Stephen Carroll’s interest in tea started at a young age.
At 13 he would purchase Earl Grey and Lapsan Souchong (black tea) at local tea merchants with his pocket money.
Heading The Tea House Gallery in Crookwell, Mr Carroll says the journey is far from over.
Last month he was invited to the Shenzhen International Tea Expo, one of the largest tea expos in the world. He, along with the group from Crookwell, were one of the few VIP guests.
“I was both honored, not many people receive a VIP invite, and worried about representing the Australian tea industry,” he said.
“The expo was magnificent and is the largest tea expo in the world. The hospitality of Mr Yang, the CEO of the expo company was nothing short of spectacular.”
For a week Mr Carroll sampled teas, spoke with producers, inspected tea wares and immersed himself in the tea culture.
Watching tea dancers and meeting tea producers were the highlights of his trip.
He said the Arakai Estate Tea – an Australian tea produced in South Queensland – was well received.
One Song Dynasty Tea Master, who traditionally brews Chinese tea by whisking dark tea into a froth, was actively using the tea at the expo.
“Once again I learned that tea will bridge our differences and forge friendships,” he said.
“Specialty tea is something the Shire can become known for with planning. With our climate we are able to grow and process teas. Also, we can become a tea destination for culture and tea education.”
Mr Carroll will be a judge at The Korean Culture Day in September and teach Tea Culture in India this October.