It’s been about a month since the completion of the 2019 coffee competition season and the withdrawals are already starting to kick in. I can’t sleep at night unless someone describes anaerobic fermentation to me before calling “Time!” Luckily for me, there’s a new competition happening next month to hold me over until 2020. Making its first appearance in America, the Tea Masters Cup is the leafy equivalent to the Coffee Championships, and there’s still time for you to be a part of it.

Taking place in Las Vegas on June 11th and 12th at the World Tea Expo, the American Specialty Tea Alliance (ASTA) will be hosting the first US national qualifying round for the Tea Masters Cup. Like with the Coffee Championships, the Tea Masters Cup consists of multiple disciplines for potential competitors to take part in, including Tea Preparation, Tea Pairing, Tea Tasting, and Tea Mixology, though for its first foray, the US will only participate in two: Preparation and Mixology. As with the coffee circuit, the winners of these events at the national level earn the right to represent the US at the World stage of competition occurring later this year.

Though 2019 will be the first year America has participated, the Tea Masters Cup has existed since 2013 and consists of 22 countries across four continents. But according to World Tea Expo event director Samantha Hammer, the addition of America to the competing bodies represents a milestone in increasing the popularity of the event worldwide:

Having the United States be a part of the Tea Masters Cup – especially at World Tea Expo and within that community – is an important step toward furthering the art and craft of professional tea preparation in our country and abroad. World Tea Expo is excited to be a part of the team making this happen, and we’re proud to host the competition this June in Las Vegas.

And perhaps the coolest part of the competition’s nascence in the US is that there’s still time for you to be a part of it. The tea world in America is small and insular—think the early years of the USBC—and the ASTA is looking to expand the pool of entrants outside the usual suspects. If you want to take part in the first ever US Tea Masters Cup event, fill out the registration form here to be considered. For more information on how to prepare, check out the ASTA’s handy guide.

Zac Cadwalader is the managing editor at Sprudge Media Network and a staff writer based in Dallas. Read more Zac Cadwalader on Sprudge.

Top image via the American Specialty Tea Alliance

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