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Published, Apr 24, 2017

Introducing the Ceremony Cup Competition

Announcing the inaugural Ceremony Cup - a collaboration of spirits and tea. 

This year marks the launch of a new competition, Ceremony Cup. Pitched as the Coffee In Good Spirits of the tea world, the competition will see the country's top tea brewers and bartenders battle it out in three rounds, devised to test brewing skills, service and ingenuity in cocktail making. Here Dan O'Regan writes about the concept, the format and how to get involved.

Competition date & time: 6pm, Friday 26 May
Location: Origin, 65 Charlotte Road, Shoreditch, EC2A 3PE 

Written by Dan O'Regan, Origin education team

With Origin celebrating incredible success in this year's UK Coffee in Good Spirits competition - sweeping both first and second place - we thought it would be amazing to see the birth of a similar competition for the tea industry.

At Origin we're keen consumers of, not only amazing coffee, but high quality tea, spirits, and beers. Flavour, experimentation and superb service are paramount to everything we do. Two companies that we work particularly closely with are Canton Tea and Chase Distillery, so we're delighted to be launching the competition in collaboration with them. 

We set to work writing rules and talking to Chase and Canton to create an all-round, tea and cocktail bonanza. The Ceremony Cup was born, a hybrid event, consisting of a tea brewing round, and a signature tea cocktail round. 

The Competition

Twelve competitors, twelve teas, seven spirits. A dab hand at brewing and a developed palate are the keys to success here.

Competitors will present two drinks - one brewed tea and one tea based cocktail - accompanied by a presentation about their decisions and ingredients. All the competitors will be making pre-mixed batches of cocktails for the spectators to experience.

Dan Fellows UKBC

Round 1

The first round is for the tea purists with each competitor spending seven minutes presenting to three judges. They will brew one of the sponsored teas and explain their method, flavour profile and provide information about their tea.

Canton Tea Company

Rounds 2 & 3

The second round is where Chase come in, with each competitor returning to the stage to create their very own signature tea cocktails for the judges. The competitors will also be required to prepare a 1 litre batch of their cocktails for the spectators to taste. This essentially forms round 3 and enables the judges to assess the uniformity of the pre-prepared drink vs that served in round 2.

Chase Distillery - line up of spirits

How to register to compete

Registration fee: £10 for competitors (see prizes below)
How to register: Visit 
Registration opens Friday 28 April 2017.
Only 12 competitor places available.

Spectators very welcome, no sign up necessary.


First Prize
2017 Spring Limited Edition Tea Collection worth £150
Tea Academy Tea Champion two-day course worth £340
Chase Distillery Tour for 2
Chase Club membership worth £150
£100 Canton Tea voucher
£120 cash

Second Prize
2017 Spring Limited Edition Tea Collection worth £150
Chase Distillery Tour for 2
Bottle of Espresso Vodka
£50 Canton Tea voucher

Third Prize
Bottle of Espresso Vodka
£50 Canton Tea voucher

The Rules

For all of you avid competitors out there, you will know how important it is to read the rules, so make sure you take a good look at these, so you know how to prepare, and what you will need to bring to take home the Ceremony Cup.

Round 1: Open Service

  • Each competitor will be given the chance to present one drink to the judges in a 7-minute slot
  • Each competitor must brew one tea of their choice, from a list of twelve teas supplied by the sponsor - please see list below
  • The tea must be from the Camellia sinensis plant, and be brewed with unflavoured water
  • The competitor must brew a minimum of 300ml tea, to be evaluated by three judges
  • The drinks must be prepared, in their entirety, within the 7-minute slot
  • Competitors are permitted to bring their own brewing water, which can be preheated with the use of a temperature kettle, before their presentation.
Canton Assam
Origin: Khongea Estate, Assam, India

Tasting notes: A classic Second Flush Assam from the renowned Khongea Estate. Full bodied and rich with dried fruit and malt notes.

Keemun Red
Origin: Qimen County, Anhui Province, China
Tasting Notes: A classic Second Flush Assam from the renowned Khongea Estate. Full bodied and rich with dried fruit and malt notes.

Yunnan Black
Origin: Feng Qing, Yunnan Province, China
Tasting Notes: One of the famous black teas of China. The perfect balance of sweet and smokey with woody and nutty notes.

Spring Blossom Darjeeling
Origin: Samabeong Tea Garden, Darjeeling, India
Tasting Notes: A rich, sweet and chocolatey 'Dian Hong' black tea from subtropical Yunnan Province in South West China.

Phoenix Honey Orchid
Origin: Wu Dong Mountain, Guangdong Province, China
Tasting Notes: AKA Mi Lan Dan Cong, this is a handmade, charcoal roasted oolong from the Phoenix Mountains. Honey sweet and floral with notes of tropical fruit.

Milk Oolong
Origin: Ali Shan, Chiayi County,Taiwan
Tasting notes: A beautiful high mountain, rolled oolong made with the Jin Xuan varietal tea bush. It has a smooth creamy texture with plenty of floral notes.

Origin: Pingling, Nantou County, Taiwana
Tasting notes: A superb competition grade Pouchong, handmade in Northern Taiwan. Extremely smooth with soft fruity, floral notes.

Dragon Well
Origin: Panan County, Zhejiang Province, China
Tasting notes: Highly sought after Dragon Well AKA Long Jing is a pan fried chinese green tea. Vegetal green flavours are complemented with nutty notes.

Canton Matcha
Origin: Kyusu Island, Japan
Tasting notes: This stone ground Japanese green tea gives punchy umami flavours with a sweet after taste. Best made traditionally with a bamboo whisk.

Superior Silver Needle
Origin: Fuding, Fujian Province, China
Tasting notes: A top grade Silver Needle made with only the finest buds of the bush. Extremely delicate and refined.

Canton Raw Mini Beeng Cha
Origin: Yi Wu Mountain, Yunnan Province, China
Tasting notes: Made from autumn raw material from the famous Yi Wu mountain, the cake has the classic flavours of good raw puerh: bright and mildly astringent with a nice lively mouthfeel.

Canton Cooked Mini Beeng Cha
Origin: Lincang, Yunnan Province, China
Tasting notes: Pressed from tea harvested in 2007 and fermented for 48 days. Smooth to the taste with all the sweet, earthy notes you would expect from a high quality cooked puerh. 

Round 2: Signature Drink

  • Each competitor must create and present a signature drink, made using at least one of the sponsored teas and at least one of the sponsored alcohols in a 7-minute slot. Please see list below for the list of 7 Chase alcohols that can be used.
  • The tea must be detectable, and a 50ml sample of brewed tea must be provided for each judge as a reference
  • One cocktail will be required for EACH judge
  • Equipment and glassware are not provided
  • Some ingredients may be prepared in advance if necessary, but as much should be done on stage as possible.

Chase Potato Vodka
Origin: Chase Distillery Farm, Herefordshire
Tasting notes: Creamy black pepper, waxy oiliness and macadamia nuts.

Chase Smoked Vodka
Origin: Chase Distillery Farm, Herefordshire
Tasting notes: Sweet, woody liquorice notes. Hints of charcoal with bitterness and spice, followed by subtle oak smoke.

Chase Marmalade Vodka
Origin: Chase Distillery Farm, Herefordshire
Tasting notes: Subtle, fruity and tangy with a zesty and bittersweet finish.

Chase Elderflower Liqueur
Origin: Chase Distillery Farm, Herefordshire
Tasting notes: Full hit of elderflower flavour, very rounded and long on the finish.

Williams GB Gin
Origin: Chase Distillery Farm, Herefordshire
Tasting notes: Juniper, dark chocolate, lemon and rich spice.

Williams Pink Grapefruit Gin
Origin: Chase Distillery Farm, Herefordshire
Tasting notes: Tart grapefruit and robust juniper.

Williams Elegant Gin
Origin: Chase Distillery Farm, Herefordshire
Tasting notes: Elegant, crisp and fruity followed by warm spices and earthy undertones.

Round 3: Bar Service

  • Upon completing their signature drink presentation, competitors will be required to provide tasters of their signature drink from a pre-prepared batch
  • Each competitor will be required to prepare at least 1 litre of their signature cocktail
  • Tasters of each cocktail will be available for members of the public to taste, free of charge
  • The head judge will check the uniformity of the pre-prepared drinks against each served drink
  • 2 points will be awarded for each uniform drink, with a full 10 points being awarded for complete uniformity across all four drinks.

Launch Event

Competition date & time: 7pm, Friday 28 May
Location: Origin, 65 Charlotte Road, Shoreditch, EC2A 3PE 

If you are interested in competing or simply want to learn more about fantastic tea and spirits, please feel free to join us for the official launch of the Ceremony Cup, where there will be a guided tea tasting, a Gong Fu demonstration, a guided spirit tasting, and tea cocktails to finish. Those who sign up for the competition will receive a bag full of things to help them get started in practicing for the competition.

We’re all looking forward to seeing you, tasting some exciting creations, and crowning the first ever winner of the Ceremony Cup. Any questions, please email 

Dan Fellows Coffee In Good SpiritsImage credit: Bruno Vincent, SCA-UK