Tea time
More than ever tea is becoming a staple offering in cafés. The Australasian Specialty Tea Association shares their trade secrets to enhancing a tea-drinking culture.


he English have long had a love affair with tea; so much so that the British East India Company began commercial production of tea in the early 19th century in Assam, India. From then the demand for tea was on the rise. Britain built a business case for growing its own supply in its colonies, including India and Ceylon Sri Lanka, instead of buying it from China. For a former colony of Britain,

Australia is surprisingly less married to tea leaves than it is to coffee beans. However, tea has never really left the Australian conscience and its resurgence may have something to do with our burgeoning links to Asia, or simply a growing awareness of flavour. Setting the table Good tea needs to be savoured. Tea is an experience often connected with ritual. There’s no need to roll out a tatami mat and don a kimono to serve customers, but it is a good idea to create space suitable for drinking tea. A seat at a table that can comfortably hold a teapot and cup is a good start as tea drinkers are not likely to prop themselves up at a narrow bar. What teaware? Cafés should be serious about serving quality tea as another optional hot drink for customers. All that’s needed is the tea, a teapot and teacups. A glass or porcelain teapot is best to bring out the flavour of the tea. Metal pots tend to enhance bitter tannins. Porcelain is sturdier than glass and retains the heat better, though many cafés like the aesthetic of glass teapots. Consider the size of the teapot. Most customers will expect at least two smallto-medium cups of tea per teapot, which is about 350 millilitres to 500 millilitres in total. Make sure the pot has a large enough volume for the tea leaves to expand and move during infusion. If the teapot comes with a small infuser that will crowd the leaves, it’s best to remove it and use an external strainer. If you can help it, don’t serve tea in a coffee cup. Teacups are finer and usually offer a larger surface area than a coffee

cup, which allows the tea to cool faster once it’s poured. Other teaware to consider is a small milk jug, infuser or strainer dish, sugar bowl or receptacle, and serving implements for honey. Developing a menu Many people still drink their tea – white with one. But few of those people will be thrilled to pay $3 to $5 for the privilege when it’s a ritual they’ve probably perfected to precise specifications at home over many years. Therefore, look beyond hot water and teabags to communicate the value proposition of drinking tea in a café. Don’t be afraid to offer an interesting menu that leads customers beyond the basics while still catering to the core segments. Explore the range of teas available from different suppliers. Be sure to ask questions about whether the supplier can maintain a fresh and consistent supply throughout the year. Some may also be able to assist in educating and training staff in proper preparation of tea. Hot water The careful organisation of the setting, teaware and tea selection will be for nothing unless the tea is made properly. Just as parameters surrounds the perfect serving temperature of coffee, the same applies with tea. Different teas brew at different optimum water temperatures. Steeping time is also important, and tea-drinkers will have a strength preference. Don’t leave the teapot sitting too long before the customer is served. Considerate wait staff will let the customer know for how long the tea has already steeped.

AASTA tea appreciation
Specialty Hey, we’re AASTA, the Australasiann, we’re isatio Tea Association. To launch our new organ hosting an event and you’re all invited!


The newly-formed Australasian Specialty Tea Association is committed to developing a thriving specialty tea industry in Australasia by improving specialty tea accessibility, growing awareness and providing resources and networking opportunities to the industry.


Melbourne 22nd September 2013 Sydney 24th October 2013


AASTA’s top tea making tips

1. Use clean filtered water. 2. Use the appropriate amount of tea. A general rule is one teaspoon per cup, plus one for the pot. A four-cup teapot will take five teaspoons of tea. 3. Never run hot water directly over the tea from a coffee machine. Use a digital kettle or urn and fill the pot first. 4.  Steep for the appropriate time at the correct temperature as directed on the preparation instructions. 5. Use porcelain or glass teapots with large infusers, or use a strainer if the infuser is too small. 6. Don’t wash the teapots in detergent. Use hot water and sodium bicarbonate to remove stains. 7.  Store tea in a airtight container away from moisture, sunlight and heat. Tea easily absorbs other aromas. Try to keep the tea separate from stored coffee beans.

An event to challenge and educate your taste buds with an exploration of tea, hosted by the Australasian Specialty Tea Association. This is an opportunity to connect with the tea industry and test your taste buds on teas from around the world.




Member price $25 / non-member introductory price of $35

Event program

• Tea cocktail/nibbles on arrival • Welcome address • Blind tea tasting • Networking

Who should Attend?

Tea wholesalers, tea retailers, venue owners, hot beverage service staff, tea enthusiasts.

If this is you, visit the AASTA website to become a member, register for the event, or for more information: www.aasta.asn.au

For more information visit www.aasta.asn.au





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