Australia is unlikely to spring to the top of your mind when thinking about the world’s tea producing regions. Not only do we grow and produce tea domestically there is some excellent tea coming onto the market.
This week I am excited to feature Arakai Estate, an Australian artisan tea maker, located in the beautiful Conondale Ranges in South-East Queensland.
This is a wonderful story about all the things I am passionate about when it comes to tea. A local, family owned and operated tea estate that produces small batch artisan tea. The estate maintains a sustainable approach to tea production resulting in clean and pure tea that has a unique flavour profile. In addition to tea, the estate grows avocados and plantation rainforest timber, that also plays a role in providing shelter to the tea bushes when the weather turns wild. Add to this, the people behind Arakai Estate are lovely. Arakai Estate’s Farm / Plantation Manager, Brendon Collins, is a top bloke, down to earth and happy to spend the time talking and sharing information about their teas.
If you look closely at Bellthorpe’s terroir it is not surprising that high-quality teas are being produced in the region*. Bellthorpe has a mild, subtropical climate, with high rainfall and fertile soil that is slightly acidic perfectly suited to the Japanese tea cultivars the estate has planted. The tea estate sits around 580m above sea level resulting in cooler temperatures overnight and during winter. The tea bushes go dormant through the winter resulting in the magnificent first flush teas that the estate produces.
Arakai Estate commenced commercial production in October last year and made a successful debut at the 2015 Australian Golden Leaf Awards hosted by The Australian Tea Masters. They received category awards for the Best Australian Green Tea and Best Australian Black Tea. More impressively they were awarded the overall Green Tea Category in a field of international and national tea specialists. The result of the blind taste testing is a testament to the quality of the tea that is being produced by Arakai Estate.
The result is promising and means there are exciting times ahead for Australian tea particularly if the increased interest and demand for home grown artisanal teas in the UK and US is anything to go by. We encourage you to get behind this small tea farm and support the Australian Tea industry. In the current climate where consumers are demanding knowledge and understanding of the source of the products they are consuming, Arakai Estate represents a true farm to cup story.
The Steepery Tea Co. are committed to sourcing tea that represent fine examples of Australian provenance. We hope to be able to share Arakai Estate teas in our store very shortly. In the mean time if you wanted to experience this tea for yourself or have any questions feel free to contact the estate directly via email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Follow on next week in Tealosophy as we will be sharing the tasting experience and notes on the 2015 Arakai Estate teas. You can read this post here.
* Terroir is a French term used commonly within the wine industry to describe the impact that a growing location (ecosystem) and type of plant has on the final flavour.
** First 3 images and logo courtesy of Arakai Estate.