Jocilyn’s Top 100

Kuki-cha Twig Tea (Light of Day Organics) ~ loose leaf by Jocilyn Mors is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

It’s been over a year since I posted my first “Top 100” tea list (although, at the time I could only scrape together a Top 50), and it feels like the kind of thing that ought to be refreshed annually. Naturally i couldn’t find the Excel spreadsheet I’d used the first time around and had to start from scratch. However, the added work actually ended up being to my benefit as it forced me to completely redesign the list. There were a few issues from the Top 50 I was able to eliminate this year: Unlike last time, all the teas on the list with exception of maybe one were rated using either my 7 point scale or my new 8 point scale. One problem with the 7 point scale that kept cropping up as you’ll see, was the frequency of times I’d give a tea the exact same score as other teas in the same style without realizing it, due to averaging by mean. By adding an eighth category, the likelihood of a tie diminishes (though that wasn’t the initial purpose). My hope is that next year we can push the 9 teas that all scored a flat 92 off the bottom of the chart. ;)

Part of this redesign work was done with an eye toward furthering the ability to compare apples to apples at a glance. To that end, I’ve broken the list into groups where the rating either falls squarely on an integer, or rounds up or down to that integer for better comparison. Instead of a giving props to the winner of a certain style (there are simply too many styles listed at this point), I’ve tried to make the style/terroir and growing region easier to browse. Additionally, there are a few teas you’ll find omitted from the original Top 50–in some cases too much information was unverifiable and in others i really wanted to eliminate teas that had never ended up as a published blog post.

Legend note: I left the region blank for Pu-erh as the only real Pu-erh that exists is from Yunnan, China (in other words, to write “Yunnan, Pu-erh” is a redundant eyesore). Similarly, the only tea that is grown in Assam is Black tea (believe it or not though, it isn’t necessarily redundant to say “Uji Green”). If you’re unfamiliar with a growing region, i encourage you to click-through to the corresponding page and learn a bit about it.

Finally, in the case of rating ties (and there are a lot), I’ve chosen to list them by vendor and tea name alphabetically, rather than attempt to rank them using biased personal opinion. The whole concept of rating teas based on an arbitrary number 1 to 100 for any category is inherently subjective opinion (with the help of a great deal of research mind you) on my part anyway–picking favorites among ties feels redundant and embarrassing.

What’s the takeaway? I’d say Vendor of the Year this time goes to Light of Day Organics, who managed to snag 6 seats in the top 50, including the second highest tea ever rated on this blog! What’s even more impressive? Most of those were products Angela grew herself… in Michigan (if you’ve ever been to India or the Orient, you’ll wonder how such a thing might be remotely possible). Some of the teas on the lower-rated half of this list have supposedly been carefully crafted over centuries; Angela has perfected some of these products in less than 13 years. On top of all that, LODO just wrapped up its first successful year as the chosen tea vendor for University of Michigan Cafés (and my business meetings have never been more pleasant ;).  Well done Light of Day Organics!

 

Photograph of Kuki-cha Twig Tea (Light of Day Organics) ~ loose leaf by Jocilyn Mors is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Creative Commons License
LODO tea that impresses me the most? by Jocilyn Mors is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

 


 

 

Rank Rating Vendor Tea Region Style
100 None as yet
99 None as yet
98 None as yet
1 97 Eli Tea Gyokuro Uji Green
2 96.28 Light of Day Organics Yunnan Gold Yunnan Black
3 95.71 Eli Tea 100 Monkeys Hunan White
4 95.57 By The Pound Mangalam Assam Super Premium Assam Black
5 95.57 Eli Tea Peach White Zhejiang White
6 95.42 Arbor Teas Makaibari Estate Silver Tips Darjeeling White
7 95.42 Light of Day Organics Rest Assured North America Tisane
8 95 Elmwood Inn Bourbon Black Blend North America CTC Blend
9 95 TranquiliTea Peachy Keen White Fujian White
10 95 Upton Tea Imports Margaret’s Hope FTGFOP Tippy Darjeeling Black
11 94.85 Eli Tea Lapsang Souchong Fujian Black
12 94.71 Steepster Laos Black #5 South East Asia Black
13 94.66 Nishida Haruka Zono Gyokuro Uji Green
14 94.57 Arbor Teas Assam Tonganagoan Estate Assam
15 94.57 Goldfish Tea Shai Qing Beencha 2003 Pu-erh
16 94.57 Upton Tea Imports Pre-Chingming Yin Hao Yunnan Green
17 94.5 Numi Basil Mint Pu-erh Pu-erh
18 94.42 Arbor Teas Hawaii Sweet Roast North America Green
19 94.42 By The Pound Royal Gold Yunnan Black
20 94.42 Goldfish Tea Anji White Zhejiang White
21 94.42 Goldfish Tea Golden Sail 2003 Pu-erh
22 94.42 Tea Source Guangxi Special Black Guangxi Black
23 94.28 Brodie’s Scottish Teatime UK CTC Blend
24 94.28 Eli Tea Darjeeling Summer Darjeeling Black
25 94.28 Eli Tea Nepal Jun Chiyabari Nepal Black
26 94.28 Hibiki-an Organic Sencha Superior Uji Green
27 94.28 TeaGschwendner Vietnam Yen Bai OP Organic South East Asia Black
28 94.14 Charleston Tea Plantation Wadmalaw Island Green North America Green
29 94.14 Eli Tea Colorado Lavender Folgate North America Tisane
30 94.14 Light of Day Organics Vanilla Heaven Assam
31 94.14 TeaHaus Ceylon FOP Ratnapura Ratnapura Black
32 94.14 TeaHaus Hong Cha Java South East Asia Black
33 94.14 Upton Tea Imports Organic Haputale OP Uva Black
34 94.14 Upton Tea Imports Organic Sencha Fukamushi Kagoshima Green
35 94.14 Upton Tea Imports Tai Mu Long Zhu Fujian Green
36 94 Kilogram Tea Shincha Tamagawa Shizuoka Green
37 94 Light of Day Organics Relaxation Blend North America Tisane
38 94 Light of Day Organics Sweet Dreams North America Tisane
39 94 TranquiliTea Ceylon Dayagama Estate Nuwara Eliya Black
40 93.87 Chado Tea Room Signature Tai Ping Hou Kui Anhui Green
41 93.85 Arbor Teas Korea Woojeon Korea Green
42 93.85 Simpson & Vail Nepal Emerald Green Nepal Green
43 93.71 Rishi Ruby Taiwan Black
44 93.71 Simpson & Vail Nepal Sakhira Estate 1st Flush Nepal Black
45 93.71 Simpson & Vail Vietnam Green Organic South East Asia Green
46 93.66 Upton Tea Imports Sencha Saemidori Superior Kagoshima Green
47 93.57 Arbor Teas Bancha Japan Green
48 93.57 Light of Day Organics Kuki-cha Twig Tea North America Green
49 93.57 Steven Smith No. 8 Mao Feng Shui Zhejiang Green
50 93.42 DavidsTea Silk Dragon Jasmine Jiangxi Green
51 93.42 Hibiki-an Organic Matcha-iri Genmaicha Uji Green
52 93.42 Simpson & Vail Blackwood Estate Green Or Uva Green
53 93.28 Art of Tea Black Peony Anhui Display Tea
54 93.28 Eli Tea Kyoto Sencha Rose Festival Uji Green
55 93.28 Upton Tea Imports Risheehat SFTGFOP1 Darjeeling Black
56 93.14 Metropolitan Tea Co. Decaf Irish Breakfast UK CTC Blend
57 93.14 Simpson & Vail Ceylon Lover’s Leap Estate Nuwara Eliya Black
58 93.14 Tea Source Ceylon Lumbini Estate Matara Black
59 93.12 Itoen Oi Ocha w/ Wakame Wakakuki Shizuoka Green
60 93 Goldfish Tea Yellow Mountain Mao Feng Anhui Green
61 93 TeaGschwendner Ceylon OP Nuwara Eliya Nuwara Eliya Black
62 93 Upton Tea Imports Huo Shan Huang Ya Anhui Yellow
63 92.85 Art of Tea Bao Zhong High Grade Taiwan Oolong
64 92.85 By The Pound Ying Ming Yunnan Extra Fancy Yunnan Black
65 92.85 Rishi Jade Cloud Hubei Green
66 92.85 TeaHaus Green Ceylon OP Uva Green
67 92.71 Goldfish Tea Butterfly Long for Flower Yunnan Display Tea
68 92.57 Goldfish Tea Bi Lo Chun Jiangsu Green
69 92.57 Goldfish Tea Gold Screw Jasmine Anhui Green
70 92.5 Silk Road Teas Fo Cha Buddhist Tea Zhejiang Green
71 92.42 By The Pound Ambootia Estate FTGFOP Darjeeling Black
72 92.42 Goldfish Tea Crab Leg Fujian Oolong
73 92.28 DavidsTea Gold Rush Fujian White
74 92.28 DavidsTea Wild Black Yunnan Yunnan Black
75 92.28 TeaVana Huang Shan Mao Feng Reserve Anhui Green
76 92.14 TeaVana Darjeeling de Triomphe 1st Flush Darjeeling Black
77 92.14 Upton Tea Imports Formosa Tung-Ting Jade Taiwan Oolong
78 92.14 Upton Tea Imports Khima Full Moon Delight Nepal Black
79 92.14 Upton Tea Imports Loolecondera Estate Ceylon Pekoe Kandy Black
80 92 By The Pound Organic Nilgiri Korakundah OP Nilgiri Black
81 92 DavidsTea Nepal Black Nepal Black
82 92 Eli Tea Hawaiian Black Cliff North America Black
83 92 Goldfish Tea Wild Lover Yunnan Display Tea
84 92 Numi White Rose Fujian White
85 92 Republic of Tea Good Hope Vanilla South Africa Rooibos
86 92 TeaVana Dragonwell (Lung Ching) Zhejiang Green
87 92 Upton Tea Imports Pan Long Yin Hao Zhejiang Green
88 92 Upton Tea Imports Ceylon BOP Dimbula Black
89 92 Whittard Green Jasmine Fujian Green
90 91.85 TeaGschwendner Japan Bancha Shizuoka Green
91 91.28 Arbor Teas Five Peaks Green Dew Hubei Green
92 91.28 Eli Tea Organic China Green Fujian Green
93 91.28 TeaGschwendner Darjeeling Steinthal 1st Flush FTGFOP1 Darjeeling Black
94 91.28 TeaVana Jeju Island Green Korea Green
95 91.14 Elmwood Inn Blueberry Infusion North America Tisane
96 91 TeaGschwendner China Keemun Finest Chuen Cha Anhui Black
97 90.85 Eli Tea Three Flower Burst Yunnan Display Tea
98 90.85 Spice Merchants Mim Estate 1st Flush Darjeeling Black
99 90.71 Goldfish Tea Ku Ding Guangxi Tisane
100 90.57 Upton Tea Imports Heirloom Yunnan Yellow Buds Yunnan Yellow

 

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