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For Immediate Release

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Winners Of The North American Tea Championship Hot Tea Category Represent Tradition & Innovation

Competition Reveals the Best Quality Teas from the 2012 Spring Harvest

LAS VEGAS, Nev. (Aug. 17, 2012)– The North American Tea Championship (NATC) named 17 first-place winners in various categories during its Hot Tea evaluation for spring 2012, held July 30- Aug. 1 in Las Vegas, Nev. at the headquarters of World Tea Media, organizer of the event. The Championship is the only independent competition, judged by professional cuppers, to distinguish the highest quality and best tasting teas that are commercially available in the North American marketplace. Some of the winning companies will be featured at the upcoming World Tea East, Oct. 2 - 3 in Philadelphia, Pa. at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

NATC Cupping Coordinator Mo Sardella, of The G.S. Haly Company, said, "The NATC Hot Tea competition for spring 2012 was a tremendous success, and continued the momentum of previous competitions. As the tea industry continues to grow and evolve, so does the quality and diversity of the teas that find their way to the NATC judges' table."

More than 200 teas were entered into the competition, and a team of experienced tea professionals methodically cupped each tea. Judges evaluated every submission via blind and organoleptic analysis, including leaf appearance, flavor, body, color, aroma, clarity, mouth feel and balance. An overall numerical value on a 100-point scale was then calculated based on the ratings of each characteristic, and winning teas were determined by rank. The North American Tea Championship Hot Tea Class is evaluated twice a year --- July for spring teas and February for fall teas.

"Unlike any other sector in the food and beverage industry, specialty tea offers the greatest diversity in origin, manufacturing styles, tradition and innovation," noted Sardella. "Furthermore, teas and herbs are some of the most subjectively appreciated beverages in the world. As the specialty tea industry continues to grow, it is more vital than ever for NATC to be known as the central source for quality tea evaluation and classification in North America."

A complete list of first, second and third-place winners, as well as details on the Championship, is available at www.teachampionship.com. Some of the teas can be sampled at World Tea East; visit www.WorldTeaEast.com. The next North American Tea Championship takes place November 2012 --- a brand new evaluation for tea bags. Details will be announced.

NATC's Hot Tea spring 2012 harvest evaluation winners include (company, tea and category):

Chado-En DBA The Taste of Tea, Sakura Karigane Organic - Blended Green Tea
Teasource, Jasmine Silver Needle - Blended White Tea
QTrade Teas & Herbs, Ceylon Orange Pekoe - Ceylon
Florapharm Tea USA LP, Organic Darjeeling "Jungpana" Wonder Muscatel - Darjeeling
International Tea Importers, Organic Pu-erh Tea - Dark Puer
Black Tusk Trading Co. Ltd, West Lake Dragonwell (Pre Qing Ming) - Dragonwell
Florapharm Tea USA LP, "Summer Passion" - Flavored Fruit Blends
Tea & Beyond Llc Dba Teagschwendner, Asian Pear - Flavored Green Tea
Dethlefsen & Balk Inc., Sunny Herbs No. 22948 - Flavored Herbal Blends
Qtrade Teas & Herbs, Bollywood Mango - Flavored White Tea
Silk Road Teas, Jinggu Grade One Mao Cha - Green Puer
Sipping Streams Tea Company, Imperial Matcha - Matcha
Osulloc, Osulloc Illohyang - Pan-Fired Green Tea
World of Tea - Le monde du thé Sencha, Maroyaka - Sencha
QTrade Teas & Herbs, Verdant Summer - Steamed Green Tea
MarketSpice, Six-Herb - Unflavored Herbal Blends
Teas Etc, Bai Mu Dan Superior Organic - White Tea

Notable Improvements & Surprises

"In past NATC evaluations, the Puer category rarely exceeded judges' expectations of quality and variation as the category should reflect," shared Sardella. However, he noted that this year's offerings showed an eclectic range of puer, representing all sub-categories of the type --- green and dark, loose leaf and compressed. "It seems evident that the increased demand for puer teas in the West has sparked demand for increased variety and enhanced quality out of Yunnan, China," he said.

"This year's Darjeeling entrants also showcased the ever-widening spectrum of creative, non-traditional outturns available to consumers," added Sardella. "And this year's White Tea category was by far the most surprising of the competition. Similar to Darjeeling with regard to boundary-pushing leaf styles, flavors and textures, the White Tea category represented the greatest diversity of manufacturing origins, including China, India, Sri Lanka, Hawaii, Malawi and Nepal. Also noteworthy, the Matcha tea category showed an overall improvement this year, as notably fresher and higher quality ceremonial-grade teas were represented this year than in years before."

Tradition & Innovation at NATC

According to Sardella, a topic discussed by judges at this evaluation --- as well as at other NATC competitions --- is the balance of tradition and innovation within specialty tea. "More non-traditional tea types and origins are being entered into once traditional categories, challenging the judges to further define tea types," he said. "Judges' interpretations of leaf appearance, flavor and mouth-feel, stirred up healthy discussion about the importance of creating a venue for both tradition and innovation for North American tea consumers. While this topic may be controversial to some, the NATC judges look forward to these discussions as they're much-needed in the tea industry, to understand and appreciate quality for what it is rather than what it is expected to be. Thus, the NATC remains a place where traditional tea standards and innovative non-traditional tea concepts can be judged through a common methodology --- all in the pursuit of quality, balance and uniqueness."

About the North American Tea Championship

The North American Tea Championship (NATC) is produced by World Tea Media, a division of F+W Media, Inc. NATC is an independent event, judged by professional cuppers, that evaluates premium teas from around the world that are sold in North America. The annual Championship is made up of two classes: Hot Tea and Iced Tea. Each class consists of its own categories and judging panel. The Hot Tea Class is evaluated twice a year: February for fall teas and July for spring teas. The Iced Tea Class is evaluated once a year. Winners of the Tea Championship are announced after each respective evaluation. For more information, visit

About World Tea Media

World Tea Media, a division of F+W Media Inc., is an integrated media company dedicated to providing business solutions to the global tea industry. Events include the annual World Tea Expo, the largest and most prominent event for the industry, and World Tea East, the regional event for the northeast, mid-Atlantic and southeast United States. World Tea Media also produces the North American Tea Championship and World Tea News. The North American Tea Championship is the only professional and independent competition that distinguishes the highest quality and best tasting teas commercially available in the North American marketplace. World Tea News is an online portal that offers in-depth news, features and business insight for the global tea industry. World Tea Media is headquartered in Las Vegas, Nev. www.worldteamedia.com

About F+W Media, Inc.

F+W Media is a community-focused, content creator and marketer of products and services for enthusiasts. The Company offers a diversified portfolio of books, ebooks, magazines, events, competitions, ecommerce, education, video and more. The Company serves 20 different markets, including writing, fine art, genealogy, antiques and collectibles, design, outdoors and horticulture. Its growing portfolio includes print and online properties, free and for-fee subscription sites, educational programs, competitions and events. www.fwmedia.com