TOTUS Awards

U.S. teas get competitive, with first-ever national awards

Earlier this month, growers put their teas to the test in the first ever Tea of the United States awards.

The event was hosted in the state of Hawaii on the Big Island. The island is home to many flourishing tea growers, including the event’s organizer, Eva Lee of Tea Hawaii & Company. The competition was co-funded by the Hawaii County Office of Research and Development, and comes during a time of growth in the US grown tea industry.


The event was hosted in Volcano, HI on the tea-abundant island of Hawai’i (the Big Island).

Only teas grown on US soil were allowed to enter the competition. Teas were evaluated by a panel of professional tasters, based on industry standards of excellence.

Two USLTG members won awards for their teas. Congratulations to:
David Bromwich (2nd Place Green Tea, 1st Place Oolong Tea in non-commercial division) and
Jason McDonald (1st Place Green Tea, 1st Place Black Tea in non-commercial division).

See the full list of awards from TOTUS.

All 4 winnings teas from the USLTG’s ranks were grown by Jason McDonald in Brookhaven, Mississippi. The farm has had the guidance of fellow USLTG founding member Nigel Melican and tea researchers from Mississippi State University. Growers from Hawaii won most of the awards, although another tea from the mainland, from Golden Feather Tea in California, won accolades.

Along with the TOTUS awards, a tea event was hosted for the public to help spread tea education and promote tea businesses.

The TOTUS awards remind us that the US Grown Industry is moving forward, and that US Grown Tea can now begin to take its place among the quality teas and origins of the world. Tea is an art and a science, taking dedicated growers, crafters, and supporters to truly make it flourish.



Tea research is happening – help support it!

Agriculture is important in the United States, and we are lucky to have many academic and government institutions that support it. Without them, it would be much more challenging to be a farmer in the United States, where you need to be equipped with information.

What tea growers need in the US right now is more information about their crop, Camellia sinensis. Academic research can help growers find solutions for plant diseases, choose tea cultivars, and examine various agricultural techniques. You can help make this happen!

This year, researchers from universities across the country are writing USDA federal grants that could fund 5 years of tea research. An grant written earlier this year was rejected, but not without a very positive response from the evaluation. With this positive response, and your help, they can resubmit the grant.

Read more about the grant from research associate Judson LeCompte, and email Judson ( or Dr. Bi from the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences ( to see how you can help with your Letters of Support. 

Deadline: December 3, 2015