green in color. Flavor is buttery, smooth medium bodied and slightly astringent with distinctive pan fired notes.
If steamed: Green to bright yellow. The infusion may have particulate and hazy (not clear). Flavor is fresh, medium to full bodied with grassy, briny notes; rich in brothy umami.

Tea Base Type: Herbal/Tisane/Botanical/Rooibos
Country of Origin: Any
Leaf:Must be derived from one or more botanicals other than Camellia sinensis, whether caffeine free or not. May contain flavoring agents or other botanicals to make up flavor profile. May contain shelf stabilizers and/or acidifiers.
Infusion:Well balanced, thought-out flavored herbal/tisane tea where the flavoring is not distracting and enhances the tea experience. Flavoring agent should not give off notes that are medicinal, chemical, perfumey or have notes of alcohol. When other botanicals are used, each should have a reason for being part of the flavored blend.

Tea Base Type: Herbal/Tisane/Botanical/Rooibos
Country of Origin: Any
Leaf:Must be derived from one or more botanicals other than Camellia sinensis, whether caffeine free or not. Sweetened is defined by the addition of sugar, corn syrup, glucose, honey, high fructose corn syrup, high intensity sweeteners, or any other natural and/or artificial sweetener. May NOT contain flavoring agents or other botanicals. May contain shelf stabilizers and/or acidifiers.
Infusion:Well-balanced sweet herbal/tisane tea where notes of the herbal/tisane tea are present and detectable.

Tea Base Type: Herbal/Tisane/Botanical/Rooibos
Country of Origin: Any
Leaf:Must be derived from one or more botanicals other than Camellia sinensis, whether caffeine free or not. May contain shelf stabilizers and/or acidifiers.
Infusion:A wide range of colors aromas and tastes. Because of this, this category will be judged on the merits of the individual botanical submitted. Each botanical will be judged on the aroma and color expected from each botanical submitted.

 

Commercial Fresh Brewed

This overall category is defined as dry tea in either open brew fraction packs or filter packs to be brewed on commercial iced tea equipment and sold in cases to foodservice customers. Tea will be brewed at either 1.5 gallon (192oz, 5,678ml) or 3.0 gallon (384oz, 11,356ml) sizes on competition equipment. Packs must be a minimum of 1oz (28g) and a maximum of 4oz (113g). Case counts must be a minimum of 20 count. Consumer retail tea bags (sachets), entries in tins, or product packaging in any way that does not meet the above definition will be automatically disqualified. This includes any bulk loose, home brew, pitcher brewed or cold brewed products. Commercial fresh brewed categories will be brewed on competition equipment. It is imperative that each entry submit a calibration form to insure proper calibration and brewing of your submission. If none is provided default settings will be used. Submissions must be a full unopened case from stock product.

Jump to Ready to Drink (RTD) | Bag-in-Box (BIB)


Tea Base Type: Black
Country of Origin: Any
Leaf:Fully oxidized leaf of any grade that is blended with at least one other botanical not of Camellia sinensis in origin. May not contain any flavoring agents.
Infusion:Well balanced, thought-out blend where each ingredient has a reason for being part of the blend. Though the black tea taste may not be in the forefront; notes of the black tea should be present and detectable.

Tea Base Type: Black
Country of Origin: Any
Leaf:Fully oxidized leaf of any grade that is flavored using a flavoring agent or other botanicals.
Infusion:Well balanced, thought-out flavored black tea where the flavoring is not distracting and enhances the tea experience. Flavoring agent should not give off notes that are medicinal, chemical, perfumey or have notes of alcohol. When other botanicals are used, each should have a reason for being part of the flavored blend. Though the black tea taste may not be in the forefront; notes of the black tea should be present and detectable.

Tea Base Type: Black
Country of Origin: Any
Leaf:Fully oxidized leaf of any grade from one single origin that contains no other botanical.
Infusion:Infusion is golden brown to reddish brown to coppery in color. Medium to full body with mild astringency and an array of aromas and tastes.

Tea Base Type: Green
Country of Origin: Any
Leaf:Green tea leaf (steamed or pan fired) of any grade that is blended with at least one other botanical not of Camellia sinensis in origin. May not contain any flavoring agents.
Infusion:Well balanced, thought-out blend where each ingredient has a reason for being part of the blend. Though the green tea taste may not be in the forefront; notes of the green tea should be present and detectable.

Tea Base Type: Green
Country of Origin: Any
Leaf: Green tea leaf (steamed or pan fired) of any grade that is flavored using a flavoring agent or other botanicals.
Infusion:Well balanced, thought-out flavored green tea where the flavoring is not distracting and enhances the tea experience. Flavoring agent should not give off notes that are medicinal, chemical, perfumey or have notes of alcohol. When other botanicals are used, each should have a reason for being part of the flavored blend. Though the green tea taste may not be in the forefront; notes of the green tea should be present and detectable.

Tea Base Type: Green
Country of Origin: Any
Leaf:Green tea leaf of any grade that is either first processed by steam to de-enzyme the leaf OR pan fired to de-enzyme the leaf. Leaf is often of varying sizes, styles and colors of green to yellow-green.
Infusion:
If steamed: Infusion is medium-bodied with grassy and briny flavor notes. Tea should have some umami brothy character.
If pan fired: Infusion is pale to golden-yellow in color with distinctive pan fired toasty notes.

Tea Base Type: Oolong
Country of Origin: Any
Leaf:Semi-oxidized leaf of any grade or leaf style that is blended with at least one other botanical not of Camellia sinensis in origin. May not contain any flavoring agents.
Infusion:Well balanced, thought-out blend where each ingredient has a reason for being part of the blend. Though the oolong tea taste may not be in the forefront; notes of the oolong tea should be present and detectable.

Tea Base Type: Oolong
Country of Origin: Any
Leaf:Semi-oxidized leaf of any grade or leaf style that is flavored using a flavoring agent or other botanicals.
Infusion:Well balanced, thought-out flavored oolong tea where the flavoring is not distracting and enhances the tea experience. Flavoring agent should not give off notes that are medicinal, chemical, perfumey or have notes of alcohol. When other botanicals are used, each should have a reason for being part of the flavored blend. Though the oolong tea taste may not be in the forefront; notes of the oolong tea should be present and detectable.

Tea Base Type: Oolong
Country of Origin: Any
Leaf:Semi-oxidized leaf of any grade or leaf style.
Infusion:
If lightly oxidized: Clear green or golden color. Very aromatic with notes of fresh blooming flowers, pit fruits, nuts, and/or toasty characteristics.
If heavily oxidized: deep golden yellow, amber or brown. Some particulate from final firing is acceptable, but should not be in excessive as to indicate a baked or aged tea. Very aromatic with notes of pit fruits, roasted grains, orchids, honey, chocolate and/or nuts. Smooth mouthfeel with deep and very lingering flavor and aroma.

Tea Base Type: White
Country of Origin: Any
Leaf:Naturally oxidized leaf of any grade that is flavored using a flavoring agent. May contain other botanicals.
Infusion:Well balanced, thought-out blend where each ingredient has a reason for being part of the blend. Though the white tea taste may not be in the forefront; notes of the white tea should be present and detectable.

Tea Base Type: White
Country of Origin: Any
Leaf:White tea of any grade that is flavored using a flavoring agent or other botanicals.
Infusion:Well balanced, thought-out flavored white tea where the flavoring is not distracting and enhances the tea experience. Flavoring agent should not give off notes that are medicinal, chemical, perfumey or have notes of alcohol. When other botanicals are used, each should have a reason for being part of the flavored blend. Though the white tea taste may not be in the forefront; notes of the white tea should be present and detectable. Particulate is acceptable from the hairs of the buds.

Tea Base Type: White
Country of Origin: Any
Leaf:Naturally oxidized leaf of any grade from one single origin that contains no other botanical. Processing method must follow classical styles. Leaves are not processed by firing or rolling, but by withered controls and gentle oven, cool drying and/or sun drying techniques, alone or in combination.
Infusion:Infusion is clear pale yellow in color. Particulates from the hairs of the unfurled leaf bud are acceptable. Velvety smooth sweet cup that is mild in flavor.

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. Must be blended with at least one other botanical not of Camellia sinensis in origin.
Infusion:Well balanced, thought-out blend where each ingredient has a reason for being part of the blend. Though the pu-erh/dark tea taste may not be in the forefront; notes of the pu-erh/dark tea should be present and detectable.

Tea Base Type: Pu-erh/Dark
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. Must be flavored using a flavoring agent or other botanicals.
Infusion:Well balanced, thought-out flavored pu-erh/dark tea where the flavoring is not distracting and enhances the tea experience. Flavoring agent should not give off notes that are medicinal, chemical, perfumey or have notes of alcohol. When other botanicals are used, each should have a reason for being part of the flavored blend. Though the pu-erh/dark tea taste may not be in the forefront; notes of the pu-erh/dark tea should be present and detectable.

Tea Base Type: Pu-erh/Dark
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.
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.

Tea Base Type: Herbal/Tisane/Botanical
Country of Origin: Any
Leaf:Herbal tea or tisane using at least two botanicals other than Camellia sinensis whether caffeine free or not. May not contain any flavoring agents.
Infusion:Well balanced, thought-out blend where each ingredient has a reason for being part of the blend.

Tea Base Type: Herbal/Tisane/Botanical
Country of Origin: Any
Leaf:Herbal/tisane leaf of any grade that is flavored using a flavoring agent or other botanicals. Blend cannot contain Camellia sinensis or Rooibos (green or red) or Honeybush. Blend must be caffeine free.
Infusion:Well balanced, thought-out flavored herbal/tisane where the flavoring is not distracting and enhances the tea experience. Flavoring agent should not give off notes that are medicinal, chemical, perfumey or have notes of alcohol. When other botanicals are used, each should have a reason for being part of the flavored blend.

Tea Base Type: Herbal/Tisane/Botanical
Country of Origin: Any
Leaf:Herbal tea or tisane using only a single botanical other than Camellia sinensis whether caffeine free or not. (e.g. Rooibos, Honeybush, Chamomile, Yerba Mate, Hibiscus, Tulsi, Mint, etc.)
Infusion:A wide range of infusion colors, aromas and taste. Because of this, this category will be judged on the merits of the individual botanical submitted. Each botanical will be judged on leaf manufacture, infusion, aroma and color expected from botanical submitted.

Tea Base Type: Rooibos/Honeybush
Country of Origin: Any
Leaf:Rooibos (Green or Red) or Honeybush leaf of any grade that is blended with at least one other botanical not of Camellia sinensis, Aspalathus linearis, or Cyclopia in origin. May not contain any flavoring agents.
Infusion:Well balanced, thought-out blend where each ingredient has a reason for being part of the blend. Though the rooibos/honeybush taste may not be in the forefront; notes of the rooibos/honeybush should be present and detectable.

Tea Base Type: Rooibos/Honeybush
Country of Origin: Any
Leaf:Rooibos (green, red, or honeybush) of any grade that is flavored using a flavoring agent or other botanicals.
Infusion:Well balanced, thought-out flavored rooibos where the flavoring is not distracting and enhances the tea experience. Flavoring agent should not give off notes that are medicinal, chemical, perfumey or have notes of alcohol. When other botanicals are used, each should have a reason for being part of the flavored blend. Though the rooibos taste may not be in the forefront; notes of rooibos should be present and detectable.