2016 is about to come to an end, and while there has been a lot of negativity over the past twelve months, there was also a lot of positivity. Sometimes it’s easy to be wrapped up in all of the negative, especially when social media and news outlets give off the perception that the world is ending. In reality, the world isn't ending. You woke up this morning, and you’re still here. So come join me to help celebrate some of the things that helped make 2016 not so bad, and helped make everything right again! This is the best of 2016!
Before I go on to announce the winners, I just want to point out that besides the winner, the nominees are champions as well. The people who won, barely won by a hair’s width, as everyone mentioned here has been a positive influence in the world of tea…
Best Tea Education
The winner of this category has shown what it means to share tea information in the most neutral way possible. Not only did they bring up discussions that were helpful and insightful, they also go out of their way to make sure everyone feels as educated as they can by making their information accessible for any and all readers in the tea community.
This artist is being showcased for excellence in diversity and creativity by creating pottery thats not only tea ware, but also art.
Severo Vostok Om
[link to artist page]
Best Tea Blog
The winner selected has succeeded in making tea literature a pleasant experience, not only for their assessment of a certain tea, but interesting discussion topics that they bring to light. This person pushed the boundaries for their work in tea related content and is recognized for taking the extra step for making the most creative content in 2016.
[Win] Cwyn - Death by Tea
anon - A Tea Addict’s Journal
Pau Murray - Two Dog Tea Blog
Char - The Oolong Owl
Amanda Wilson - Rambling Butterfly Thoughts
Hobbes - The Half Dipper
Georgia - Notes on Tea
The following won for their excellence in sourcing an exceptional oolong for 2016.
• [Win] Yunnan Sourcing recognized for Spring 2016 Chou Shi Dan Cong
• Yunnan Sourcing recognized for Autumn 2016 Competition Grade Tie Guan Yin of Gande Village
• Tea Urchin recognized for 2016 Snow Qing Xin
• Taiwan Sourcing recognized for Spring 2016 Competition King of Jin Xuan Jade Oolong
Best Tea Subscription
This company won for their wide range of variety, education, and value of product given in monthly increments.
[Win] Tea Box Express
Dachi Tea Co.
Excellence in Innovation
The winners creativeness brought a brand new light to the world of tea, and kept exploring new possibilities which became exceptional realities. This company not only did something thats new to the market, they keep motivating their audience in stunning ways.
[Win] Bitter Leaf Teas - Recognized for their photography & customizable pottery
Liquid Proust Teas - Recognized for their rum-barrel aged puer ‘Rummy Pu’
White2Tea - Recognized for their White-Black tea cake blend ‘Hot Brandy’
2016 Internet Community Award
Its an honor to award Char, aka Oolong Owl, the 2016 Internet Community Award. Oolong Owl took it upon herself to start Tea Chat, an IRC chat on Slack and has reached out to help bring more people together. Oolong Owl also takes it upon herself to get involved in the online tea community everywhere she goes, and does it with an open heart.
2016 National Community Award
Crimson Lotus Tea is being awarded with the honorary 2016 National Community Award for excellence in bringing their local community together. Crimson Lotus Tea is ran by the couple Glen and Dawa, who make it their mission to bring exceptional teas to the market. Above all, they try their hardest to welcome as many people as possible with open arms, and do their best to make sure that every tea drinker they meet feels like they’re apart of a bigger family. Glen and Dawa really do set an example of what it means to run a company in 2016 - by being as positive and as friendly as one can be. They not only do this on an interpersonal level, they spread this nationally by the people that they reach…
2016 International Community Award
It’s my pleasure to award Andrew of Liquid Proust Teas with the 2016 International Community Award. Andrew roams through out the tea community and personally reaches out to every one he comes across. Andrew not only invites you to a warm friendship, he personally takes it upon himself to make sure that you have the best tea and knowledge possible. Earlier this year, Andrew took it a step further by donating teas, for free, to those who were new to puer. Later, he started accepting donations to help make sure that everyone has a chance to try tea the right way.
Andrew is known in the the community on an international level, and his passion and love for the community comes from a selfless place in his heart. People like Andrew help made 2016 an amazing year for tea, and has helped connect people from all over the world to the amazing world of tea…
Best Aged Puer
The following is being showcased for their excellence in releasing an exceptional aged puer. This puer was not only clean and in excellent condition, but carried exceptional flavor which was accessible for all tea drinkers.
[Photos by Crimson Lotus Tea]
Best Shou Puer
The following won this award for their excellence in shou puer, and showcased the best in quantity, body, quality, and tasting profile.
[Win] White2Tea recognized for 2015 Pretty Girls
Whispering Pines Tea Company recognized for 2015 Lord of the Lakes
Crimson Lotus Tea recognized for 2000 Old Warrior
Yunnan Sourcing recognized for 2016 Yunnan Souring Green Mark
[Photos by White2Tea]
Best Sheng Puer
The following winner is being recognized for their excellence in sheng puer, by bringing the best in quality, quantity, body, and tasting profile. This tea is a tier of excellence that is rarely brought forth into the market, and is one that definitely stood out above all the rest.
[Win] Bitter Leaf Teas - WMD 2016 Spring Mansa
White2Tea - 2016 Tea Don’t Lie
White2Tea - 2016 Heart of the City
Crimson Lotus Tea - 2016 Beneath an Emerald Sea
Pu-Erh.Sk - 2016 Naka
Crimson Lotus Tea - Slumbering Dragon
[Photos by Bitter Leaf Teas]
Best Puer Production 2016
The winner for this category is being recognized of their work in 2016. The winning company produced the best spring production of puer tea in 2016. They not only produced one incredible tea, they produced many incredible teas that were released in a single setting.
Crimson Lotus Teas
Bitter Leaf Teas
The Essence of Tea
[Photo by Pu-Erh.sk]
Company of the Year
All of the following companies are recognized for their excellent work in 2016. All of these tea companies worked tirelessly to bring you the best teas possible, and without their innovation, the tea community wouldn't be where it is today. These companies are shaping the future of tea as we know it. However, one company stood out just a bit taller than all of the rest. With their ingenious marketing and their delicious teas, it’s an honor to announce that the tea company of the year is…
Crimson Lotus Tea
[Photo by White2Tea]
So there you have it! This has been an incredible year for tea, not only because of those who won, but also because of those who were nominated. Whenever you look back to the year 2016, try not to let the major events in the media suck you in a down spiral of negativity. Remember that the world of tea has brought us all together and has harmonized us all (unless you’re a 30 y/o Californian who claims to have created dragon tea balls, after only the minimal 5 years experience in tea, and take down other companies Instagram accounts in the process - you ass hat we still remember). I advise you all to sit back, take a deep breath, sip some tea, and let yourself get blissfully tea drunk…
[Disclamer - I was not paid by any of the parties nominated or any of the parties that won. Or bribed. It would be nice to be bribed, as I can easily sell my soul for some good gushu. Or Lana Del Rey concert tickets]