The very act of preparing and serving tea encourages conversation. The little spaces in time created by teatime rituals call out to be filled with conversation. Even the tea itself–warm and comforting–inspires a feeling of relaxation and trust that fosters shared confidences.” – Emilie BarnesS

Tea is integrated into Australian culture. Tea culture is defined by the way tea is made and consumed, by the way the people interact with tea, and by the aesthetics surrounding tea drinking. It is commonly consumed at social events, and many cultures have created intricate formal ceremonies for these events. The hot/warm weather in Australia has not deterred Australians to indulge in a cup of tea, often served with small portions of food. Afternoon tea in Australia has evolved from and strongly reflects the British history and traditions of this ceremony. However, tearooms now are filled with young people and this is spreading through social networking as people discover the delights of this ceremony.

Tea Heritage Australia

Many of Australia’s early colonists grew their own tea bushes. It wasn’t until the 1890s that Australia’s first tea plantation was established, by the Cutten Brothers at Bingil Bay near Innisfail in Far North Queensland. One of the evidence suggests that Australian tea merchant James Griffiths was the first to advertise his tea in local newspapers, in Melbourne and Adelaide. The first person to open an official tea shop was Alfred Bushell, who in 1884 opened a grocery store in inner Brisbane that, sold tea and other grocery items.

By the early 1960s, Bushells dominated the Australian tea market in all states. By 1970, Allan Maruff was producing tea commercially on his estate at Nerada, near Innisfail. Nerada Estates is now the largest commercial producer of tea in Australia. James Inglis pioneered the introduction of Indian and Ceylonese teas into the Australian colonies during the 1880s.  Before this, Australians typically drank green tea or other common Chinese teas. After Inglis’ successful promotion of Indian black tea, Australians quickly made this transition.

Ritual and tradition

Tea itself is thousands of years old, and almost every culture in the world drinks some form of it. Tea is a ritual, and anyone can make it. It's about boiling the kettle, listening to the water boil, the steam coming off the tea when you pour it into the cup. Smelling it, looking at it, and feeling it. This whole process is a meditation in itself. People are starting to realise that there is a tea to suit every mood and moment. Tea can be calming, it can be invigorating, it can be delicious, it can work well with food, it's nice iced or hot.

A tea culture that all Australians can feel comfortable with, one that represents us all, both here at home and overseas. Most of all, an Australian tea culture that can encourage and engage us all to become more aware of the pleasures and benefits of tea.

Growing fascination with Tea

Whilst tea is not new to Australia, a younger generation is slowing reshaping the country’s tea culture - leading to the establishment of strong bubble tea brands that have positioned the drink as a usual snacking component.

In recent times, the two tea festivals held annually by Tea Festivals Australia, in Melbourne and Sydney has helped draw the right kind of attention to the small businesses that are focused on bringing artisanal tea to the Australian tea lover.

It brings together tea sellers with unique tasting loose leaf and herbal teas from all over the world, from India to China and from Europe to Australia. It is truly a tea drinkers dream, or like us, you’re Australian and it’s inevitable you’ll end up wherever the tea is. Tea fanatics can truly immerse themselves in the historic qualities of different teams from each region and discover the secrets of the blends. Specialists will hold talks to educate audiences about their loose tea blends

Australian Tea Cultural Seminar (AUSTCS) is the premier annual tea event in the country that is working very hard to bring together the Australian tea community and provide a platform for discussion, collaboration and innovation and the promotion of loose leaf tea in Australia. You can become a member and attend their annual event to learn more.

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