Tea growing in the Daintree

Tea growing in the Daintree

Written by: Cameron Ward

Published: 02/21/2020

Reading time: 3 mins

Growing tea is an intricate and time-consuming process. The plants require perfect conditions to thrive and a deep understanding of horticulture to cultivate.

Daintree Tea is the biggest tea producer in the Daintree. The large plantation grows a unique type of black tea which is processed on-site to prevent unwanted additional oxidisation.

  • Types of tea

    When speaking about tea there are two categories true teas and herbal tisanes. True teas are made using leaves of tea plants. Herbal tisanes, however, do not include tea leaves but rather flowers, spices and herbs.

    When speaking only about true teas, there are four varieties including white, green, oolong and black. All four teas are produced from the same plant and leaves, but how they are dried and processed changes their colour and flavours.

  • Growing tea

    Tea is suited to grow in high, warm climates with good drainage. For this reason, some of the biggest tea producers in the world are found in China, India, Sri Lanka and Kanya. The plants are suited to their tropical, humid climates and grow well in these regions. Surprisingly, the Daintree in Queensland is also a fantastic tea growing region. The alpine area has the acidic soil the plant requires to thrive as well as the rainfall and humidity to keep the plants lush.

  • Harvesting tea

    Tea plants are typically harvested twice a year. However, this process is not as simple as just grabbing the leaves and whacking them into a container.

    Throughout the year each plant is meticulously pruned to encourage new growth. Keeping plants in early growth stages maximises the plants harvest later on.

    At harvest, just the top two leaves and stem are picked from the bush. As such a select number of leaves are harvested at once tea must be harvested by hand. The delicate leaves are known as flush and are the basis of all tea. Some harvesters have tried to utilise commercial machinery, however, they quickly discovered that the delicate leaves could not withstand the harsh machines.

    The young leaves must begin processing immediately after they are harvested or they risk being ruined.

  • Processing tea

    All four types of tea are made from the same leaves simply processed differently. Processing can include a variety of steps, each eliciting a new flavour profile out of the leaf.

    A few examples of the tea processing steps include drying, rolling, withering, and oxidising.

    Withering the tea involves leaving the fresh leaves out in the sun to have the moisture drawn out of it. Oxidisation is what causes the colour difference between teas. The longer the leaves are left to oxidise, the darker they will be. The oxidisation level of tea also changes the flavours present in the tea. Drying leaves ends the oxidisation process and is the final step in processing tea. They can be dried using several different methods including roasting and steaming.

    After it is dried, tea is cut and sorted, ready for distribution either as tea bags or loose leaf varieties.

Buy Tea in the Daintree

Pop by to grab some from the onsite shop, or enjoy some from the comfort of your accommodation after picking some up at the local supermarket.

Related article: Why you should visit to the Mossman Gorge Centre?

Cameron Ward
Cameron Ward
Managing Director at Sightseeing Tours Australia

Cameron Ward turned his travel passion into a thriving Australian tourism business. Before he co-founded his own business, Sightseeing Tours Australia, he was enjoying being a Melbourne tour guide. Even now, Cameron delights in helping visitors from all around the world get the most out of their incredible Australian trip. You’ll see Cameron leading tours or writing about his favourite Australian places where he shares his local insights.