Quietly the 2021 Tasmanian Fine Food Awards judging and awards passed by in early July. We choose to support these awards because 4 years ago the Royal Agricultural Society of Tasmania recognised the special significance of tea and created a seperate category for tea within their beverage schedule. We think that this action deserves commendation and support by the Australian tea industry to continue growing the demand for leaf tea.
We were delighted with the news that the 2 Japanese teas we submitted received Silver medals. The reality with these awards is that full credit is to be given to our Japanese tea makers. We love working with our Japanese farmers and being able to share their teas with our Australian customers. Seeing them hold their own amongst many other teas available domestically is fantastic!
Early in The Steepery Tea Co's life we chose to showcase and advocate primarily for the natural, true and pure character of tea making. Where we recognise that these teas require significant care and attention to produce. And we celebrate the tea makers dedication and persistence to their craft working with land, soil, cultivar, tea plant, processing and unique flavour impression in developing the final product. All of these aspects take time (years of experiments), knowledge and exceptional skill.
It is not an easy task for these pure leaf teas to compete for attention in a world where many consumers elevate tea blending as a 'value-add' in the supply chain. As many of you know I have no problems with blended or flavoured teas. They have a role to play in growing the wider tea market. But I hope that consumers don't think for a second that these pure leaf teas that I showcase are comparable to commodity tea sitting on the supermarket shelves.
It would be a shame for consumers to believe that being able to create a delicious and enjoyable tea from a single tea garden with a specific type of tea plant (cultivar) is easy. Nor is coming back year on year to perfect that process over and over again less exciting and inspirational.
It still surprises me that when I share that I operate a tea business that people immediately ask whether I blend the teas myself. As though, tea leaves in themselves are uninteresting and always need something to lift them. This makes me more determined to keep curating and working closely with our tea farmers to share their stories, learn more about tea to better articulate value and help people understand and appreciate the natural, the pure and the magic when the tea plant and a brilliant tea maker cross paths!
So now, here are the fabulous teas and tea makers that were awarded medals!
🍃 TEA & TISANES CLASS 225 Tea - Black Camellia Sinensis (single origin or blend) Silver medal. Mirai Wakocha made by Mr Masui. Take a look here.
🍃TEA & TISANES CLASS 227 Tea - Green Camellia Sinensis (single origin or blend) Silver Medal. Kuritawase Sencha made by the Watanabe family. Learn more here.
The full schedule from the 2021 Tasmanian Fine Food Awards can be found here.
Follow my next 2 blog posts to learn more about these tea makers!