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First independent tea tasting a huge success

Tea Extravaganza 2009, the first independent tea tasting of its kind, was successfully completed at the Drake Hotel in Chicago on August 10th and 11th. Similar to a fine wine tasting, the two-day event was unanimously hailed by registrants as extraordinary after tasting 14 of the finest, rarest, and most exquisite loose-leaf teas the world over. Tea Extravaganza 2009 attracted aficionados from all over the U.S. and Canada, including two from London and several certified tea masters. The event was co-sponsored by the Drake Hotel and the American Tea Masters Association.

What made Tea Extravaganza 2009 so unique was its independent structure. Neither of its co-sponsors, the Drake Hotel nor the American Tea Masters Association, were promoting or selling any of the teas. The event was purely an experiential gathering for sampling three steepings each of the 14 high-end, exquisite teas.

The tea menu was personally prepared by Chas Kroll, Certified Tea Master and Executive Director of the American Tea Masters Association. “We taste-tested and evaluated well over 200 loose-leaf teas over the past three months. We followed the tasting protocol used by the association for training new tea masters,” according to Kroll. “Several of the teas on the menu are harvested by hand on only one day of the year or during a very short timeframe. This is important due to the influence of the terroir and growing conditions affecting their rarity, similar to fine wines, which explains why they retail for $100 to $400 a pound.” The teas on the menu were all donated to the association by major tea vendors such as: PeLi Teas, Tea Gschwendner, Keiko-tea, Metropolitan Tea, and Cloudwalker Specialty Teas.

Of the 14 teas on the menu, Tenbu (Keiko), Oriental Beauty (Cloudwalker), Melon Slice (PeLi), Jun Shan Yin Zhen Silver Needle (PeLi), and the 1996 Collector’s Pu-erh Super Grade (PeLi) received the greatest praise from registrants.

As for the future, the American Tea Masters Association is giving serious consideration to launching Tea Extravaganza 2010 in four major North American cities next year, including one in Canada.

by S. C.
28 august 2009, Food & Fun > Travel

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