Australian International Tea Expo – It’s almost here!

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Hey everyone! If you haven’t already heard, we are currently in the throws of organising the first ever Australian International Tea Expo!

Of course, with this massive event comes a few sacrifices to our other commitments, one being this lovely little blog. So we apologise for our lack of activity these past months.

Everything is slowly coming together for the Expo – we have sold nearly all our exhibitor stalls and all our activities are slowly getting confirmed and prepared. Time is ticking away and we know it is still going to be a mad rush to the finish line but it will all be worth it in the end; the first year is always the hardest, we’ve just got to make sure it is a massive success!

We have some many amazing Exhibitors for the event, who will be showcasing off teas from all around the world!

The classes are filling up slowly and we are looking forward to teaching everyone how complex and amazing tea is.

That’s all we really have to say right now, we will try to give a few more updates in the coming months (If we get a spare second!)

So, fellow readers, if you are planning to be in Australia, or near Geelong around October, please make sure to attend our expo – it is going to be brilliant!

http://australianteaexpo.com.au/

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Australian Tea Expo website is up!

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Exciting news! Our website for our upcoming event in October is now up! Please check it out and read all about our event. You can now purchase tickets, book into classes, register as an exhibitor, submit an entry into the Golden Leaf Awards and lots more! http://www.australianteaexpo.com.au

12 Christmas Gifts for the Tea Lover

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With Christmas coming up fast, some of you may be stuck with what to buy your tea loving family member, significant other, friend or colleague. Here’s a selection of what’s on our Christmas wish list this year, hopefully it gives you some good ideas!

1. ZENS Original Extract Series.
An Asian tea set, with traditional, small elegant cups, designed for Asian connoisseurs and Oriental tea lovers in the Western market.

Features:

  • Double-walled glass teapot
  • Double-walled glass cup x2
  • Glass infuser
  • Bamboo plate
  • Bamboo infuser holder

2. Matcha Set – Chasan, Chasaku and Tea Caddy.
Enjoy the unique tea that is Matcha with this lovely set. Includes everything you need to make a perfect cup of Matcha.

3. Novel Tea.
This would be perfect for the book lover! Each English Breakfast teabag is individually tagged with beloved quotes from famous authors. There is no better company than a steaming cup of tea as you open the cover of a favourite classic or turn the page of the latest thriller. Read ’em and steep!

4. Rare Tea Club Membership.
Show a loved one just how much you appreciate them by giving them a chance to taste rare teas from around the world. Each month members receive a new rare tea and in each pack there will be enough tea for at least 30 cups. Members will also receive information on the tea and tasting notes. Each month the tea changes to a different white, green, oolong, black or puerh rare tea.

5. Grow Your Own Green Tea Plant.
Great for the tea lover who wants to learn more about tea hands on. This amazing kit has all you need to grow your own tea plant at home. Native to China and India, camellia sinensis thrives in warm, humid environments at higher elevations but can also be grown in cooler climates with some care. A greenhouse, conservatory or even a sunny window are all adequate to grow this amazing plant.

6. White Satin Pearl Teapot Necklace
This lovely necklace and its cute teapot pendant would be an ideal gift for a female tea lover. The teapot hangs from a brass chain that comes in different lengths.

7. Spode Christmas Tree Tea Set.
Add to the Christmas décor with this gift. The receiver can enjoy a nice cup of tea and maintain the holiday spirit. This fun and practical tea set contains candy cane handled teapot and 4 candy cane handled 14 oz mugs.

8. Grey Owl Tea Set.
Perfect for the younger generation tea lover or animal lover, this cute owl tea set would be a great addition for under the Christmas tree. Set contains an owl teapot and two matching cups, with matching creamer and sugar. Quality is evident in the set’s detailing which features a textured stoneware exterior that adds to the natural beauty of the pieces.

9. Tea Travel Mug.
For the tea lover who loves to travel. They can enjoy loose leaf tea anywhere with this handy travel mug!

10. Coffee Joulies.
Do you know a tea lover that makes a tea but then forgets about it, only to remember a few hours later when it has gone cold? Well here is the perfect solution to that problem; Joulies!
With Joulies™ your tea (or coffee) will be ready to drink faster and will stay in the perfect temperature range longer. Each polished stainless steel shell is filled with an advanced phase change material that melts at 60 degrees. Put them in your tea or coffee and they absorb heat when it is too hot, storing that energy inside. When your tea reaches the perfect temperature this stored heat is released to keep it there longer. It will keep your tea the perfect temperature for around 4 hours!

11. DIY Herbal Set
Let your tea lover experiment and create their own herbal teas with this lovely set. The set contains 9 herbal containers and 6 tea containers all encased in an aluminium box. Recipes are included but you can also make your own herbal creations.

12. Confluence 1 of 100
If you have a bit (okay, a lot) of money to spare, and really want to give the best gift possible, then this tea tray is exactly what you need. Confluence is a small wooden tea tray carved out of Birch plywood. The layers of the laminated ply accentuates the undulating form through their alternating dark and light seams. Niches and plateaus are carved to accommodate small tea cups that serve up to six. A large central reservoir is created by the landscape, where excess tea will naturally flow towards the reservoir and form a miniature lake. As the tea gathers, the level gradually rises just like a lake does when it rains. This is a beautiful limited edition piece!

Let us know what gifts you have brought for your tea-loving companions (or even for yourself!)

Hope you all have a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year!

New tea trend: Bubble Tea

Bubble Tea
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If you like to keep yourself updated with all things tea, then you may have heard or read articles about Bubble Tea, so what exactly is it and why is everyone loving it?

Bubble Tea, also known as pearl milk tea or boba milk tea, is a Taiwanese tea-based drink invented in the 1980’s. There are two typical types; fruit flavoured teas and milk teas. Usually, black tea is used in Bubble Teas, but most teas can be used as well.  The ‘bubble’ element of the drink comes from the tapioca pearls, which are cooked in brown sugar to create chewy balls. The oldest known Bubble Tea recipe consisted of a mixture of hot Taiwanese Black Tea, small tapioca pearls, condensed milk and syrup or honey. Many variations have been created, and Bubble Tea is now usually served cold rather than hot.

This drink phenomenon soon spread from Taiwan to other Asian countries, and more recently to the US and Australia; one Bubble Tea company, Chatime, has over 63 stores in Melbourne and Sydney and in 2012, McDonalds started serving Bubble Tea in Germany and Austria.

Bubble Tea has been described as modern, trendy way for young people to enjoy tea and its varied flavour combinations make it an enjoyable drink for everyone.

This new trend is not all good though, while Bubble Tea’s may have some good health benefits depending on the ingredients and the tea used to make it, they are still high in sugar and calories; the tapioca pearls alone are 160 calories per ¼ cup serving! Combine that with the other ingredients and the drink could be up to 400 calories.  As irresistible as they may be, it’d be best to make Bubble Tea an occasional indulgence.

No onto you readers; have any of you tried a Bubble Tea? What were your thoughts on it?

Exhibitor Registration – Melbourne Tea Fair

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Exciting news regarding the 2014 Melbourne Tea Fair – Exhibitor Registration is now open! You can download your Exhibitor Registration Form and Exhibitor Information Package from our website, at http://australianteamasters.com.au/blog/melbourne-tea-fair

Don’t miss out on this wonderful opportunity! Exhibitor registration closes on July 18, 2014.

A Bit More About Us

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So, after all of this, you may be wondering who exactly Australian Tea Masters are. I know we have an About Us page (which is all very good and well with explaining what we do), but I thought I’d write something a little more intimate in this post.

Australian Tea Masters is a tea education organisation founded by Certified Tea Master Sharyn Johnston in 2011.  We basically run out of an office and a large room filled to the brim with tea and tea instruments, alongside a tearoom and coffeehouse in Breakwater, who kindly permit our operations there. In total we currently have four employees, including myself, and one contractor, Luis, who builds and maintains our website (you can check his business out at http://www.inductivestudios.com.au/).

Sharyn began Australian Tea Masters with the hopes of giving budding individuals in the tea world a world-class education in tea to help them become talented individuals. For this, we began offering the Certified Tea Mastery course, as well as a few other (much shorter) options. These include a Certified Tea Blending course, and the fully online Tea101 course.

Sharyn currently aspires to become Grand Tea Master of the Internet. It’s not quite world domination, but of course, it’s very close to it.

We operate alongside a group known as Canadian Tea Masters, who is run by the lovely Tea Master Sylvana Levesque. We also have a huge variety of tea friends around the world, spanning many different cultures thanks to Sharyn’s many and varied world travels. In addition to this, we have all of our wonderful students to thank for keeping this organisation alive and running. Our dream is to create a global network of passionate tea individuals and professionals, and to invigorate global tea culture like never before.

You can visit our website at www.australianteamasters.com.au. We offer a few different services (including our Rare Tea Club) that are run all over the world, and our blog, Behind the Brew, has many other posts that haven’t been depicted here (including photo galleries of some world travels).

Anyhow, tomorrow we will be back to regular programming with a feature of a famous black tea from China. Happy brewing!

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Growing your Own Tea, Part 1

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Tea is a versatile shrub, even if it is quite sensitive to cold. At first this may seem like a wonderful fit for Australia; we’re an extremely hot country that becomes steadily more tropical the further you move north. However, we’re also extremely arid, and particularly in the South Eastern states such as New South Wales, Victoria, and Tasmania, cold winters await. Neither aridity nor cold is a friend to the tea plant (camellia sinensis), so growing it in southerly areas of Australia may be difficult unless you own a greenhouse or are willing to bring the shrub inside during the winter.

It should be noted that frost can and will ruin tea leaves and destroy part of the plant, so avoid exposing camellia sinensis to it at all costs.

However, while this may at first seem to be an uphill battle, tea is still a wonderfully hardy plant and a good ornamental, if you don’t intend to harvest the leaves and turn them into drinkable tea. In order to turn them into drinkable tea, however, you will need to learn the proper treatment procedures.

Planting the Tea

Seedlings for tea plants can often be found at a local nursery, however if that doesn’t pan out, you might like to see if any online nurseries have it (and are allowed to deliver; a company based in Australia is best if this is the country in which you live, due to strict customs laws about organic matter).

Once you’ve obtained your tea seeds, you can go about planting them. If you live in Queensland you can quite safely plant them in your garden, but further south you may want to think about using a greenhouse (if you own one) or planting the seeds in a pot that you can take inside during cold days and nights. Its okay, even preferable, that the soil you plant the camellia sinensis seeds in is a little on the sandy side; it grows best under these conditions. The soil should also be well-drained (while tea plants need a lot of water, they also need excellent drainage) and have a small amount of acidity. You can raise or lower the pH of your soil through a number of methods, as detailed by this site. Please be careful when doing this, as other plants in your garden may be sensitive to different pHs, and plants adjacent to your tea plant may notice and react poorly to the change in acidity.

If you intend to plant your tea in a pot, it may be wise to use potting mix with some sphagnum moss added in, in order to promote growth.

Growing your Own Tea, Part 2

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