Tea Tasters Box 2019

The Tea Tasters Box is an opportunity for tea lovers to try and rate some of the best teas available. Tasters are selected on social media and have about a month to blind taste and rate teas in a specific category (white, green, oolong, puer, black, and herbal). The winners are then announced leading up to and at the Toronto Tea Festival.

Follow the Tasters’ experiences via the hashtag #TeaTastersBoxTO on social media.

For fairness in rating, the 2019 Tea Tasters Box will be a blind tasting with all identifying packaging removed. Teas will be rated by both the public as well as a pool of tea sommeliers. Public rating will be on a scale of 1-10 (based on personal preference) for Leaf Appearance, Aroma, Liquor Quality, Flavour, and Overall. See detailed descriptions below.

The results are in and the Tasters have spoken! Here are your winners for the Tea Tasters Box 2019!

Tea Identities

Here are the identities of the teas from the blind tasting.

Tea ID Tea Name Tea Company
B1 Darjeeling Tea-Second Flush Organic Jungpana Estate Captial Tea
B2 Darjeeling Tea-First Flush Organic Muscatel Valley Captial Tea
B3 Yunnan Black Needle Tea Leaves Tea Tasting Bar
B4 Hot Cinnamon Spice Tea Leaves Tea Tasting Bar
B5 Ginger Bread Lemon Lily
B6 London Fog Lemon Lily
B7 Caramel Apple Honey Lemon Lily
B8 Organic Jin Jun Mei Espirita Tea
B9 Organic Golden Monkey Espirita Tea
B10 Ceylon Silver Tips Espirita Tea
B11 Organic Lavender Cream Tea Sparrow
B12 Organic Bergamont Cream Tea Sparrow
B13 Dawn Turmeric Teas
B14 Ruby Red Tearoma
B15 Royal Ceylon Broken Orange Pekoe UVA Teas Canada
B16 African Chai JusTea
B17 Kenyan Earl Grey JusTea
B18 Nandi Hills Black JusTea
B19 Kumari Gold Tea Rebellion
B20 Ruby 18 Genuine Tea
B21 Organic Peach Apricot Black 3 Teas
B22 Golden Needle Tao Tea Leaf
Tea ID Tea Name Tea Company
G1 Japanese Sencha with Matcha Tea Leaves Tea Tasting Bar
G2 Genmaicha Momo Tea
G3 Ringo Sencha Momo Tea
G4 Hojicha Momo Tea
G5 Jasmine Pearls Lemon Lily
G6 Organic Lung Ching Espirita Tea
G7 Organic Mao Feng Espirita Tea
G8 Emerald GABA Green Espirita Tea
G9 Orchid Green Tea Tearoma
G10 Royal Ceylon Gunpowder UVA Teas Canada
G11 Purple Rain JusTea
G12 Purple Jasmine JusTea
G13 Peppermint Ginger Green 3 Teas
G14 Green, Long Form Tea Rebellion
G15 Kukicha NaturaliTea Tea Rebellion
G16 Organic Dragonwell Genuine Tea
G17 Jasmine Dragon Pearl Tao Tea Leaf
G18 Purple Chocolate JusTea
G19 Organic Dragonwell Tao Tea Leaf
Tea ID Tea Name Tea Company
H1 Third Eye Chakra Six Tea Leaves Tea Tasting Bar
H2 I Dream Of Ginger Lemon Lily
H3 Chocolaty Mint Lemon Lily
H4 Fornever Nuts Lemon Lily
H5 Coffee Leaf Tea Original Wizemonkey
H6 Coffee Leaf Tea Earl Grey Wizemonkey
H7 Coffee Leaf Tea Ginger Lemon Wizemonkey
H8 Strawberry Mint Tea Sparrow
H9 Winter Turmeric Teas
H10 Little Berry Hibiscus JusTea
H11 Organic Roman Rooibos Herbal 3 Teas
H12 Organic Kashi Ginger Genuine Tea
H13 Blueberry Rooibos Tao Tea Leaf
H14 Tangerine Ginger Tao Tea Leaf
H15 Ginger Lemongrass Tao Tea Leaf
Tea ID Tea Name Tea Company
O1 Chin-Xing Oolong-Alishan Capital Tea
O2 Bao Chong Taiwan Tea Leaves Tea Tasting Bar
O3 Charcoal Roasted Jin Xuan Espirita Tea
O4 Ruby GABA Oolong Espirita Tea
O5 Organic Milk Oolong Espirita Tea
O6 Light Oolong Tea Rebellion
O7 Medium Roasted Oolong Tea Rebellion
O8 Alishan-Chin Xing Oolong Genuine Tea
O9 Forever Spring Oolong Tea Rebellion
O10 Da Hong Pao Tao Tea Leaf
Tea ID Tea Name Tea Company
P1 Dragon Elixir Tea Leaves Tea Tasting Bar
P2 Ba Ka Ngoi Bulang Mountain (Shou) JalamTeas
P3 Zhang Lang (Sheng) JalamTeas
P4 Organic Aged Pu erh Genuine Tea
P5 Imperial Puer (Shou) Tao Tea Leaf
P6 Jing Mai Puer (Sheng) Tao Tea Leaf
Tea ID Tea Name Tea Company
W1 Blue Lagoon Lemon Lily
W2 White Tea Champagne Tea Sparrow
W3 Kenya White Rhino JusTea
W4 White Prakash Tea Rebellion
W5 Silver Needle Genuine Tea
W6 Organic Silver Needle Tao Tea Leaf

See the 2018 winners here.

Schedule for Tea Tasters Box 2019

September 30th, 2018 : Vendor submissions due
September to Early October : Taster selection (keep an eye on our social media!)
Mid-October : Tea pickup by tasters
November : Tasting and rating period
November 30th, 2018 : Deadline for taster ratings
January 2019 : Identities of teas revealed, winning teas annnounced

Directions for Tea Tasters

Once you have picked up your box, follow these simple steps.

  1. Try the tea! Use the recommended steeping times below.
  2. Make note of the tea code (ex: P3, H10), and rate the tea in the five criteria – Leaf Appearance, Aroma, Liquor Quality, Flavour, Overall. Rating is 1-10, with 10 being the best.
  3. Share on social media using hashtag #TeaTastersBoxTO.
  4. Once you’ve tasted and rated ALL of your teas, go to the online form printed on the instructions inside the box (it was also emailed to you).
  5. Enter all your ratings and hit submit. Deadline: November 30th, 2018
  6. Keep an eye on our social media to find out the identities of the teas and winners in January 2019.
  7. Pick up all your favorites at the Toronto Tea Festival 2019!

Recommended Steeping Times

While not all teas are the same, here are the recommended steeping times for the various categories of tea. The times can be adjusted based on your preferences.

Tea Category Water Temp Steep Time
Green (G#) 185 F / 85 C 2-4 mins
White (W#) 195 F / 90 C 3-5 mins
Oolong (O#) 195 F / 90 C 4-6 mins
Black (B#) Boiling 3-5 mins
Puer (P#) Boiling 4-5 mins
Herbal (H#) Boiling 5-6 mins

Guide for Tasting

The Toronto Tea Festival strives to enhance the tea experience. To this end, the 2019 Tasters Box rating system has been updated to the following criteria. All are on a scale 1-10, with 10 being the best. The descriptions below are intended to help those new to rating tea. What is considered “best” is personal preference.

Leaf Appearance How do the leaves/flowers look? Did they open during steeping? Are they broken or whole? Is the colouring appropriate?
Aroma How do you find the smell of the steeped tea? Consider strength of aroma, complexity, and overall pleasantness.
Liquor Quality How does the colour of the steeped tea look to you? Are there any tea particles in the cup? How does the tea feel in your mouth? Does it feel “thick” or “light” on your tongue?
Flavour How does the tea taste? The main components of flavor are bitterness, sourness, and sweetness. Does this tea feature one or more of these qualities?
Overall Using the other criteria as a guide, what rating would you give this tea overall?