What is a National Tea Competition in Japan?

What is National Tea Competition?

The tea competitions & appraisals are hosted annually for the purposes of improving the cultivation standards and quality of tea (especially green tea). Every year there're 3 major tea competitions in Japan: Kansai Tea appraisal (関西茶品評会), Kyoto Prefecture Tea appraisal (全国お茶まつり京都大会), National Tea Competition & Awards (全国茶品評会). The national tea competition is the most formal, scaled, and authoritative event. When saying competition grade tea, it needs to participate the competition and have been ranked at least top 30 (out of hundreds of candidates). The top 6 will be awarded by Government Officials, and the top 3 will be awarded by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry & Fisheries, which is the highest award & achievement one can receive.

Tea Categories:

Sencha 普通煎茶

Deep Steamed Sencha 深蒸し煎茶

Kabuse-Cha かぶせ茶

Gyukuro 玉露

Tencha てん茶

Guri-Cha 蒸し製玉緑茶/ぐり茶

Kamairi-cha 釜炒り茶

Award Group Categories:

Individual (independent tea farm)

Group farms

Collective farms

Producing region

Most awarded tea kind

 

Criteria:

The main criteria for the tea appraisal and competition:

1. Appearance (shape of the tea leaves)

2. Aroma

3. Color of Brewed Tea

4. Taste

5. Color of Dry Tea

The total score is 200. Over 20 professional judges & tea masters will taste and evaluate all teas using the same brewing methods (volume, quantity & temperature control). Procedures and criteria are clearly standardized and strictly monitored throughout the evaluation. The judges will take notes and put down the score of each category. 

Judges also take cultivars, processing methods into consideration; however organic certification does not take into consideration. It will be competing with regular conventional teas.

Matcha does not have a category of its own - Matcha is evaluated in the form of Tencha, which is the processed tea leaves prior to being ground into fine powder. The quality of tencha directly reflects the quality of its powdered form.

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