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World tea judge Mark Thirlwall’s mission to help Australians become tea aficionados



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Australians must decelerate the best way they put together and drink tea, and take the time to find the tales behind every brew, to discover a larger appreciation of the beverage, in response to one of many nation’s main tea consultants.

Making a pot of tea with Mark Thirlwall is a methodical, exact course of involving a weighed portion of tea leaves, temperature-controlled water, a timer and cups and pots chosen from years of testing.

It’s what he calls “the theatre of tea”, and it’s a large a part of how he desires Australians to start out approaching “having a cuppa”.

Mr Thirlwall, who lives in Nowra in New South Wales, is certainly one of solely 4 Australians accredited as a world tea decide and spent 13 years working in tea tourism in China.

“Tea is a ‘gradual meals’ and what I discover most fascinating of all after we discuss getting tea into completely different markets or demographics is that atmosphere — it must be conducive to tea ingesting,” he mentioned.

That features taking the time to organize the drink appropriately and ponder its flavour, in addition to studying extra about the place the tea got here from and the way it was made.

Tea leaves in small cups next to a cup of tea and a tea pot on a table.
Unfastened leaf tea is commonly more energizing and carries details about its origins.(ABC Illawarra: Justin Huntsdale)

“You have to develop an appreciation for not simply the flavour — however prolong ourselves past what’s within the cup and have that have which fulfills your creativeness round the way it’s grown.

“If it is an oolong and you’ve got a Chinese language tea maker up for 3 months, barely sleeping, testing his ferment and his oxidation of his tea, that is not one thing that transcends instantly.”

Create the appropriate atmosphere

The large drawback with gradual meals is that they don’t combine nicely with quick lives.

Whereas espresso is a well-liked sit-in or takeaway drink, Mark Thirlwall is continually looking for methods to justify folks selecting a white tea over a flat white.

“You possibly can flip as much as a restaurant and order a espresso, but when I order a tea and get a tea bag in a scorching cup of water, do you justify worth for worth?” he asks.

A basket of fresh green tea leaves.
Mr Thirwall lived and travelled by way of China within the early 2000s, visiting tea farms and establishing a cultural tourism enterprise.(Provided: Mark Thirlwall)

Which is why when Mr Thirlwall makes tea, he turns it into an occasion.

He prepares the drink, all of the whereas providing details about the tea’s origins and flavours, drawing on a complete ‘flavour wheel’ with greater than 100 choices to explain the style.

Mr Thirlwall’s ardour for tea and its well being and wellbeing advantages began 20 years in the past when he travelled to China to work as a tour information and shortly turned fascinated by the tons of of tea farms he visited.

He went on to ascertain a enterprise providing Chinese language cultural experiences like cooking courses and tea workshops for vacationers and the company sector.

Three tricks to a greater cup of tea

Mark Thirlwall smiles while holding a cup of tea, wearing a green polo shirt.
Mr Thirlwall says a temperature-controlled kettle is a straightforward option to make a greater tasting cup of tea.(ABC Illawarra: Justin Huntsdale)

In keeping with Roy Morgan Analysis in 2019, about 50 per cent of Australians drink at the very least one cup of tea per week, with tea lovers sipping a mean of 9.5 cups over the course of per week.

With tea’s recognition rising, Mr Thirlwall has some suggestions for the way to get probably the most out of your favorite brew.

He says a very powerful factor in the case of appreciating tea is to drink what you take pleasure in.

From there, he recommends shopping for free leaf tea and shopping for in small portions to keep up freshness.

“The explanation I say that, is so you’ll be able to higher perceive its classic and the place it is from,” he mentioned.

His third suggestion is to purchase a temperature-controlled kettle as a result of completely different teas style finest when brewed at sure temperatures.

“Individuals usually discover inexperienced tea too bitter, however the cause for that’s it is over-brewed,” he mentioned.