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Tuesday 28 September 2021

Why it is time for a celebratory tea party

I make no secret of the fact that wine is my beverage of choice. I also enjoy an occasional beer, a vodka or gin, and sometimes a nice cup of tea. 

In fact, I've been drinking tea for a lot longer than wine: I recall drinking Typhoo Tea and collecting free footballer cards back in the 1960s.

That's a rather roundabout introduction to why I am writing about tea today, rather than wine. 

Nerada Tea, Australia’s largest tea producer, is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year - a pretty major milestone for Australian tea production. 

The tea plantation in the Atherton Tablelands of Far North Queensland, is marking the occasion with the release three brand-new, single-origin loose leaf tea blends, using 100% Australian-grown tea. 

Nerada Tea was launched in 1971, after several years of growing and selling bulk tea in Innisfail, Queensland. 

An opportunity emerged to produce a branded tea to sell to Queensland and southern Australian states and so the Nerada brand was born, named after the area alongside the local Johnstone River. 

Pioneering local Dr Allan Maruff cultivated the tea using some of the original cuttings from the lost plantation in Bingil Bay that was planted by the Cutten Brothers in 1884. 

Through cyclones, drought, market challenges and changes of business structure, the Nerada brand has continued to survive. 

Nerada Tea has been responsible for new and innovative practices in the Australian tea industry including pesticide-free farming practices, mechanised harvesting, blending, and processing teas from both its home in the Atherton Tablelands and its packaging facilities in Brisbane. 

Today, the plantation harvests 6.6 million kilograms of fresh green tea leaves to the Nerada Tea processing factory, which equates to roughly 750 million cups of tea per year. 

Despite these impressive production figures, Australian-grown black tea still only accounts for 6% of the tea available on our supermarket shelves. 

It turns out that  Far North Queensland is an ideal climate to grow and produce outstanding tea. 

"We’re nestled between Queensland’s highest mountain ranges, and the rich volcanic soils and 750 metre altitude give our tea a distinctive flavour profile,” Nerada Tea plantation director Tony Poyner said.  

“There is such a wonderful tea culture here in Australia. We feel honoured to have played a significant part of Australia’s tea history.

"It’s testament to the perseverance of many of the pioneers in Queensland, such as the Taylor and Russell families who were determined to grow world-class tea on Australian soil."

There's a new-look pack to celebrate the 50-year milestone. 

The new blends to be released for this semi-centennial are: Director’s Cut Original Black Tea; Director’s Cut Sunrise Black Tea with Lemon Myrtle and Director’s Cut Indulge Black Tea with Cocoa. 

The blends are available from Nerada Tea’s online store or by visiting the Nerada Tea Room in Malanda, where you might spot a tree kangaroo or two (above). They live on the property. See 

Now please excuse me, I'm off to put the kettle on. 

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