INTERNATIONAL TEA AWARDS
THE LEAFIES 2023 RESULTS
HUGE CONGRATULATIONS TO THE WINNERS
320 teas entered from all over the world
12 judges comprising 8 nationalities
Judging in Fortnum & Mason’s Food & Drink Studio
Award Ceremony at Asia House for over 100 guests
25 award-winning teas sampled after the award presentation
Full list of Gold, Highly Commended and Special Award winners below.
UKTA proud to partner with:
The Leafies celebrate the world’s finest loose leaf teas and bring primary tea producers exposure to a global tea focused market.
A selection of this year’s winning teas, including the Fortnum & Mason Best in Show, will be made available at the Rare Tea Counter in Fortnum & Mason’s flagship store.
2023 Awards Ceremony in Pictures
Yame Tea Kumaen – Gyokuro Saemidori
Ocha-no-Kajihara – Koshun Kamairicha Spring 2023
Jantle Group – Ya Shi Xlang
Zen Zen Thé – Red Oolong Tea
Zealong Tea Estate – Aromatic Oolong
Glenburn Fine Tea – Darjeeling Moonshine
Rujani Tea – Tippy Reserve
Lumbini Tea Valley – Sinharaja Wiry Tips
Kagoshima Horiguchi Seicha/Wakoen – Kakuhori Benifuuki Black Tea
Furukawa Seicha – Asahi & Ujihikari
Chaki Co – Chaki Gyokuro
Dorothy’s Teas – Shannon Estate Silver Needles
Chaki Co – All About Ujicha
FUTURE OF TEA: Saitama Prefectural Sayama Technical High School, Japan
GAIA: Jersey Fine Tea, Channel Islands
PIONEER: Beatriz Piñeiro Lago, Tsubaki Diseno, Spain
MAVERICK: PT Harendong, Java Island, Indonesia
TEA FOR LIFE: Amba Tea Estate, Sri Lanka
UKTA LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT: Zealong Tea Estate, New Zealand
FORTNUM & MASON BEST IN SHOW: Yame Tea Kumaen, Gyokuro Saemidori
Long He Tea Company – The King of White Peony
Suzuki Seicha – White Tea
Atelier Sueyoshi Seicha – Furusatonohana Saemidori
Maikonocha Honpo – High Grade JAS Certified Organic Handpicked Sencha Loose Leaf Tea
Suzuki Seicha – Premium Roasted Green Tea
Camelia Unipessoal Lda – Kintsugi Cha
Guang Cheng Xian Gu Tea Company – Guang Cheng Xian Gu Xiang Yang High Fragrant Tea, Green Tea
Toba Wangi Indonesia – Redolent Green Tea
Jantle Group – Feng Huang Shui Xian
CHENGPION Tea House – Creamy Jinxuan Oolong Tea
Wang Family Tea – Lóngfèng Xiá Oolong
Amba Tea Estate – AMBA Uva Oolong
PT Harendong Green Farm – Organic Sukui Oolong Rolled
Wuyishan Jun de Tea Co – Qian Fang Jing Ping
Jay Shree – Darjeeling Turzum Basant Blossom
Jay Shree – Assam Nahorhabi Golden Tips
Mansimble Tea & Estate – Kangra Tea
Tea Studio – Nilgiri Orchid
Amba tea Estate – Amba Tippy Golden Orange Pekoe
Panilkanda Tea Factory – Panilkanda FBOPF EXSP 1
Kahawatte Plantations – Endane Special BOP 1
Sashimacha Yoshida Tea Farm – Izumi 2023 2nd Flush
Ocha-no-Sakaguchien – Natsubeni
Wang Family Tea – Hon Yun Black Tea
Nepal Tea Collective – Rose Label Reserve
Lochan Tea – Doke Black Fusion
Glenburn – Masala Chai
Zealong – Aged Oolong
Chaki Co. – Chaki Matcha
Yame Tea Kumaen – Matcha Saemidori
Forest Hill Tea (Pvt) Ltd – Vanilla Tea Rod
Lumbini Tea Valley – GOLDEN BREAKFAST TEA
RETAIL HIGHLY COMMENDED
Matsushita Tea Garden – Black Tea
Gryphon – Bullseye
The White Heron Tea & Gifts – Lavender & Vanilla White Tea
*New region refers to region that has no tradition of growing tea and the garden has not been producing tea commercially for more than five years.
1WO Other regions
1WN New region
2GSJ Japan (including Hojicha)
2GSO Other regions
2GSN New region
3GPRO Other regions
3GPRN New region
4YO Other regions
5OCLO China Lightly Oxidised
5OCHO China Heavily Oxidised
5OFLO Formosa Lightly Oxidised
5OFHO Formosa Heavily Oxidised
5OOLO Other Regions Lightly Oxidised
5OOHO Other Regions Heavily Oxidised
5ONLO New Region Lightly Oxidised
5ONHO New Region Heavily Oxidised
6BSL Sri Lanka
6BO Other regions
6BN New region
7CLS Chai loose leaf and spice
8JA Jasmine All
DARK TEAS (INCLUDING PUER)
9DTO Age over 5 years (raw/sheng)
9DTU Age under 5 years (raw/sheng)
10PTO Other teas
11STW White scented
11STG Green scented
11STO Oolong scented
11STB Black scented
New for 2023 and open to all retailers who want to enter their most popular teas which are readily available online or instore.
The winning retail teas will not be part of the selection for Fortnum & Mason, however, they will excite interest and generate media coverage in the consumer Lifestyle and Food & Drink press.
13BSBB The BRITA Breakfast Blend Award: unscented black tea blend in the traditional style
13BSEG Earl Grey: either in the traditional style scented with natural bergamot oil or a reinvention using other natural ingredients
13BSG Green Tea: pure or blended green teas
13BSO Oolong Tea: pure or blended oolong teas
13BSW White Tea: pure or blended white teas
13BSB Black Tea: pure or blended black teas
13BSWB Wellness Blend: marketed as a blend that may have a beneficial purpose (eg to aid digestion) but needs to include some Camellia sinensis
13BSHB House Blend: can be a scented blend but must include some Camellia sinensis
13BSRTD Ready to Drink (kombucha, iced tea, cold brews, nitro tea etc)
These Special Awards are dedicated to celebrating the achievements behind the tea. The recipients will be chosen by the judges from the entrants to The Leafies who will not necessarily have won an award for their tea. Each award represents an outstanding commitment to initiatives such as community empowerment, environmental stewardship, innovation, creativity, and education.
The Leafies entry form has a dedicated section for entrants to outline their key initiatives.
TEA FOR LIFE AWARD
The award 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 those putting sustainability at the heart of the farm/estate/garden and demonstrating outstanding environmental stewardship.
MAVERICK TEA AWARD
For the bold, brave, creative tea producers developing successful experimental teas that don’t fall neatly into any category.
UKTA LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
One of The Leafies highest accolades for an estate or individual who is well established, highly respected and has made a significant contribution to the advancement of tea knowledge and appreciation. It embodies the qualities of all the other Special Awards, demonstrating a long term commitment to pioneering tea culture, community initiatives and a tireless dedication to environmental regeneration.
FORTNUM & MASON BEST IN SHOW AWARD
The ultimate tea award chosen from among all the category Gold winners. This is one of the highest scoring teas of the whole week and is voted on by all the judges as the most outstanding tea of The Leafies that year. The tea will generally win on its quality and flavour, but the story behind the teas will also be available to the judges, so in the event of close contenders, this may also have some bearing on their decision. The tea that wins Best in Show will be available to buy from the Fortnum & Mason Rare Tea Counter at their flagship London store.
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 2023.
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
- A minimum 50g of leaf for each tea. If already prepackaged in slightly larger quantities that is acceptable to save repacking.
- 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
Online entries are now open for The Leafies 2023.
Click the Enter Here button on this page to complete the entry form
Details of where to send the teas are in these FAQs Where do I send my tea?
All teas are to be received by 18th September 2023.
You will need some basic information about your company, such as the address and the contact details of the person handling your entry for The Leafies.
You will need to select the correct award category for the tea you are entering.
There is an opportunity to provide specific brewing parameters for the tea/s, the harvest date and brief processing details of your tea, but this is not obligatory and does not have to be in much detail.
You will also have the option to share a short overview of the story behind your tea business.
And you can upload a photograph that represents your tea or your tea business such as the farm, your community, your team or even your packaging.
Finally you need the details of the bank card you are using to pay for your entry.
You can see all the questions in the Entry Form + some guidance in the line below this.
Entries cost £65.00 per tea. On one entry form, you can enter as many teas as you like in the same or different categories.
For a fee of £25.00 per tea you can add the feedback service. This will ensure you receive the average scores on each criterion and the judges comments.
The Special Awards are chosen by the judges, based on details submitted as part of the entry form.
Get in touch with email@example.com if you need help with your entry.
The Awards are now open to receive entries. You should send your tea once you’ve completed your entry form. We advise you to send your tea as soon as possible and not leave it too close to the deadline as it may not arrive in time.
The deadline for completing the online Entry Form has been extended to Monday 18 September 2023. You can send your teas and complete the online entry form up to that date.
The deadline for receiving teas at The Scottish Tea Factory in the UK is Monday 18 September 2023. We will notify you once we have received your tea.
All teas should be sent to:
The Scottish Tea Factory
You should send your teas with a tracking option. The Leafies are not responsible for any teas that do not arrive.
Please ensure that postage includes tracking as we cannot take responsibility for any missing entries.
Send 50g of each tea carefully sealed and packed in protective outer packaging. If you have a pre-packed retail carton holding more than 50g, you can submit that to save repacking.
Each tea entered must be individually labelled with the following information securely attached or printed on the pack
- Name of the organisation that is entering the tea (eg farm/estate/retailer/supplier/wholesaler etc)
- Name of the tea
- The Leafies Category Name and Number for which you are entering the tea
- Ingredients list (if not pure Camellia sinensis ie any blends and RTD)
- Brewing guidelines (optional)
Yes. When we have received your tea, we will notify you via the email you entered in your Entry Form.
There will be one Gold Award in each category for truly exceptional tea. However, if the judges decide that none of the entries achieve a Gold standard, there may not be a Gold awarded in that category.
The judges will determine the number of Highly Commended awards. There is no fixed number or limit to the Highly Commended awards.
- Gold Award winners receive The Leafies Gold Award Trophy.
- Highly Commended winners receive The Leafies Award Certificate in their category.
- All winners receive The Leafies award-winning Gold/Highly Commended retail stickers.
- Winners have the right to use The Leafies award-winning Gold or Highly Commended marque on their website and in their marketing collateral.
- A selection of Gold Award winners from single origin categories will be sold at London’s Fortnum & Mason on the Rare Tea Counter.
- Winning teas will be highlighted in a global tea-focused market with worldwide promotional and networking opportunities.
- Some of the teas will be 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.
- Retail winners, blends and flavoured teas will not be among the selection for the Fortnum & Mason’s Rare Tea Counter which is specifically for small invoices of artisan tea production. We will however deliver a focused marketing campaign to generate exposure for the winning teas in the consumer press.
The Leafies 2023 Awards Ceremony
- The Awards Ceremony will be held at Asia House in central London on 26 October 2023. We hope this allows time for winners to attend in person or find a representative to accept the award on their behalf.
- This year’s winners can offer tastings of their winning teas at the ceremony. Places will be limited and on a first come, first served basis. We will discuss with the winners once the judging is complete and they have been notified.
- The event is open to all, this is a unique opportunity bringing producers, retailers and speciality tea buyers together.
- The ticket price is discounted for entrants to The Leafies. All entrants have been emailed a discount code, do contact us if you need it again.
Date: Thursday 26 October 2023
Venue: Asia House, 63 New Cavendish Street, London W1G 7LP
Time: 2pm – 5.30pm
Book tickets here
Tickets are limited, do book soon to ensure a place.
Meet our expert judges, professionals in their area of expertise and passionate advocates of high grade tea. Judging will be in Oct 2023.
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.
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.
UKTA 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.
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.
UKTA Tea Tutor, Japan
Asako was born and educated in Japan and is a qualified 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 UK Tea Academy. From 2018 she has run the Tea Academy Japan in Tokyo and Kyoto as a Director. She is also a Japanese Tea Ambassador and Kakegawa Tea Ambassador, and hosts many seminars and lectures to introduce Japanese tea to U.K. and Europe. Asako has visited many tea gardens in the world and learned about black, green, white, oolong and fermented teas and published 5 books about tea in Japan. She is also a specialist judge for tea at the Great Taste Awards.
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.
Founder of Postcard Teas, London
Thirty years ago while living in Kyoto, Tim became fascinated by tea culture and started to explore the tea traditions of East Asia. This led him to start importing tea in the late 1990s and to found Postcard Teas in 2005 which works exclusively with small farms across Asia. He has also written several books on tea which have been translated into several languages.
Tea Master, The Ritz Hotel, London
I grew up in Sardinia, working in my father’s bar, where I picked up an interest for blending as blended our coffee beans. I moved to London and started working at the Ritz where I grew curious for tea. After a short course and a trip to Sri Lanka, I enrolled for a tea master course and started travelling to different countries where they grew tea.
I have been the Tea Master of the Ritz London for more than 10 years and I’m in charge of choosing the beautiful teas that we serve to our guests in our famous afternoon tea lounge.
Tea Expertise Director at Lipton Teas and Infusions
Having spent 39 years in the industry, Kurush leads a large global cadre of the company’s specialist tea tasters across 15 countries and is required to protect, nurture, grow and sharpen this skill base. His mantra for his team is to taste, taste, and taste, or as he puts it: ‘Practice makes perfect; so perfect your practice’. He firmly believes that the best way to learn about tea is to taste it. Originally from India, Kurush’s first 20 years there included roles in buying, blending, quality, product development, speciality tea, exports and imports. He then moved to Dubai, spending 8 years in servicing a multitude of regional markets across Africa, Asia and The Middle East in a Tea Procurement, Quality and Supply Chain capacity. The last 10 years have seen him based in the UK, located at the company’s Global Innovation Centre in Bedfordshire where his roles encompass both recipe design and deploy; infusing passion, instilling belief, building capability, and championing a tea culture. As he confesses, ‘Tea is much more than what I do; it is who I am’…..And by a strange quirk of serendipity, even his family name (Bharucha) ends in cha!
UKTA Tea Tutor and Founder of Blends For Friends
Alex trained as a Master Tea Blender at Tetley and now has over 20 years experience as a tasting expert. He started his own company, Blends For Friends in 2006. Alex runs several UKTA Masterclasses on blending and tasting, both online and at the Blends For Friends blendatorium in Kent.
Master Blender - Twinings
Bryony entered the world of tea after finding a role advertised at Twinings for a Trainee buyer whilst searching for a sales position at the company for a friend. During the past fifteen years, Bryony has experienced all areas of global tea buying, spending considerable time at the origins and understanding the intricacies of the supply chain; from the field through to blend development and retailer interaction.
Bryony has spent the last five years deep diving into herbs buying and is now the lead in sourcing new herbal materials for Twinings globally. She is passionate about spreading tea and herbal knowledge across the business and has been fortunate enough to travel widely to host international Masterclasses as well as helping to train the next generation of Master Tea Buyers.
Terms & Conditions
- The Leafies are open to tea farmers, tea estates, suppliers, retailers and organisations producing or handling high quality loose leaf tea and blends.
- Entrant’s teas should be available to buy internationally, even if only in small quantities.
- Entrants should complete an entry form for the tea(s) entered into The Leafies. You can enter multiple teas and multiple categories in one entry form. Teas sent in without a corresponding completed entry form will not be accepted.
- A fee of £65.00 per tea is required to enter your tea into The Leafies. Entrants can select multiple categories, the total cost will be calculated at the end of the form where payments are taken. If your payment does not work for any reason, we will be in touch.
- An additional feedback service is offered at a cost of £25.00 per tea. Entrants who pay to receive feedback will be sent the average score from all the judges on each criterion. Any judges comments on individual teas will also be included as part of the feedback.
- Entrant’s who do not choose the feedback service on the entry form, can apply after the judging has taken place, however the feedback may only comprise the average scores for each criterion, it may not include any judges comments. The fee of £25.00 per tea will still apply.
- All the teas will be prepared by the UKTA’s professional brew team and tasted using professional tea-tasting equipment. Entrants can provide brewing parameters for their teas in a specific section of the entry form. We will endeavour to respect the brewing parameters.
- Entrants are responsible for providing the correct amount of tea (50g) and packaging it carefully so that it is not damaged in transit. The UKTA on behalf of The Leafies is not responsible for any teas that arrive damaged.
- Entrants are responsible for labelling their teas clearly and correctly with the information specified in the FAQs, ‘How to Enter’ section of this webpage. Entrants sending multiple teas must label teas separately with the required details.
- One Gold will be awarded per category where there is a tea the judges consider outstanding. The number of teas awarded Highly Commended is at the discretion of the judges.
- Teas will be judged on taste. If there are several teas at Gold level, information such as the farming process and the story behind the tea may be taken into account in the judging criteria.
- Information on the winning teas such as the background story and any photographs included in the entry form, may be used by The UK Tea Academy for The Leafies marketing materials.
- Your participation in The Leafies means that we will have access to the personal data you supply, e.g. your name and email address, and other data which you submit in relation to your participation in our event. The UKTA will only share data with our sponsorship partners. As a condition of entry, you accept that we have access to and will store your personal data which is relevant for the use of our system and the events you participate in.