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Byron Shire
September 29, 2023

Time for tea

Latest News

Feros responds to Expression of Interest announcement

The announcement earlier today that the Minister for Crown Lands, Steve Kamper, started the Expressions of Interest (EOI) process for Feros Village Byron Bay has drawn a response from the Feros Care board that still sees the facility in terms of a 'closure'. 

Other News

Cartoon of the week – 27 September 2023

The letters deadline for The Echo is noon Friday. Letters longer than 200 words may be cut. The publication of letters is at the discretion of the letters editor.

Disaster management needs different approach, says NRCF

Disaster funding must favour social capital and community building, rather than just ‘mopping up’, the head of the philanthropic organisation, Northern Rivers Community Foundation, says.

Cruel Sea return gig supports Wildlife Hospital, October 21

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No more Hottentot

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BES rejects Ramsey’s proposal to leave conservation zones to private landholders

Ballina Environment Society (BES) has come out strongly against conservative independent Ballina Councillor Eva Ramsey’s proposal to have private property owners ‘opt in’ to conservation zones.

The ‘No’ vote

Giving Indigenous people a ‘Voice’ while simultaneously silencing Australians with the ‘Combating Misinformation and Disinformation’ Bill isn’t progression; it’s...

By: Vivienne Pearson

Taking the lid off each deep, black tub reveals a wonderland of scent and texture. Flavour too, but to elicit that, you first need to add water. Boiling water.

I am at Byron Bay Tea Company’s HQ, in the hills just outside Newrybar, being treated to a behind-the-scenes look at the ingredients and how they become Byron Bay Tea.

Teas are blended here most days, in small batches to ensure freshness and the ideal balance of flavours. The blending recipes have all been developed by owner and natropath Sarita Merlo. There are currently 20 different teas and Sarita is continually working on new ones – including one designed for nursing mothers (a creation that has stemmed from Sarita’s first year as a mum). ‘There’s lots of taste testing,’ says Roe Ritchie, one of two tea blenders, referring to trials of new teas as well as constant monitoring of the existing blends.

Most is packaged as loose-leaf tea but tea bags are also offered. These are the pyramid shape that have come to be associated with finer tea but are made from corn starch rather than silk. ‘Corn starch is totally biodegradable,’ says Roe.

Byron Bay Tea has been around for 11 years but seems to be better known further afield than locally. ‘Locals don’t necessarily know we exist,’ says Roe. Those who do are likely to be frequenters of the Byron or Bangalow markets, where the teas are sold from an eye-catching display. This is your chance to have a miniature version of my behind-the-scenes tour, with the un-brewed teas displayed in bowls for you to admire.

You will instantly see why this tea is different. For the herbal teas (which are made from any plant other than Camelia sinensis – the ‘tea plant’) each dried leaf, flower and berry can be seen, including chamomile flowers, peppermint leaves, rosebuds, and the rolled leaves of the ‘Buddha’s Tears’ (‘It’s a bit of magic watching them unfold during brewing,’ says Roe). Only a few ingredients are able to be sourced locally – the aniseed myrtle is grown near Ballina and the lemon myrtle near Nimbin. Wattleseed and eucalyptus come from Victoria but most others come from overseas. The black tea used is sourced from high altitudes in India.

Sarita is passionate about the health benefits of tea and started the company with herbal teas only before adding traditional, and now oriental, teas (including Jasmine and Japanese Quince).

Byron Bay Tea packaging is bright and beautiful but it is the tea within that steals the show – before or after adding hot water.


Time for tea

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A win for Feros Village Byron Bay residents

A whole community can expel a sigh of relief at the breaking news that months of distress and sadness can now become part of history – this morning the Minister for Crown Lands, Steve Kamper, has announced that services providers for aged care are advised that Expressions of Interest (EOI) are now open for Feros Village Byron Bay.

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