Dubai Tea Report: Golden Leaf Awards

Indian Teas Recognized at Golden Leaf Awards in Dubai

By Dan Bolton

DUBAI, UAE – India’s great wealth of tea gardens and expertise extends far south of the fabled Himalayas.

Golden Leaf India Judge Kurush Bharucha (foreground) and Sanjay Sethi (background) sip and slurp.
Golden Leaf India Judge Kurush Bharucha (foreground) and Sanjay Sethi (background) sip and slurp.

Last week, judges of the Golden Leaf India Awards announced 34 outstanding teas in multiple categories as winners of the annual competition. Judging took place at the 5th Global Dubai Tea Forum April 9th. Categories include traditional fannings and orthodox black pekoe and broken pekoe teas along with a test of skill in green tea making.

Kanan Devan Hills Plantation won six Golden Leaf Awards, three each from both CTC and Orthogox categories  from its factories located in the High Ranges of Munnar in Kerala, India. KDHP is the largest tea plantation company in  South India garden and the largest producer-tea exporter in South India with an annual production of 25 million kilos. The plantation spans 23,000 hectares.

WTN140414_GoldenLeafAwards_TastingLine“This has been a testament to KDHP’s efforts on quality enhancement over the years as we won an unprecedented 6 awards in each of the categories that we entered, which no one else has managed thus far,” Chacko P. Thomas.

The total brings to 29 the number of Golden Leaf trophies awarded KDHP.

Golden Leaf India Judge Yahya Beyad, owner of Britannia Teas stands over the spittoon.
Golden Leaf India Judge Yahya Beyad, owner of Britannia Teas stands over the spittoon.

Wentworth and Woodbriar Estates, also in Kerala, each won three Golden Leaf trophies to net the Woodbriar Group a total of six. The Harrisons Malayalam Ltd., Tea Company took home four prizes and Devon Plantations & Industries, Vigneshwar Estate, Koadanad Estate and Joonktollee Tea & Industries each received three of the attractive trophies.

The prizes for best green teas when to Bluegate Beverages in the Nilgiris for its whole leaf and to Poabs Organic Products for its green tea fannings.

The competition is a joint initiative of the Tea Board of India and the United Planters Association of Southern India (UPASI). The panel of judges included Sanjay Sethi, Moshin Saify, Yahya Beyad, Kurush Bharucha and Mike Jones.

Golden Leaf India Judge Moshin Saify reports his scores.
Golden Leaf India Judge Moshin Saify reports his scores.

Indian tea is grown at elevations of 7,500 meters, as high as any in the Himalayan foothills and the plantations date to the late 1800s. South India teas are known for their aroma, balanced astringency and lingering aftertaste. This awards event was first organized in 2005. The judges gave high praise to this year’s competitors.

Presentation of the awards concluded the Dubai tea conference with 300 attendees offering an enthusiastic round of applause.

The victors return to Munnar, Conoor, Annamallais and Wandiperiyar with trophies for their display cases and the knowledge their teas rank among the best India has to offer.

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Editor | Publisher | Consultant | Freelance Writer Dan is the founder of Tea Journey magazine and a contributing editor at STiR coffee and tea. He is the former editor and publisher of World Tea News, and a contributor to Fresh Cup, Specialty Coffee Retailer, and CoffeeTalk. His personal blog is In 2012 Dan supervised the successful re-launch of Tea Magazine where he was editor and publisher. This followed two years as editor and publisher of World Tea News. Dan has traveled widely, speaking on retail beverage trends in Canada and the United States at conferences in Dubai, UAE, Global Dubai Tea Forum (2016) and GDTF (2012 and 2014); World Tea Expo (2011-2015-2016); Canada Coffee & Tea Show (2011); Coffeefest; World Tea East and presented at the Tocklai Tea Research Institute Centennial, Jorhat, Assam (2011). He addressed the India International Tea Convention in Goa, India (2012). Dan is addressed COTECA conference attendees in Hamburg, Germany in September 2016, presented at the Xiamen Tea Fair in China, the DMCC Tea Centre hosted Global Dubai Tea Forum in 2016 and the Puer Specialty Coffee Forum hosted by the Yunnan Coffee Exchange in 2019.