Budleigh-based Spiller & Tait win recognition from The Great Taste Awards

The team at Devon based Spiller & Tait are celebrating after their Organic Japanese Matcha Green Tea received top praise from the Guild of Fine Food with a 3 Star Gold Award in the 2017 Great Taste Awards, the equivalent of the UK’s Food Oscars for 2017 and a 1 Star Gold Award in the 2017 Great Taste Awards for their Signature Blend coffee.

Known mainly as an on-line coffee brand, Spiller & Tait expanded into tea in 2016 after co-founder Simon Spiller tried Matcha Tea for the first time in London.  “I’d never heard of Matcha before and saw it on the menu at a swanky café.  I loved the grassy flavour and was surprised by the strength of the sustained caffeine kick it gave.  I immediately thought this would be a great addition to our range of premium coffees.”  Simon’s business partner, David Tait, agreed and the pair turned to the internet to source the finest Matcha from Japan.

The pair hadn’t realised that Matcha tea was one of the fastest growing super food trends in the UK in recent years and took their time to find a tea to equal the quality of their coffees.  “After months tasting numerous samples from across Japan, we chose a tea with the highest quality organic grade with a very appealing flavour. The soil and climate at the farm where our tea is grown offers perfect growing conditions. Only the top leaves on each plant are selected and then steamed, dried without rolling, and ground into a very fine powder.  These factors produce a tea which is nutrient rich, vivid green in colour, smooth in texture and with a sweet umami flavour which lacks bitterness” explained David.

Traditionally, top quality Matcha like Spiller & Tait’s is the focus of the Japanese tea ceremony, or Chado (literally the “way of tea”), in which the formal preparation of the Matcha drink for a guest becomes both a form of meditation and silent communication. The most prized of green teas, it is valued for it energy and metabolism boosting nutrients as well as its high antioxidant content. Furthermore, ingesting the full leaf in powdered form maximises your body’s intake of these nutrients.

“We’re absolutely delighted the Great Taste judges recognised the quality and flavour of our tea and have given it their top award.  As Matcha novices it’s clear we were lucky to find a fantastic product” said Simon.  “Matcha tea can vary significantly in quality and flavour and we decided to go for the best quality we could find in order to justify the premium price these teas command” he added.  The judges praised Spiller & Tait Matcha “A really good, pure flavour here, some sweetness, a marked absence of fishy/brassica notes. Sill a firm bitterness and light astringency but great depth of flavour and good creaminess. The quality of the powder is outstanding – baby talcum fine. A great example.”.

Spiller and Tait Matcha is one of only two Matcha Teas to ever achieve 3 Stars in the Great Taste Awards and the only one in 2017.  After the success of their first tea product Simon and David are now considering expanding their tea range.

Spiller & Tait Organic Matcha Green Tea Powder Ceremonial Grade and Signature Blend is available at www.spillerandtait.co.uk in 30g pouches.
Recognised as a stamp of excellence among consumers and retailers alike, Great Taste values taste above all else, with no regard for branding and packaging. Whether it is gin, biscuits, sausages or coffee being judged, all products are removed from their wrapper, jar, box or bottle before being tasted. The judges then savour, confer and re-taste to decide which products are worthy of a 1-, 2- or 3-star award.

There were 12,366 Great Taste entries this year and of those products, 165 have been awarded a 3-star, 1,011 received a 2-star and 3,171 were awarded a 1-star accolade. The panel of judges included; chef, food writer and author, Gill Meller, MasterChef judge and restaurant critic, Charles Campion, author and chef, Zoe Adjonyoh, baker, Tom Herbert, and food writer and baking columnist Martha Collison as well as food buyers from Fortnum & Mason, Selfridges, and Harvey Nichols. These esteemed palates have together tasted and re-judged the 3-star winners to finally agree on the 2017 Top 50 Foods, the Golden Fork Trophy winners and the 2017 Supreme Champion.

Great Taste 2017 will reach its exciting finale on Monday 4 September, when the world of fine food gathers at the Intercontinental Park Lane Hotel, London to find out the Golden Fork winners for each region at an Awards Dinner, with the final applause reserved for the Great Taste Supreme Champion 2017.