Australian grown tea - An opportunity for a new industry
The rolling farmland of the Somersby Plateau on the N.S.W. Central Coast is home to AUSTEA H.Q. and some day be covered in tea plantations and a major tea processing and packing facility if our vision for this new industry comes to fruition.
The tea produced in Australia historically has been what we know as ‘black tea’ or fermented tea, and these days the main black tea plantations in Australia are in northern NSW and Queensland.
In comparison, the production of ‘green tea’ in Australia is a relatively new concept. Green tea (which is essentially made from the same plants as black tea via a different process) is popular throughout Asia and has been consumed for more than 5000 years.
During the 1990’s, several Japanese companies were looking at Australia as a potential site for the production of Japanese-style green tea. On the NSW Central Coast, Department of Primary Industries (DPI) was working with a Japanese company Kunitaro to conduct experimental trial farming of this interesting crop here in NSW.
Following on from these successful trials, Kunitaro established an Australian branch (Kunitaro Australia Pty Limited) and purchased 25 hectares in Mangrove Mountain, Central Coast, NSW, planted crops and built what is known as, a ‘crude’ (preliminary) processing plant from which they now harvest, process and ship high quality product back to Japan for final processing, packaging and shipping to the Japanese distribution and retail networks.
At about the same time, a group of farmers located around the Ovens Valley in Victoria were successfully growing plants on numerous farms and had formed a growers-group backed by Victoria State Government and Japanese owned company based in Wangaratta, to produce green tea for the emerging Green Tea canned drinks market.
The vision for AUSTEA is to encompass all of these plantations and more, under one Australian brand. We believe that by working together. We can further Australia's reputation as a major player in the international tea export market, while creating new opportunities for future members of the cooperative.