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Tea taster sips or spits

TEA EXPERT: Madura tea taster Michael Sales sips his way through work, having tested all the Madura varieties on offer.
TEA EXPERT: Madura tea taster Michael Sales sips his way through work, having tested all the Madura varieties on offer. Samantha Elley

IT WOULD seem like selling ice cubes to Eskimos but selling tea to China only underlines the fact that Madura Tea Estate has a great product, according to CEO Barry Cosier.

With markets in United Arab Emirates, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, the USA and China, the 100% Australian owned company recently earned itself a Canstar Blue Award.

The ratings agency surveyed 2500 tea bag consumers before giving Madura the Blue Taste Award.

"It is a nationally recognised award and is based on the taste of a product," Mr Cosier said.

"We blend our tea to a flavour profile not a price."

Mr Cosier outlined the three pillars of making Madura tea. They were Australian; any imported teas were ethically sourced; and finally taste.

"We have a tea sipper who checks every batch we import and also the tea we grow," he said.

"We put a huge emphasis on the product being consistent.

"It's got to be good or it goes."

The tea sipper in question is technical manager, Michael Sales.

"I am the sip and spit manager," he said with a laugh.

"I have worked in tea all my life, starting in tea plantations in India."

Having worked with Madura Teas for the last 10 years, Mr Sales knows what he is looking for when tasting a batch of tea.

"Madura tea has a distinct fresh upmarket taste," he said.

"We pride ourselves on freshness."

Regardless of the arguments such a statement is likely to start, Mr Sales believes there is no difference between tea in a pot and tea bags.

"Tea bags are great for convenience but there is no difference in the quality between the two," he said.

"Pure Assam is my favourite as it is a classic regional tea and is known for its strength, colour and hint of maltiness."

Madura Tea Estate, on the outskirts of Murwillumbah, runs tea tours twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10am.

Facts about Madura Tea Estate

  •  Established in 1978
  •  Madura means Paradise in Sri Lankan.
  •  The estate processes 750,000 teabags a day.

Topics:  horticulture madura tea