The Lugu Farmers' Association Dong Ding Oolong Tea Competition was the first modern tea industry competition to be established in Taiwan in 1976, and has been the primary model for other competitions to follow.
In the initial phases of the judging process, the teas are categorized into four levels of quality: A,B,C, and D. By the end of the initial phase, those entries that fall into the D category (up to 45% of the total entries!) are disqualified from the competition. Those rated in the C category (roughly 20% of the total entries) are given the grade of two plum blossoms and are marketed at a significant margin above the standard regional market price. Those in the B category (about 15% of the total entries) are given the grade of three plum blossoms and can be sold for significantly more than their two blossom competitors.
The remaining A category (about 20%) qualifies for further judging and ranking by the senior team of judges. From this category, approximately 5% will be removed from the A category by the senior judges to receive a three plum blossom ranking. The final 15% or so of total entries will be ranked among 3rd Class (8%), Second Class (5%), and First Class (頭等 － 2%) with only the remaining top ten of the First Class entries along with the Champion Prize Winning Tea to be ranked.
Above is a snapshot of the final stage of judging being conducted by our most respected tea professionals in Taiwan. Each of these individuals has generously offered their time and expertise on numerous occasions, accommodating our questions about their work. Respect!
Pictured above is our friend and source of some of our most popular tea selections receiving 3rd Place Prize (頭等貳) in last year's competition. We were offered the opportunity to share this Award Winning Tea at that time, and we look forward to the opportunity to share another Top10 Award Winning Tea again — perhaps in the weeks to come!
Here is a shot of what a typical Tea Competition Fair looks like, following the Award Ceremony. This is when participants in the competition have the opportunity to sell directly to retail customers who attend the event, facilitated by the Farmers' Association following each spring and winter tea competition.
And for a historic perspective, here is a birdseye view of the competition fair with the landmark of Dong Ding Mountain in the background, viewed from the Lugu Farmers' Association.
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