The Leafies celebrate the world’s finest loose leaf teas

In partnership with Fortnum & Mason, we are proud to open these new awards to tea farmers, producers, suppliers and retailers.
Your finest teas could win a prestigious Gold or Highly Commended Award.

A selection of winning teas will be sold at Fortnum & Mason’s London store at the Rare Tea Counter.

Put your tea in the spotlight

As a primary tea producer these awards will give you exposure to a global tea-focused market. Suppliers and retailers will be able to differentiate their award-winning teas with the marque of the International Tea Academy Awards: The Leafies. All winners will gain global recognition with some selected to be sold at Fortnum & Mason, London.


Tell the story behind your tea

There are over 30 awards for teas in different categories. Each tea will be evaluated according to a point system to ensure judging criteria stay comparable and consistent each year. Once the entries have been narrowed down to a short list in each category, judges may also consider the background stories of how the teas are grown and processed.

You can also enter, or nominate entries, in the five different Special Awards for those effecting positive change for the environment, the industry or their community.

Expert Judges

Meet our expert judges, professionals in their area of expertise and passionate advocates of high grade tea. Judging will be in Oct 2022.

Ottilie Cunningham, Tea Buyer, Fortnum & Mason
Ottilie Cunningham

Tea Buyer, Fortnum & Mason

Ottilie fell into the world of tea after picking up a discarded copy of The Times on a train, where she spotted an ad for Trainee Tea Buyer at Twinings. Since then, Ottilie has spent the past 18 years in the tea trade and experienced every part of the tea value chain along the way, from grower to producer to retailer, working for brands such as Twinings, Finlays and Fortnum & Mason. As Tea Buyer at F&M, Ottilie is responsible for selecting the finest and most rare teas from across the globe for the iconic luxury retailer.

Juyan Webster

UKTA Tea Tutor, China

Juyan grow up in Zhejiang, China – one of the most important provinces for green tea production and worked with her parents in the family-run tea garden from a young age. In 2002, Juyan came to the UK for study and noticed that there was lack of premium quality teas in the market. So she started The Chinese Tea Company in London in 2010 after finishing the university. Since then she has traveled extensively visiting the tea gardens in China and meeting farmers to purchase the premium teas and learn her tea knowledge from the masters. She leads tea trips to China and hosts courses and private tastings and corporate events in London. She also teaches the Tea Sommelier Chinese tea module and Chinese Tea Masterclass.

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Jane Pettigrew

UKTA Co-founder and Director of Studies

Jane Pettigrew is one of the best-known and most highly respected professionals in the tea world. She has worked as a writer and educator for over 35 years and is tirelessly committed to sharing her knowledge of tea and improving the standards of tea service. She teaches tea masterclasses all over the world and has written 17 books on tea.

In 2014 she was voted Best Tea Educator at World Tea Awards, World Tea Expo, and in January 2016 was awarded the British Empire Medal for services to Tea Production and Tea History in the UK’s New Year Honours list.

Jane’s latest book, Jane Pettigrew’s World of Tea was awarded Best New Product (Publications and Books category) at World Tea Expo 2018 and Best Tea Publication at World Tea Awards, World Tea Expo 2019.

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Chau-Jean Lin

UKTA Tea Tutor, Taiwan

Dr Lin teaches our Taiwanese Tea Masterclass. She started Marulin in London to share teas from her family farm in Taiwan – specialists in Taiwanese Oolong tea.

Marulin’s most recent development has been blending oolong teas in tea bags and creating new tea powders that go beyond matcha.

James Suranga Perera

UKTA Tea Tutor, Sri Lanka

Suranga has had over 20 years’ experience working at the centre of the tea trade in Sri Lanka and possesses an in-depth understanding of the tea and the industry. He worked as a Tea Broker in the Sri Lankan Tea industry for over 20 years. Starting at Forbes and Walker, he then became Vice President of Asia Siyaka Commodity Brokers, before being moving to Ceylon Tea Brokers PLC, where he was appointed COO and then CEO. During this time, he also served on the Sri Lanka Tea Board Tasting Panel representing the Broker community and was a Board Director for the Colombo Brokers Association. He represented the Colombo Brokers Association at the Colombo Tea Traders Association(CTTA) as the Tea Convenor for Tea Brokers and was a member of the initial panel appointed by the Sri Lanka Tea Board to carry out a feasibility study into the E-auction system, which is now in place. Suranga moved to the UK in 2017 and is now a consultant, entrepreneur and tutor on Ceylon tea for the UKTA.

Asako Steward

UKTA Tea Tutor, Japan

Asako was born and educated in Japan and qualified as a Tea Instructor for both black and green tea in Japan. She lived and worked in London for more than 20 years teaching her own British tea and culture courses and also teaching at the UK Tea Academy. From 2018 she set up Tea Academy Japan in Tokyo and Kyoto as a director. She has also been appointed as the Japan Tea Ambassador and Kakegawa Tea Ambassador and holds many seminars and lectures to introduce Japanese tea to the UK and Europe. Asako has visited many tea gardens in the world and has a professional understanding of black, green, white, oolong and fermented teas. She has also published 5 books about tea in Japan.

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Sam Kimmins

UKTA Tea Tutor

Sam has decades of experience as a professional Tea Blender and Buyer and has frequently shared her expertise on TV and radio. She teaches Tea Champion modules.

London Award Ceremony

The Leafies award ceremony will be held at an iconic London venue in October 2022 with live links to the winners who can’t be present. Details follow soon.

“The 2022 International Tea Academy Awards, The Leafies, are the first dedicated UK tea awards to celebrate the astonishing diversity of crafted teas from every tea-producing region in the world. We are thrilled to launch this initiative with our friends at Fortnum & Mason.”

Jane Pettigrew, Co-Founder and Director of Studies at the UKTA


01WN Natural
01WS Scented


02AW Cake or loose


03GSN Natural
03GSS Scented


04GRN Natural
04GRS Scented


05MC Ceremonial
05MB Matcha blends


06CL Loose leaf+ spice
06CP Powdered


07JA All categories


08YN Natural


09OCL Lightly oxidised
09OCH Heavily oxidised
09OCS Scented


10OFL Lightly oxidised
10OFH Heavily oxidised
10OFS Scented


11OORL Lightly oxidised
11OORH Heavily oxidised
11OORS Scented


12BCFN Natural
12BCFS Scented


13BSLN Natural
13BSLS Scented


14BORN Natural
14BORS Scented


15EB Comprising a minimum 10% orthodox tea


16EG Naturally scented


17DRAY Sheng/raw under 5 yrs
17DRAA Sheng/raw) over 5 yrs
17DCO Shou/cooked


18WTB Natural herbal blend must contain Camellia sinensis


19KO Ready to drink




21HB Signature blends from any tea category

These Special Awards are free to enter. Click VOTE on the relevant award to add your nomination. You can vote for as many different nominees as you like. You can also nominate your own garden/estate/farm, but the more support you have from others the better, so spread the word to your network through your social media.

Want to share your tea’s story and encourage votes? Here are some graphics for you to share online and encourage your audience to nominate you for a Leafies special award. Don’t forget to tag us, and good luck!


For the tea farm/estate/garden demonstrating community empowerment, economic regeneration and/or uplifting the welfare of the people dependent on the tea farm/estate/garden for their livelihood.


For an exciting new garden/region/producer demonstrating imagination and innovation in tea cultivation and/or manufacture.


For the farm/estate/garden demonstrating outstanding environmental stewardship.


For the bold, brave, creative tea producers developing successful experimental teas that don’t fall neatly into any category.


A very special award for an individual who is well established, highly respected and has made a significant contribution to the advancement of tea knowledge, understanding and appreciation.


The ultimate tea award chosen from all the category winners.  This is not a comparison of the finest teas but a unanimous vote from the judges on the most outstanding tea of all the winners. One year a tea may win based purely on flavour, but the story behind the teas will be available to the judges so this may also have some bearing on their decision.


The Leafies is open to any tea organisation around the world, from farmers and tea makers to tea suppliers and retailers, anyone can enter the teas they are proud of into The Leafies 2022.

The Leafies showcase carefully crafted teas which bring out the complexities of the leaf and the unique flavours of the terroir.

  • Only loose leaf, no teabags
  • Present as high quality (in most categories retaining the integrity of the whole leaf)
  • Leaves can be processed in a traditional, artisan style or using modern mechanical techniques designed for high grade teas.
  • Contain only natural ingredients
  • Available for worldwide purchase online, even if only in small quantities

You will be sent your entry pack via email in July 2022. This will contain more details on award categories, entry guidelines, application form and payment.

For the tea category awards, entries cost £50.00 per tea. You can enter as many teas as you like but will need to complete a separate entry form for each tea submitted.

Entries for the Special Awards are free. You can nominate yourself or others.

You can register you interest at any time but your teas must arrive by 30th September 2022 to enter The Leafies. Get in touch with jo@theleafies.uk to discuss your entry.

You should send your tea as soon as you’ve completed your application form. The window for completing applications and sending teas is from 20th July-30th September 2022.

All teas should be sent to:

The Scottish Tea Factory
United Kingdom

Send 50g of each tea carefully sealed and packed in protective outer packaging. Please ensure that postage includes tracking as we cannot take responsibility for any missing entries.


Each entry needs to be accompanied by a description of all of the ingredients and specific brewing guidelines (a print out form will be provided in the entry pack).

Yes. We will notify you via email when we have received your tea.

  • Brand exposure in a global tea-focused market
  • Worldwide promotional and networking opportunities
  • An association with world renowned Fortnum & Mason
  • An opportunity to have your teas included in the UK Tea Academy (UKTA) training courses, the UK’s leading professional tea educational body
  • All winners have their names and background stories published on the UKTA website, broadcast in social media posts and in on-going marketing
  • All winners receive The Leafies award category certificate
  • Gold Award winners receive The Leafies trophy and will have trees planted in their garden, estate or brand name
  • All winners receive The Leafies award-winning Gold/Highly Commended retail stickers
  • All winners have the right to use The Leafies award-winning Gold/Highly Commended marque on their website and in their marketing collateral.

Yes. The ceremony will be held in October at an iconic London venue (TBA). A live link to stream the ceremony will be provided to any winners who can’t be there in person.

The International Tea Academy Awards: The Leafies, are proud to be in partnership with