The Australian Tea

Growers Co-operative.

Growing a new Australian farming opportunity.

Tea is not a new crop to Australia, in fact it is believed that the first small tea plantations in Australia date back to the late 1800’s.

The tea produced in Australia historically has been what we know as ‘black tea’ or fermented tea, and these days the main black tea plantations in Australia are in northern NSW and Queensland.

In comparison, the production of ‘green tea’ in Australia is a relatively new concept. Green tea (which is essentially made from the same plants as black tea via a different process) is popular throughout Asia and has been consumed for more than 5000 years.

During the 1990’s, several Japanese companies were looking at Australia as a potential site for the production of Japanese-style green tea. On the NSW Central Coast, Department of Primary Industries (DPI) was working with a Japanese company Kunitaro to conduct experimental trial farming of this interesting crop here in NSW.

Following on from these successful trials, Kunitaro established an Australian branch (Kunitaro Australia Pty Limited) and purchased 25 hectares in Mangrove Mountain, Central Coast, NSW, planted crops and built what is known as, a ‘crude’ (preliminary) processing plant from which they now harvest, process and ship high quality product back to Japan for final processing, packaging and shipping to the Japanese distribution and retail networks.

At about the same time, a group of farmers located around the Ovens Valley in Victoria were successfully growing plants on numerous farms and had formed a growers-group backed by Victoria State Government and Japanese owned company (Ito En Corp) based in Wangaratta, to produce green tea for the emerging Green Tea canned drinks market.

These two early initiatives led to numerous farming and economic studies producing several encouraging reports as to the viability of developing a new industry here in Australia for this centuries-old Asian dominated business.

Next Generation Farming

Tea farming is a form of on-farm diversification and could provide an opportunity to increase the long-term viability of farms, thereby encouraging the retention of the next generation of Australian farmers.


Tea is typically made using the fresh young leaves of the tea plant. After harvesting, it is generally the processing that determines the style of tea produced. Each ‘style’ of tea has its own particular requirements, which dictates the specific economics for that style of tea production.



The world produces many different ‘styles’ of tea but they can be broadly grouped into 3 main categories;

Green tea has the highest concentration of EGCG, a catechin that acts as an antioxidant, which may help prevent some types of cancers. Green tea is also one of the least processed teas. There are almost no down-sides to drinking green tea, Hausler says, but if you have a sensitive stomach you’ll want to be careful to not oversteep the tea, as it can become bitter and harsh on the stomach.
Black tea is heavily processed, which strips many of the health benefits, including less epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) and vitamin C. According to Hausler, most black teas we drink come from subpar commercial farms. However, when brewed and sourced properly, black tea’s benefits are in line with the other teas in terms of antioxidants and relaxation properties. Also, it often has a bit more caffeine than the others.
Oolong teas are least studied of the teas. But they have their own set of antioxidants, with many cancer-preventive properties. And while all teas have GABA, GABA oolong, and oolong-specific tea, has the highest GABA concentration because the leaves are put in a chamber that removes the oxygen. Need to chill? This is your tea.


At the moment, there is only one tea processing facility on the New South Wales Central Coast.

This facility is located at Mangrove Mountain and is owned and operated by Kunitaro Australia Pty Ltd. The facility specialises in making high quality, organic, Japanese-style green tea. Growers wishing to produce this high quality Japanese-style Green Tea under guidance from the Kunitaro Company, are encouraged to do so. The Co-op can assist with this interaction.

Alternatively, farmers who wish to grow non-organic green tea or other styles of tea (Chinese style, Oolong, Black tea etc) have several options available to them, including farmer-owned, on-farm processing or the development of alternate processing technologies and facilities.


Discover how you can get involved and become a part of growing a new Australian farming opportunity.

Begin the journey today!


Information Sessions

Information Sessions

There will be experts from the tea industry to provide information and answer questions on the tea farming opportunity. Includes tea growing; the economics of tea farming; processing tea; overview of the newly formed coop.

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