The Australian Tea Fair – Melbourne

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We are excited to announce a brand-new event never seen before in Melbourne. Tea lovers, we present to you the Australian Tea Fair, Melbourne. This unprecedented event will surprise and excite tea enthusiasts of all flavours, and provide tea and industry knowledge to a scale that tackles even the world stage.

The Australian Tea Fair will be hosted by Australian Tea Masters at a currently undisclosed location in Melbourne, and is aimed to be set later this year. Tickets will be available via our website (stay tuned for more press releases here!) and at the door, with exhibiting opportunities open upon arrangement. If you’re interested in having your own exhibit, you can discuss this with the director of Australian Tea Masters, Sharyn Johnston, at sharyn@australianteamasters.com.au. We strongly encourage tea companies to open exhibits and broaden their audiences. Other exhibiting parties will include blenders and masters of all stripes.

In addition, there will also be several tea seminars with well-respected industry speakers. This event is perfect for both those just interested in tea as well as those who make tea their world and business. The event will be ripe with opportunity, and for a tea lover in Melbourne, certainly isn’t something to be missed!

Stay tuned for more information!

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Lazy Sunday: Too Cosy or not too Cosy

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Today is Lazy Sunday, where we hold a poll and give you a pretty tea picture to look at. Because face it, Sundays weren’t meant for Real Work.

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Mastering in Tea

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Last week kicked off yet another wondrous iteration of the Australian Tea Masters Certified Tea Master course. This round’s collective of potential tea masters have attended a three-day intensive, to properly prepare them for the exciting road ahead.

And what a brilliant multicultural group we’ve had! Our training class was filled and brimming with fantastic future tea ideas. Their warmth, enthusiasm and passion for tea was paramount for the success of the very first Certified Tea Master class for 2014.

Each student received 60 of some of the world’s most unique and valued teas, as well as a collection of professional Tea Master tools to begin their journey into tea. Their training was conducted under well-respected individuals in the tea industry, including our black tea specialist, as well as puerh and Japanese tea. We were also very lucky to have our own Honorary Tea Master Steve Carroll present throughout the three days to share his epic adventure throughout Yunnan Province and Taiwan as a roving tea reporter. On top of all this, we also had our very first Tea Master Charity Hobbs take the class to a new level on oolongs, and we experienced new and alternative brew methods for tea.

After our exciting visit to the World Tea Forum in Korea in October and experiencing the amazing teas of Boseong County, it was important to ensure that Korean teas were also included in all future trainings.Over the coming 14 weeks the students will be experiencing Turkish teas as well as other exciting challenges in their weekly classes. They have exciting times to come, and their prosperous faces fill us with the hope that they will each become fabulous, well-trained Certified Tea Masters!Our next Tea Master intake will be in July, with another following in August. You can read more about them (and sign up) here: http://australianteamasters.com.au/become-a-tea-master.

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A Cup of Gold

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There is no reason why customers should have to pay a lot for a good cup of tea. Tea is a relatively inexpensive product and you can get an excellent quality loose-leaf tea for roughly the same price as a quality coffee.

Some inner city tea shops are charging their customers up to $1000 a cup! This came as a huge shock to us. No tea costs enough to warrant charging that much per cup.

Regularly we have seen tea shops charge up to $20 for the same teas that are elsewhere being sold for $4 a cup. Why is this so? And who benefits from this? Not only will it limit the amount of people seeking specialty tea but it will put off the ones who are.

The point of this story is to encourage people to “shop around” for good tea. Just because a tea shop is on a main street and has lovely teaware, it does not mean they have the best tea in town – or the cheapest. If you want to sip your tea surrounded by smoke and mirrors, then you might have to pay five times the amount for the same brew as you would from the quiet tea house down the road.

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A Pot Full of Memories

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Made from a special clay found only in the city of Yixing, China, this extraordinary teapot possesses the ability to absorb the flavours of the teas inside it over a number of years.

Those who have the privilege of owning and using one over many years are said to be able to brew tea simply by adding plain, boiling water to the pot.

Before the teapot is made, the mined-out clay is left in the sun in the form of large rocks after extraction to weather. This process will take in excess of a year before the clay is ready to be pounded into a powder and sieved to remove impurities. The clay is then placed in a large fresh water tank for three days, and is then allowed to dry out under sunlight. Finally, before it is ready to be sold, excess moisture is drawn out of the product using a vacuum processor.

Such preparation seems excessive, but it doesn’t end there. The potter artisan must make time for a further two days of processing, which involves pounding the clay with a wooden mallet while every so often adding some water, until there are no air pockets to be seen.

With such a lengthy process and renowned tea-brewing capabilities, Yixing teapots are not nearly as expensive as they might sound at first glance. The unfortunate truth, however, is that while commonplace in China, much of the Western World is unfamiliar with them.

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It’s Tea’s Time: The World Tea Expo

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Many of you may not have heard of this, and I am aware that it’s not Australian, but as I’m betting that a lot of our viewership is from the US, I’m going to take the time to share this with you all.

The World Tea Expo is being held from May 29 to May 31 this year in Long Beach, California. It is a conference and tradeshow showcasing some of the best tea products out there, and is a must for any tea lover in the region. Plus, by supporting the Expo and going along, you’ll also be supporting tea growers, sellers and creators from all over the world!

If you’d like to find out more, you can at http://www.worldteaexpo.com/.

Happy drinking!

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Trials of a Tea Addict: Tea-Related Injuries

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Welcome to Saturday, where we post a fabled column known as Trials of a Tea Addict (you can find it in our list of categories)These are a little bit less serious than our usual posts, and we hope to enlighten everyone on the humorous (or in this case dangerous) side of tea.

Without further ado, let’s begin!

You could be forgiven for thinking that the humble teapot surely couldn’t be the cause of much trouble. However, every year there are approximately 40 teapot-related accidents in Britain that land people consistently in hospital. In addition, there are also many more incidents that lead to people becoming injured (however not to the level of hospitalisation), with that particular statistic increasing to around 4,000 reported injuries worldwide. To anyone who drinks tea, this statistic is not particularly comforting.

A majority of accidents, predictably, come from burns. Teapots are notorious for having boiling steam billowing from their spouts, while are also quite well-known for collecting enough heat to make the pot itself scalding to touch. In one particular incident – in which Starbucks was forced to recall approximately 257 of its ceramic teapots released in 2005 – printed on the bottom of the teapots was “Microwave and Dishwasher Safe”. The teapots most notably were not safe, as the teapot handle, made of bamboo, would overheat when placed in the microwave for any reasonable amount of time.

Teapot cosies do not avoid the injury list either, with large numbers of people reporting burns from these decorative woollen teapot jackets. Another object of scrutiny that can cause tea to act as a burn machine is none other than the biscuit. Yes, a biscuit. A survey has reported that around half of all Britons have injured themselves with biscuits, one of the notable incidents involving people accidentally dipping the biscuit into their tea so far that it scalds their fingers.

Although not as recent – but even more disturbing – are the cheap teapots produced by China in the 1720s and 30s, when export demand for red-painted earthen tea-ware well outstripped supply. In order to keep up with the demand, manufacturers decided to begin using cheaper materials in order to get that beautiful, highly sought-after red colour; materials like lead paint. Lead can begin leaking out of the paint at temperatures above 80°C, which was particularly awful for drinkers of black and oolong tea who owned these teapots. As a result, there were many reported cases of lead poisoning.

At this point one may be reminded of the Romans who, in their infinite wisdom, decided to use a revolutionary lead piping system for their water taps. Unfortunately, their knowledge of the element never advanced sufficiently enough to realise that large portions of the affected population had lead poisoning.

In the end, however, perhaps a teapot isn’t awaiting you at the beginning of a terrifying, death-defying accident. But it is noteworthy that both teapots and tea can pose a significant risk to your health and safety when handled improperly, and should be enjoyed with care.

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