AUSTCS portfolio

Articles written for the Australian Tea Cultural Seminar (AUSTCS) newsletter, most current first.

A-Waltzing Matilda with tea (21 Jan 2020): How the bush ballad we love (or love to hate) was popularised by tea.

On tea ladies and billy boys (14 Jan 2020): Once an essential member of staff, the tea lady has been relegated to the annals of history. But her legacy should live on.

Happy brew year! (24 Dec 2019): Although spring is often touted as the prime time for new tea, the turn of the calendar also supports an old Japanese ritual,

Tea’s all fun and games (21 Nov 2019):  While books and movies are often cited as the foundations of modern culture, it’s video games that have a surprising amount of influence – but where’s the tea?

When earth, air and water meet for tea (27 Aug 2019): What connects the tea-growing region of Darjeeling to the famous wine district of Champagne? On terroir.

A recipe for Christmas in July (25 Jul 2019): Christmas in July is a southern hemisphere spin-off of the Christian holiday that has European Yule traditions as its roots. It’s also a perfect time to make Christmas tea.

The simple life of tea (10 Jul 2019): Author Henry David Thoreau was an advocate for the simple life. His birthday, 12 July, marks a modern incarnation of his philosophy: Simplicity Day.

Green tea and Mount Fuji (3 Jun 2019): Shincha, or first flush green tea, from Japan is highly anticipated and a visit in May just after harvest will always be a treat.

Who is the mother of tea? (10 May 2019): While ‘Divine Farmer’ Shennong is often credited as the father of tea for his discovery of our favourite leaf, the spot for mother of tea remains vacant.

Make tea not war (24 Apr 2019): Anzac biscuits get all the glory, while ‘Anzac’ tea probably did all the hard work to keep our troops fuelled.

Tomb-sweeping and tea reaping (29 Mar 2019): From late February, the northern hemisphere harvests its first tea of the year. But what does tomb-sweeping have to do with prized spring tea?

On Tuesdays we have tea (5 Mar 2019): Mardi Gras is more than pancakes or a parade – it could be an iconic day for tea, out Mardi Cha.

For the love of tea​ (5 Feb 2019): Saint Valentine of Rome may have died in the 3rd century but his legacy of love lives on… in tea.

Postcard from Sri Lanka (13 Nov 2018): Tea is one of Sri Lanka’s top exports but much of it is for multinational label teabags. On a recent trip, Adeline Teoh searches for gems among the dust.

Making a standard cup of tea (22 Oct 2018): Did you know there is an international standard for a cup of tea?

Tea is for temperance (27 Sep 2018): Australia has a drinking problem, but is tea the answer? The role of ‘dry’ months like febfast, Dry July and Ocsober in a boozy culture and whether tea can fill the gaps.

The Book of Tea and other stories (31 Jul 2018): In the lead-up to Book Lovers Day on 9th August, Adeline Teoh peeks between the covers to reveal the long relationship between tea and books.

A gift of the GABA (20 Jul 2018): GABA tea has been around since the 1980s but is only just starting to gain more traction with western tea drinkers for its health properties.

Making tea for Malawi (2 Jul 2018): As we approach Malawi’s Independence Day on 6 July, Adeline Teoh reflects on the history of the African tea trade.

Tea, a drink to your health? (4 Apr 2018): Ahead of World Health Day on 7 April, Adeline Teoh investigates how tea and health have been intertwined since the beginning of tea’s history.

Water is the mother of tea (20 Mar 2018): For World Water Day on Thursday 22 March, Adeline Teoh takes a closer look at how the top world beverage affects tea.

Portuguese royal tea (6 Mar 2018): To celebrate International Women’s Day on 8 March, Adeline Teoh pays homage to a Portuguese princess, the ‘first lady of tea’ in England.

K-pop and tea drops (20 Feb 2018): Whether you’re enjoying the action at the XXIII Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea, or gearing up for its Independence Day on 1 March, you should raise a cup of tea to this underrated nation of tea drinkers.

The Chinaman who opened Australia’s first tearoom (6 Feb 2018): Ahead of the Lunar New Year (16 February, Year of the Dog) Adeline Teoh remembers Sydney mandarin Mei Quong Tart, the Chinaman who opened Australia’s first tearoom.

‘Switch to tea’ (23 Jan 2018): Who was responsible for pioneering the tea tastes of a nation? Adeline Teoh introduces Alfred Thomas Bushell, Australia’s first tea shop owner.

Tea to beat the heat (9 Jan 2018): Heatwaves, bushfires and sunburn are unfortunate souvenirs of an Australian summer. As the temperature rises, Adeline Teoh finds out how to use tea to cool down.


Raise your cup on International Tea Day (8 Dec 2017): Next Friday, 15 December, marks the 13th International Tea Day. Here’s how you can support ethically produced tea while raising your cup.

What makes a good brew? (26 Sep 2017): An interview with Dr Jillian Adams on the history of tea and coffee marketing.

Tea and Hamburgers (23 Aug 2017): The German port city of Hamburg delivers a surprising tea treasure.

Image credit: David Lyons

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