For the second consecutive year, Gourmet Selection is hosting the Tea Masters Cup France.
Tea Masters Cup is an international competition between tea professionals (Tea Masters), created to promote the development of strong cultural traditions relating to tea consumption, identify new promising players and support their development, and foster exchange and experience sharing between industry professionals. It aims to shine a spotlight on the product and quality of service in places of consumption to promote the image of tea to consumers.
Tea Masters Cup consists of four categories:
- Tea Preparation
- Tea Pairing
- Tea Tasting
- Tea Mixology
Tea Masters France invites competitors to compete in two categories: Tea Mixology and Tea Pairing.
Competitors in these categories will be required demonstrate their skill of presenting tea with a light snack.
Participants may use any tea they wish (i.e. a product made from the leaves and buds of Camellia Sinensis) using any preparation method and any flavours.
Compositions will be judged on their finesse, visual appeal, taste, presentation, replicability, adaptation and the time taken to make it.
LOOK BACK ON THE 2018 EDITION
1 theme: Terroir and Season
2 categories and 4 tests:
- Tea Preparation (one freestyle and one fixed test)
- Tea Pairing (one freestyle and one fixed test)
2 master classes:
- Quality of water for tea, with Carine Baudry for Brita France
- Temperature of water for tea, with Lauren Pascault for Riviera & Bar
WINNERS IN 2018 :
Tea Pairing category: Florian Aumaire
Having worked in sales, training and special events at Palais des Thés, he became an associate at Parti du Thés where he develops tasting workshops, pairing teas with cheeses, flavours, etc.
In this category, the competitor must offer a light snack together with a tea. In the freestyle test they have free rein, but the mandatory test this year specified a Sri Lankan black tea and at least two of the following ingredients: fig, plum, walnut and squash. These specifications were revealed one week before the competition.
Tea Preparation category: Léonard Ploton
The youngest competitor at 23 years of age, he has been a tea enthusiast for five years; between his academic studies and a job as a sales assistant at L’Autre Thé, his journey along the tea road has only just begun.
In this category, the competitor must demonstrate their interpretation of tea brewing and presentation. In the freestyle test they have free rein, but the mandatory test specified a Sri Lankan black tea and water prepared by Brita France. It was the opportunity to take the judges on a journey of a personalised tea ceremony.
MEMBERS OF 2018 JUDGING PANEL:
Lydia Gautier, head judge
An agronomical engineer specialising in comparative agriculture and agricultural development, she worked in French and South American vineyards before specialising in tea nearly 15 years ago as a consultant, trainer and author. She contributed to the establishment of the Palais des Thés Tea School (école des thés) which she then led and supervised. Today she has focussed on writing and on a range of consultancy assignments.
Carine Baudry, assistant judge
Carine Baudry has been a flavourist and a tea and infusion expert for more than 15 years, developing a pedagogical method placing the olfactive approach at its centre. Today she heads La QuintEssence, a centre for training and advisory services in sensorial expertise. She works with chefs to incorporate tea in French gastronomy and travels regularly to tea producing countries in search of high quality crus.
Olivier Scala, director at George Cannon
A representative of the fifth generation of a tea importing family, he began his career in tea at the age of 25, learning the skills of tea tasting and purchasing from his father. The independent family company developed thanks to its top-end teas. In 1988 he became President of the “Comité Français du Thé”, a position he still occupies, and was behind the creation of the Paris Tea Festival in 2005. He also delivers lectures at the Université du Thé and in various hotel schools.
A translator and interpreter of Chinese and a graduate of the Institut des Langues Orientales, she has devoted many years to China and its 10,000 teas. She wrote a dissertation on tea agronomics in 1985 and the book L’Empire du thé - Le guide des thés chinois in 2017. Also a tea adviser and training consultant, she has worked with leading retail brands for the past 30 years and travels to Asia several times a year to meet planters and producers of new teas.
Ludovic Coutière, a teacher at Ferrandi hotel school
Antoine Stévy, a teacher at Ferrandi hotel school