Four Star Tea Grading Program for Foodservice Operators

Introduction to Tea in Foodservice

Hot tea servings in Canadian Foodservice totaled 380-million in the most recent year, representing a 4% gain over the previous year and a steady 3.5% gain over the last five years.

This makes hot tea the fastest growing beverage and the #5 most popular beverage.

Brewing up profit: Top tips to boost tea sales by Sean Moon

“Canadian tea drinkers are a passionate bunch when it comes to their daily cuppa, but for foodservice operators in this country, that passion doesn’t always translate into increased sales of the world’s second-most popular beverage. For many confirmed tea lovers, if they can’t get a quality cup of tea when dining at their favourite restaurant, industry surveys suggest that they’d rather order tap water or even nothing at all.”

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Four Star Tea Grading Program

Stated by the Tea and Herbal Association of Canada in 1982, the Four Star Tea Grading Program is a quality assurance program where expert tea tasters set industry standards and evaluate brands to ensure consistent high quality teas are supplied to foodservice operators.

The program gives reassurance of an excellent quality/price ratio for high quality  and minimum quality tea blends.

Combination of Quality and Quantity

The quality of tea depends not only on the plant from which it came but on the soil type, the rate at which it grows, the ambient temperature, the humidity of the day it is plucked, and of course, the factory processing. Most of these parameters are available, and so it is of no surprise that the quality of tea from the same garden can differ from day to day.

Tea bag weight is critical to quality delivery:

2 Cup = 3.75g=14oz/375ml maximum

1.5 Cup (pot)= 2.95g=10oz/275ml maximum

1 Cup = 2.27g= 8oz/225ml maximum

2 Gallon = 43.2g=160oz/4.56 litres maximum


  • Tea, Black, Unflavoured tea bag -A blend giving a fresh, clean, full-tasting cup with brightness

Four Star

  • Tea, Black, Unflavoured tea bag – A superior blend of teas giving a fresh lively cup full of flavour and brightness
  • Tea, Green, Unflavoured, tea bag or loose – A sound green tea imparting a distinct taste profile fully representative of the label depiction
  • Specialty, Unflavoured – A tea of distinctive quality, flavour and balance, fully representative of the label depiction
  • Specialty Flavoured  – A sound tea blend imparting a distinctive taste profile fully representative of the label depiction. With this category, tea based blends may contain up to 49% non camellia sinensis product, where used strictly for flavouring, in accordance with label depiction.

This nationally recognized program is available only to Packer Category Members of the Tea and Herbal Association of Canada.

Today, over 80% of wholesale tea sales are 4 star or specialty tea.

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