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Byron Shire
July 19, 2024

A Byron Tea Party

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With a hint of a chill in the mornings and the end of daylight saving, this time of year is all the better for drinking tea. We are spoilt for choice of teas created in this region.

By: Vivienne Pearson


On the bush: Australia’s only subtropical tea plantation is just up the road in Tweed. True tea lovers can see their favourite plant ‘in the wild’ by going on a tour of Madura Tea Estate. Not only can you take in views of a quarter of a million tea bushes, you get a behind the scenes look at the manufacturing side, and take home a bag of tea goodies. It’s your chance to see tea in all its stages from plantation to cup. Tours run on Tuesdays (also Thursdays for prebooked groups). 753 Clothiers Creek Road, Clothiers Creek. www.maduratea.com.au


Tea with dumplings: For another immersive tea experience, try Red Ginger, which has been set up to look like an old Chinese tea shop. You can sample their green tea free as part of Yum Cha, peruse their beautiful selection of teapots and cups (known as ‘teaware’) and buy from a huge range of teas. Maybe try Silver Needles or White Tea balls? Both are white teas, made from the youngest leaves and higher in antioxidants and lower in caffeine. Jonson Street, Byron Bay or Station Street, Bangalow. www.redginger.com.au

Nyoli_TRULY TEA_supplied

Absolutely truly: Another spot for leisurely instore tea shopping is at Truly Tea, in the small arcade opposite the Beach Hotel. Nyoli Scobie sources her tea from Sri Lanka, which is one of the only remaining countries where tea is handpicked (meaning that only the top two leaves in a bud are picked). Nyoli previously worked in the coffee industry and decided, after being constantly asked ‘but what about tea’, to train in all things tea in Sri Lanka. She is super pleased to supply the Sydney Opera House and has recently been approached to start exporting but, as a ‘local local’, her main love is chatting about tea in her picturesque store. 7/4 Jonson St, Byron Bay. Facebook: @trulytea

Byron Chai_supplied

Chai tea: Chai is tea blended with spices and, if anything, chai connoisseurs are even more fussy than tea drinkers about how their brew is made. ‘It is really worth the effort to prepare a chai that suits you,’ says Dave at Byron Chai, which has been around since 1996. Just as ‘tea’ can now refer to a herbal brew that contains no caffeinated black tea, chai also comes in non-black-tea-based drinks, including Byron Chai Dandelion and Rooibos blends. Available at health food stores, The Source Bulk Foods and local IGA stores or online. www.byronchai.com.au

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Processed with VSCO

For the love: Rooibos, from Africa, will be better known to readers of The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency books as Red Bush tea; Mma Ramotswe’s brew of choice. For the Love of Tea sells a Rooibos Chai as well as Dark Chocolate and Chili Chocolate Chais. Teas are not forgotten, with a range that takes you on an around-the-world tour: from English Rose to Sencha Green. Owner, Alli Metcalfe is a naturopath and created her logo from an image of one of her grandmother’s teacups. Available from Byron, Bangalow and The Channon markets as well as many local retailers and online. www.fortheloveoftea.com.au


Poetry in a tea: If your idea of bliss is curling up with a cup of tea and a good book, you’ll be right at home with Poet Tea, a new addition to the endeavours of Bangalow’s Poet Store’s Antonia Case, who is also the editor of Womankind magazine and the literary editor of New Philosopher. Fittingly, it is stocked in bookstores and art galleries around Australia as well as in the Poet Store in Bangalow. Shop 2, 42 Byron Street, Bangalow. www.poettea.com

TeaShopByronBay_Lesley & Kellie enjoying a brew_Supplied copy

New tea: A newcomer to the tea scene is Tea Shop Byron Bay. The shop, which is virtual rather than bricks and mortar, was launched in December last year by a mother and daughter team. ‘Mum has been blending tea for more than 20 years, just for her own use,’ says Kellie Marshall of her mother, Lesley Davison. ‘It was time to share with the world.’ Over summer, market crowds confirmed how well iced tea suits our climate, especially their Lemon Myrtle and Mountain Chai blends. With ingredients sourced organically, the quality is so high that Kellie assures that their teas can be re-steeped without losing flavour. Bangalow and Pottsville markets. www.teashop.net.au

Nursing tea: New mothers need all the care they can get. Byron Bay Tea Company recently added to their range a Nursing Tea; a specialised herbal formula to support breast-milk supply. It contains goat’s rue, alfalfa, nettle, aniseed and lemon balm, and owner Sarita Merlo, a naturopath and herbalist, road-tested the tea on herself (with the help of son, Sam) before launching this one onto the market.

Koala Tea for Kids upset tummies

Tea for kids?: ‘No-one wanted to know about herbal teas 25 years ago,’ says Howard Rubin, of Koala Tea. ‘Even fruit-flavoured black teas were novel at that stage.’ That has definitely changed but now Howard is struggling to find local distributors of his herbal teas range for children (which are popular in Asia). All herbal and organic, Tea for Kids is deemed useful for colds, upset tummies and to assist a good night’s sleep. You can even take the iced-tea concept a step further and freeze the tea into icypoles!


Mayde with tea: ‘All our teas are blended in line with naturopathic philosophies,’ says Kate Dalton, naturopath and founder of Mayde Tea. Kate’s blending and packaging space is set to open as a retail store at Easter, allowing you to check out her teas-in-a-jar and tea flask – great for brewing and sipping tea while on the go. Unit 3, 59 Centennial Circuit, Byron Arts & Industry Estate. www.maydetea.com

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