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Australian Tea Cultural Seminar - Reviews

November 29, 2017

The first Australian Tea Cultural Seminar, AUSTCS 2017, was held in Canberra on 11th-12th of November. Tea professionals and enthusiasts from all over the world attended the seminar which DōMatcha® was proud to sponsor.

Read these attendee reviews and find out why this was such a special event for tea lovers.

The History of Tea Consumption in Australia

by Namsu Kim

The first Australian Tea Cultural Seminar, AUSTCS 2017, was held in Canberra on 11th-12th of November. Tea professionals from all over the world and tea enthusiasts attended the seminar.

One of the most interesting presentations was the presentation given by Dr. Jillian Adams. The presentation was about the history of tea consumption in Australia. The tea consumption was surprisingly higher than the coffee consumption until the 1950s. However, due to the cultural shift and introduction of instant coffee, the coffee consumption began to increase. In spite of tea council's huge effort in marketing to promote tea in the 60s, 70s and 80s the coffee consumption is currently much higher than the tea consumption.

After watching Masashi Sato’s (managing director of ITO EN Australia) presentation, who compared tea cultures in Japan, USA, Singapore and Australia, I was convinced that we need to introduce tea to greater number of people who may never have considered tea as an alternative beverage to alcohol, coffee, juice and energy drinks.

I was grateful to attend the first Australian Tea Cultural Seminar and be reminded of the importance of developing a recognizable Australian tea culture to promote tea, help Australian tea industry more sustainable which will increase the availability of an improved quality and selection of tea.

It was posi-TEA-ve to see a tea culture evolve in Australia after a produc- TEA -ve weekend of TEA talk and tasting amazing TEA.🍵. I am very excited for the second Australian Tea Cultural Seminar in Melbourne next year.


Tea in a Coffee-Filled World

by Georgia Pick

As a novice tea enthusiast, I did not know what to expect from the Australian Tea Cultural Seminar. I was interested to hear David Lyons’ introduction to the seminar in which he discussed the passion of putting tea back on the radar in a coffee-filled world. The seminar was not about advocating for the consumption of ‘rare’ tea - just high quality, well-brewed tea, the importance of which I discovered over the course of the weekend.

We were fortunate enough to begin the seminar by tasting a variety of tea brewed by professionals in the field. We then heard from Simon Pawson, a sustainable community tourism researcher, who spoke on tea and the tourism industry. He focused on the growth of the service sector and tourism, and how younger generations want a different experience in the hospitality industry. I found it particularly interesting to learn about the rise of lifestyle hotels, and how food and beverage services form a competitive advantage for hotels, which provides a platform to disseminate tea and foster tea culture.

We then heard from Dr Jillian Adams, an oral historian with a research interest in food and culture. I found her presentation on the history of tea consumption in Australia really fascinating, particularly how the number of tea varieties enjoyed in Australia has been influenced by multiculturalism.

Finally, we heard from Masashi Sato, the managing director of ITO EN Australia Pty Ltd. He compared the sweetened and unsweetened tea markets across the globe, noting, for example, that the consumption of sweetened tea has surpassed that of tea in the US and Asian countries. This to me highlighted the importance of promoting tea education, particularly amongst children and young adults to prevent diabetes and obesity. I was particularly interested to note the health benefits of green tea, which has been proven to reduce the consumption of carbohydrates.

Coming away from this, I was amazed to have learnt about why the growth of tea culture and the industry would have such widespread benefits across the board. And amongst all this, I was grateful to share in the environment and to be reminded of the importance of shared passion applied to a worthwhile cause.


Past, Present and Future of Tea

by Isabel Chiu

The AUSTCS inaugural meeting in Canberra hosted discussions about the past, present and future of tea in Australia. What was particularly fascinating for me was the historical discussion of the promotion of tea drinking post-WWII by Dr Jillian Adams. The image of tea in modern Australia hasn’t changed much since the end of WWII. Tea was heavily rationed during the war period and so the image of tea as old-fashioned stuck in the minds of many.
In particular, people tend to think of tea in the context of a traditional British High Tea, which is a colonial import. This contrasts, however, with the diversity of tea cultures that exists in today’s multicultural environments in Sydney, as well as elsewhere. This wider perspective of tea observances and ritual is hardly known outside of the few pockets of tea houses—which are unfortunately few and far between—and cultural events.
Three different workshops dealing with the different aspects of tea perception and promotion were then hosted on the second day. For the “tea culture” workshop, which I attended, we concentrated on the preceding day’s historical reflections, which badly needed updating to a savvy 21st century audience. Suggestions floated include both top-down and bottom-up approaches: the sponsoring of cultural events including tea by city councils and mini tea pop-ups where people can casually interact and get introduced to tea in a variety of presentations. The “tea education” workshop floated the idea of having tea as a separate category of recognition by the various Royal Agricultural Societies throughout Australia, which will enable local producers of tea to get national and even international recognition, thus raising the profile of our tea products.
Overall, we considered tea perception in Australia dated and narrow and that we need to tackle these deficiencies on several fronts.

Starting the Tea Talk

by Telani Kumar

Tea-lovers of Australia united under one roof in Canberra to sip on beau-tea-ful loose leaf blends, and put our beloved drink under the magnifying glass. The Australian Cultural Tea Seminar (AUSTCS) was a pleasure to be a part of. Together, over countless cups of tea, we took the plunge into the question of where, in a fast coffee-fueled world, we have the time to sit and appreciate a cup of simplici-tea. This stirred up exci-tea-ng ideas for the future of tea culture in Australia.

The generosi-tea of brewers bringing their favourite teas to the table, allowed tea to do what it does best; help us slow down, appreciate, and share. Brewing rituals and its place in hospitali-tea has a long history in cultures like Taiwan and Japan. Did you know that Samurais would leave their sword away (something that never happens), out of respect, for a cup of tea?

Mashashi Sato spoke to us on differences in the tea cultures of such countries and Australia.

Why don’t we see teas like Oolong being served from the Gaiwan as much as we see baristas whipping up an Espresso or Cappuccino to go? American Glitz and an instant fix to help us keep up with modern-world madness, Historian Jillian Adams explained. But hey we can thank the humble tea-bag for giving Nestle some healthy compe-tea-tion, and saving Aussie tea culture. A little ‘tea drunk’, we put our thinking caps on about how to not only make tea great again, but help it blossom. There’s more beyond the bag in hot water!

Letting the crea-tea-ve juices flow, we came up with ways to get more vocal on how to share and appreciate tea. That is, through cafes, social media, and the self-care industry - it has a myriad of health benefits after all. With such a devo-tea-ed group who want to see this in action, a Gaiwan set beside the barista in local cafes may soon be on the cards. Or perhaps some organic methods we can call our own. Only time will tell. Either way, leaving AUSTCS, I’m posi-tea-ve we’ll soon begin to see an Australian tea culture on the brew.