By Sharyn Johnston, Australian Tea Masters
Australia has a history of being a black tea drinking country due to its strong British heritage.
Over the years, black tea with milk and some sugar was the everyday drink for Australian families. The black tea consumed was always a blend and usually made up of Assam, Sri Lankan and Chinese black teas. The types of blends, now consumed in Australia, have changed dramatically with the addition of flavors, botanicals, herbs and spices.
Coffee consumption is very strong in Australia, and this has affected the tea consumption levels, but the introduction of new and interesting flavored and blended teas has helped overcome this by enticing the younger consumers to try new varieties of teas.
Although “English Breakfast “is still the No. 1 selling blend in Australia, specialty cafes are beginning to offer their own signature “Breakfast Blends.” Consumers are beginning to care what is being offered and, oftentimes, people will now not accept a poor-quality teabag. Tea menus in cafes and restaurants are also featuring blended teas to increase their tea offerings.
With the availability in the Australian market of so many different flavors and ingredients, this has allowed the tea blended market to expand considerably, and it’s allowed blenders to create some exciting new beverages. The new flavors available can mimic deserts; you can have wine and cocktail-inspired blends and exotic fruit flavors not normally available in the market.
In regards to flavored teas and blends in the market in Australia, the flavor level is approximately 30 percent less than The United States, Singapore, Indonesia and China. These percentages are based on the experience of Australian Tea Masters, who export blended teas and wellness products to these countries. Australians do not appreciate “heavy “flavors” and instead prefer a more “natural” level of flavoring.
The wellness blended sector is the fastest growing blended category in Australia with fitness, immune boosting blends, chais and natural blended green teas without the addition of flavor, which is the most sought after. Wellness teas – ones that can help with relaxation or support a restful sleep, or cleansing herbal blends that assist with supporting a healthy body, hair and skin – are the most popular.
Australia has a diverse multicultural society which encompasses Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine in the health area of the market. Both types of practitioners use the blending of wellness ingredients to support good health. Australia has a large vitamin and well-being market that’s focused on natural products, so blended and wellness teas and herbals also support these sections of the market. In fact, many consumers of tea are very health focused and well educated on natural ingredients.
Australia has access to a large variety of spices, botanicals and herbs, as well as Australian native ingredients that support good health. This offers the opportunity to create some interesting blends and flavors.
There’s also an increased interest in tea and herbal blending classes in Australia, where people can learn the fundamentals of blending and can learn to create their own signature breakfast blends, as well as the basic formulations to create wellness blends, chais and flavored blends.
Sharyn Johnston is the CEO of Australian Tea Masters and Australian Tea Masters Wholesale and Blending companies. She founded Australian Tea Masters (ATM) in 2011, with branches in Australia, Singapore, Indonesia and recently Korea. ATM is a 100 percent Australian-owned company and encompasses education, consultancy and manufacturing. Johnston is also the head international judge for Tea Masters Cup. She works with market leaders globally to create the latest blends for their markets and also educates and consults on tea blending in China. Australian Tea Masters offers private label manufacturing to different sectors of the market, including brewers, spas and wellness companies, and it has a large base of clients within Australia as well as overseas. ATM currently produce and exports more than 12 tons of tea and wellness blends. Johnston also educates in modern tea mastery, tea blending and tea sommelier training, providing training to various sectors of the hospitality industry – both locally and internationally. Visit AustralianTeaMasters.com.au to learn more.