Our Story

Born into an Asian family with Eastern values, tea was not simply just a beverage to enjoy but was steeped in tradition. Tea symbolising life, a celebration of new beginnings whether in life and in afterlife. From my earliest memories, I recall drinking tea. My mother would teach us how to brew tea leaves in a pot and explained the different types of teas. We were taught that it helps us to balance our Yin and Yang and aid our digestion. We were often given Pu Erh tea when we had oily food while Green tea with Chrysanthemum flowers and fresh ginger aids dry coughs of cold. So you can say, tea was a way of life for me.

Some of my fondest childhood memories was going to the One Nine One café in the 70’s enjoying a pot of black English tea with my Father after we did our weekly shopping at the Victoria Market. We enjoyed our fresh brew out of an old beaten up aluminium pot with a separate strainer. A far cry from the fancy porcelain pots of today. On special occasions, the family were treated with a Sunday afternoon tea. I reminisce those days when my Father would take us to the Palm Court restaurant at the Southern Cross hotel (Now demolished). We drank heaps of strong tea during the two hours sessions while we stuffed our faces at the buffet. We came to realise by experience, that the best open sandwiches were always served in small quantities and always 30 minutes before closing time. So, we would eagerly wait for those shrimp and walnut sandwiches and descend on them like vultures the minute they were served. Those were the days of simple pleasures in life!

Over the years, I have seen a great shift in the tea industry. Old Australian staple brands like Lanchoo and Bushells are all but faded from their former glory. It is disheartening to see that these ionic Australian brands have been swallowed up by the international conglomerate, Unilever, owners of Liptons. It seems that as times passes, we lose another Aussies brand to overseas competitors. Even our “local darling” tea company T2, started by two Melbourne cofounders are now in the hands of multinational Unilever.

While the large supermarket chains continue to push for lower pricing, resulting in cheaper quality teas being produced by manufacturers. Hence, main stream teas are not the quality it used to be. Our busy lifestyle has necessitated the use of teabags for convenience but often at the expense of quality. The simple act of boiling a pot of tea with fresh leaves, has now become a chore.

The Gourmet Estate Tea company was born out of love for high quality teas and is a rebellion against those large conglomerates that control the international tea market. Our mission is simple: Tea lovers to rejoice and enjoy a real cuppa as they did in the old days while supporting small independent tea farmers. Our teas are harvested from boutique Estates in the Paradise isle of Sri Lanka, home to the World’s best teas. We are a locally owned family Australian business where the profits are kept in Australia, employing Australian. We give thanks and gratitude to those people that have helped us on our journey and we proudly support various communities in the tea industry and other recognised charities. We hope you enjoy our teas, knowing that it was hand-picked with love and care.

Best wishes

Robert Leung