When the World Tea Expo initiated the first ever World Tea Championship in 2008 I was extremely pleased! In my opinion this was the first step in establishing tea guides and a rating system that could aid buyers, wholesale and retail alike. Education is the only way to teach end users, and those in-between, what to look for and expect in a cup of specialty tea .
Yes there were people who complained about the way the Championship was conducted; who the judges were, the cupping methodology, the brewing vessels. While it was not a perfect system the WTE is the only group that has had the gumption to take on tea quality, trying to develop benchmarks and ratings. They called on well respected industry leaders asking for their input to create a fair, well organized competition and frankly they did a great job!
What was lacking, in my opinion, was the positive feedback of what went right, offers of support and help and the acknowledgement of how important this is for our entire industry.
In my experience complaints don't generally come from wanting to make things better but rather from fear. I challenge those unhappy with the development of the World Tea Championship to ask themselves what their real motives are? Do they want consumers to learn about quality or is the status quo o.k.?
Ratings could benefit buyers, of all levels. They could be used to taste, learn and purchase quality teas. Hopefully buyers will begin to use this tool, especially those buying to resell, taking note of those companies willing to enter teas whether they are winners or not.
The WTE and the Championship is leading the way to improve tea for us all. As the only female owned company to have a winner in the hot tea category I feel proud to be a small part of the bigger picture. Come to think of it we are the first ever female owned company to have a winner!
Coming soon more about how the Championship works.
Until next time, Beth