Posted in Kafevend Blog

Australian tea

Welcome back to the kafevend blog! Carrying on from Thursday and our delve into Australia's coffee culture, we thought today we would take a look at a far older and better established drink in Australia- tea.

At least we still have tea

Unlike coffee, tea has a longer history with Australia- the colonial part, that is. The first tea to be brought to Australia was part of the cargo aboard the First Fleet in 1788. This fleet was made up of 11 vessels carrying over 1,000 convicts, as well as the required sailors and marines. Some folks higher up back in Britain had decided that a great way to deal with criminals was to essentially just get rid of them by sending them away, and that handy great big expanse of land that had recently been discovered on the other side of the world was the perfect spot.

The indigenous Aboriginal Australians already had their own form of tea- perhaps better thought of as a tisane- which they drank before the arrival of the Europeans, made using the leaves of a plant belonging to the Leptospermum family, a group of shrubs and trees. Captain Cook is said to have observed some of them drinking it and referred to it as tea, giving the plant the name ti tree. Another type of tisane drunk later on is the famous Billy tea, which used the gum leaves of the Eucalyptus tree for flavouring.

Following the difficult and rather morally bankrupt start of British colonialism in Australia, tea became just as big a feature in life there for the colonists as it was in Britain. Australia's tea culture was and still is essentially British, as you might expect. Morning and afternoon tea are staples, as is referring to the evening meal as tea. Black tea is the most popular type of tea, and adding milk is typically a given- if you ever feel like visiting Australia from Britian, you can rest assured that your tea needs will be well catered for!

Home grown

Just as when we were talking about coffee earlier this week, Australia also has a small scale tea industry that has started in recent decades. Several companies such as Daintree tea and Madura tea have established plantations primarily in the northern regions of Australia, though it is grown in a select few other areas as well. Black tea is the most common type of tea that is produced in Australia, but there is a small amount of green tea made there too.

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