There is no doubt that Australia has a strong and world-known coffee and tea culture, which is tightly linked to its migration history. Here, we will go through the main facts that have made these two popular beverages a signature for Australia’s biggest tourist attractions.
Coffee culture in Australia
You might wonder, how did Australia, being a tea-drinking British colony, found its way to become internationally recognised for its coffee?
The introduction of espresso coffee is tightly linked to immigration, when Italians arrived in Australia during World War II. They brought the first espresso machines, which introduced a new flavour of less bitter brew, served by itself or topped with creamy milk. After that, the espresso bars quickly became a sensation in Sydney and Melbourne, much beyond the Italian migrant community that had started it.
In the 1960’s, cafes, with their unique decorative styles, attracted Australian bohemians and people that were looking for something different than the old-style milk bars. Small groups of people started gathering around coffee spots, but it was still a very expensive drink.
By the 1980’s, coffee had become more affordable, and that gave it a boost in a community that, at the same time started to enjoy a relatively higher standard of living, which allowed them to have time and money to enjoy a cuppa as a social experience.
More cafes started to open in Australia’s big cities, and each of them competed on having the most unique decorations, along with providing high quality barista coffee, bringing the best coffee beans from around the world, and offering delicious coffee blends.
Today, cafes in Australia offer innovative coffee beverages, together with exotic complementary foods, which makes it a really enjoyable and unforgettable experience for customers. Australians take great pride in their coffee scene today, and it has become a big tourist attraction for the country. Cafes get hundreds of coffee orders every day, and people are usually very loyal to their local cafe, going there daily for their morning coffee.
Tea Culture in Australia
Now, regarding tea culture, there’s no doubt that the British legacy has permeated in Australia since becoming a British colony, but also the influence and immigration from Asian countries which have a strong tea culture has been crucial. Countries like China, Japan, Korea, India, Nepal, and other South-East Asian countries have brought their traditional blends and tea rituals to Australia. There’s also a wide and sophisticated variety of tea shops and small businesses offering unique tea blends, for the non-coffee drinkers.
We talked to Grace from The Tea Nomad (www.theteanomad.com), and asked her a few questions about tea culture in Australia:
The Tea Nomad is all about indulging a love for travel and a passion for tea. Having grown up with travel in my blood and forever sipping different kinds of tea all day every day, The Tea Nomad was started whilst I was living overseas and working in a corporate job, but looking for a creative outlet. I realised that I spent a lot of my time and energy either dreaming, talking, planning or reminiscing about travel- trips past and future, and that I was usually doing it with a cup of tea in hand! So, The Tea Nomad came about as a way of combining those two loves- to share and indulge my own wanderlust with others, through luxurious tea experiences. I believe that tea has such a wonderful ability to be a beautiful, sensory experience- through the look of a blend, the scent and of course the taste, it can really transport you to a moment of escape and that is what we are trying to do- create unique loose leaf tea blends that have a story inspired by a destination; or more specifically a certain travel memory or experience.
We currently have 6 hand blended teas in our signature range, but plans for many more. Since The Tea Nomad came into existence while we were living overseas, Sydney was the first one that I created as an ode to my hometown- and in particular, the summers that to me capture everything I love about Sydney. So naturally, it is a refreshingly bold and fruity blend that is designed for cold brewing as an ice tea (although its wonderful drunk hot too)- a black tea blend with passionfruit, and pieces of mango and peaches. The other blends are Bali, Kyoto, Maldives, Provence, Sahara and Shanghai. We also have limited edition blends such as Noël, our mulled wine inspired Christmas blend which is all about capturing those wonderful white Christmas market vibes in Europe.
Of course, there are plenty more places to explore, travels to share and dreams to be inspired by so the world is our oyster (or tea cup as it were!)
I think there has long been a tea culture in Australia but that it has changed and grown a lot with a younger demographic in recent years. From the classic milky cuppa made with a teabag that is probably still a part of most households and that we probably inherited as a British tradition, to a growing appreciation for loose leaf tea and demand for tea blends that are not just your English Breakfast or Peppermint tea bag. In recent years, there has been a trend towards a much more refined or maybe complex and curious palette when it comes to food and beverage; a willingness and desire to try new ingredients, a deservedly higher expectation of freshness and quality, and an appreciation for small batch and handcrafted artisanal products that have a story or a face behind them, and all of these things has led to the growth of a tea culture that has really been quite exciting to witness and be a part of.
You are always going to be enjoying a much higher quality cup of tea when a blend contains loose leaf tea, and therefore a tastier brew. The tea in a tea bag is typically the lower grade dust or fannings (tiny particles of tea) left over from the processing of loose leaf tea. Tea bags are typically mass produced, and are therefore likely to be less fresh, and have a more one dimensional taste. Consistent maybe, but with a much more limited flavour expression. You also lose a lot of the benefits that come from drinking tea - a lot of those lovely antioxidants are going to be lost with the production and handling involved with tea bags not to mention that the bags themselves are not as environmentally friendly- even when compostable, the reality is that few will bother to undertake the process.
Importantly, the fact that brewing loose leaf tea does take a few moments is for us, what actually tea makes it such a beautiful experience- a simple ritual that takes you away from the busyness or stress of the every day, and encourages you to indulge in a few moments of escape.
You can get your hands on some of The Tea Nomads beautiful blends in our Tea Lovers Gift box, the perfect gift this Christmas - SHOP HERE