By David De Candia - Director of Tea for The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf
From The Tea Specialist Newsletter, August Edition I have been asked to judge many US based tea competitions over the last 14 years. It is always a great honor to be a part of a very special and important event.
Recently I was asked to Judge my third Hong Kong International Tea Fair for 2011.
I was part of a panel of six judges: the Director of The World Tea Union, Asst Director of the Sri Lankan Tea Board, Professor Chinese Mainland, President of the Taiwan Tea Science Society, and the President of the Chinese Tea Association. Two of these judges started with me three years ago in this competition.
The categories we judged are as follows: Black Tea, Aged Tea (Pu-er), Green Tea and Oolong Tea. We had one hundred and twenty samples to taste. The judging criteria was dry leaf shape, steeped color, steeped aroma, steeped flavor and steeped leaf shape. Each criteria carries a different percentage weight in the judging. This judging is a blind competition of course. I was selected as the chief.
There is no question that I love doing this type of competition. In addition, as usual I was given a translator to communicate with the other judges.
Winners of the competition were announced at a reception the next day at the Tea Fair.
Many tea professionals will tell you that there is something very special about tasting and discussing tea with fellow tea professionals. Whether you’re a Tea Guru or Tea Master or Director of Tea, the connection is there. When you see your fellow judges you’re reminded of last years’ experience and in-depth discussions of tea that tend to go on for hours into the night.
I’m looking forward to 2012.
– David De Candia
David De Candia - second in on the right, stands with the panel of judges for the Hong Kong International Tea Fair