Meet the AUSTCS TEAm

Committed to the Cause

Coming together from a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences, our skilled team of professionals is the backbone of Australian Tea Cultural Seminar. Their ideas help shape the direction and mission of our organization as it continues to develop. Read on to learn more about some of our incredible team members.

 

David Lyons

With more than two decades of experience in the tea industry, David Lyons brings his passion for tea culture and lifelong learning to the Australian Tea Cultural Seminar community. He provides education and consulting services via his business,18ThirtyFour, and serves as a de facto Australian tea ambassador as a member of the China International Tea Institute – Hangzhou.

 

What’s your favourite place to have tea?

Although I enjoy tea almost anywhere, I really enjoy being invited into people’s homes for tea. One of the best was being invited into a small tea grower's home in Assam, near Nagaland and the Myanmar border. We sipped his home-produced green tea and his wife baked hot sweet rice cakes on an open fire griddle. Particularly special.

 

If you could dedicate yourself to any branch of tea knowledge, what would it be?

The historical path of the Camellia sinensis plant form its origins in Yunnan to India, Myanmar, other parts of China and eventually to the rest of the world.

 

What does tea culture mean to you?

Tea culture means the unique ways in which communities or societal groups share a beverage of sustenance, in its various forms. These form the customs, which eventually become recognisable to a given community, tribal group or country. These interactions or customs create the social interaction between different groups, who may not even be able to speak the same language but can share and appreciate together the simple pleasures of tea.

Adeline Teoh

Enthusiast Adeline Teoh is a professional tea writer whose interest spans culture and history to fandom and paraphernalia. She organises tea events through The Sydney Tea Meetup and is keen to promote tea appreciation through education.

 

What's your favourite place to have tea?

At my beautiful antique writing desk in my tea den. It's peaceful down there and I can focus on the tea or on my writing by turns.

 

If you could dedicate yourself to any branch of tea knowledge, what would it be?

I'd love to study oolongs, there's so much complexity in the tea but also a lot of history behind its production. At the same time, I feel the iconography of tea is underappreciated, so I'm drawn to that too.

 

What does tea culture mean to you?

Tea culture marries the practise and appreciation of tea. It's not just about drinking tea but the why and how behind it.

James Lyons

With passion and enthusiasm, James Lyons adds wisdom from the corporate marketing environment to the tea cultural journey. With his background in digital media and marketing, James provides a modern approach to tea. Providing experience and strategy in the new digital landscapes, James assists with breaking down the gap between historical presence and modern culture. Though James is not directly associated with the tea industry, what he lacks in connections he makes up for in dedication to getting the tea drinking culture to the modern audience.

 

What’s your favourite place to have tea?

In the hustle and bustle on the busy streets of Kolkata, India, drinking Masala Chai. Though this is not something that I have the opportunity to do daily. My favourite place to enjoy my daily tea would be the first pot of the day at work. The first pot sets me up for the rest of the day.

 

If you could dedicate yourself to any branch of tea knowledge, what would it be?

The promotion of drinking tea, the benefits of drinking, making and enjoyment of tea. Drinking tea not only has physical health benefits, but the emotional advantages of a few moments out of our busy lives to brew and enjoy tea is incredible.  

 

What does tea culture mean to you?

The Tea culture, like all cultures to me means community, connection and passion. The passion of some, experienced through a community of like minded, connected to wider audiences. 

 
 
 

Our Ambassadors

Get to Know Us

Bringing together a wide variety of experience and expertise, our regional ambassadors are here for you. Our ambassadors are now in most states and are your go to when you need to know more about AUSTCS, Tea and more.

 

Kym Cooper

Kym Cooper is owner of The Steepery Tea Co and plans tea events for The Brisbane Tea Meetup. She endeavours to contribute to the development of tea appreciation outside of the home by providing memorable tea experiences and education.

Queenslander Kym Cooper fondly recalls having the kettle on the boil first thing in the morning as her family settled down for a cup of tea to start the day. Having since travelled across the world visiting tea houses, stores and estates and talking to producers, experts and enthusiasts alike, you could say she has been 'infused' with a global tea culture, which is why she's so keen to see us develop an Australian one. Founder of The Steepery Tea Co and organiser behind The Brisbane Tea Meetup, Kym is also an AUSTCS Regional Ambassador. That means she is our liaison in the Brisbane area to support tea culture-related events and activities initiated through the annual summit, the Australian Tea Cultural Seminar.

What's your favourite place to have tea?

In a Taiwanese teahouse. Here, tea is revered as a beverage in its own right (like coffee and alcohol in Australia). Dedicated teahouses provide a space for people to truly appreciate and enjoy tea outside of the home at anytime of day or night.

If you could dedicate yourself to any branch of tea knowledge, what would it be?

I haven’t yet decided on one branch of tea knowledge. As a relative new tea specialist I am trying to attain a broad foundation of tea knowledge but I do have an interest in tea vessels used in a variety of tea ceremonies.

 

What does tea culture mean to you?

Tea transcends political, economical and social boundaries and connects

us to one another, as human beings. I would like nothing more than this positive interaction that tea has on people to be celebrated and expanded throughout our community.

Bhamini Lenehan

Bhamini Lenehan is the founder of Green Leaf Teahouse, a small family business located on
the Gold Coast of Queensland that offers a premium selection of artisan and traditional
loose-leaf teas from boutique tea plantations around the world.


Having grown up in India, Bhamini started drinking tea from a very young age. However, her
travels introduced her to a wide variety of loose-leaf teas, which is where her curiosity
began. It took a stint living in Asia before she discovered the wider world of tea. There, tea
was central to every get-together and everyone had a tea story to share.
After studying, researching and sampling loads of teas over the years, Bhamini embarked on
her tea dream, launching Green Leaf Teahouse. We welcome her as deputy Queensland
Regional Ambassador.


What’s your favourite place to have tea?
My favourite place to have tea is anywhere where I can share it with friends and family.
If you could dedicate yourself to any branch of tea knowledge, what would it be?
It’s hard to choose a branch of tea knowledge because I feel learning about tea is never-
ending.


What does tea culture mean to you?
Connecting with people and their personal stories. Every encounter over a cup of tea is an
opportunity to relax, connect, revive and open up your lives with another individual.

Kaishan Mellis

Kaishan Mellis is the founder of Libertea at Prahran Market, Melbourne, and runs the Melbourne Tea Meetup. Under her father’s influence she has been steeped in Chinese tea from childhood, growing up in a home decorated with lines of clay pots full of pu’er cakes and shelves full of Yixing teapots.

 

Starting a tea business in the middle of a coffee city is no mean feat but Kaishan believes tea is not just a beverage, but an experience that brings mindfulness to daily life. The spread of her practice – where you stop, brew, and sip – helps people use tea-drinking to connect with themselves and others.

 

What's your favourite place to have tea?

At Libertea’s Prahran Market store. I have had many great tea encounters there, discovering new teas, making new friends.

 

If you could dedicate yourself to any branch of tea knowledge what would it be?

It would be the study of single origin Chinese teas, especially oolong. I love how one oolong (e.g. Iron Buddhas) can taste significantly different to another (e.g. Big Red Robe) depending on the level of oxidisation and roasting time. Good single origin teas are like good wine, you don't need to add anything to enhance it, its flavours should speak for itself. Tea blends such as French Earl Grey for me are more like a good cocktail that I would drink only occasionally, it’s not my go-to.

 

What does tea culture mean to you?

My heart skips a beat when I think about how tea migrated from Sichuan 3,000 years ago, to Tibet, to the whole of China then to Japan, to Europe, and to the rest of the world. Everywhere it goes it changed to adopt to the local culture. For me, tea means people – it's forever changing like a living, breathing thing.

Adeline Teoh

Enthusiast Adeline Teoh is a professional tea writer whose interest spans culture and history to fandom and paraphernalia. She organises tea events through The Sydney Tea Meetup and is keen to promote tea appreciation through education.

 

What's your favourite place to have tea?

At my beautiful antique writing desk in my tea den. It's peaceful down there and I can focus on the tea or on my writing by turns.

 

If you could dedicate yourself to any branch of tea knowledge, what would it be?

I'd love to study oolongs, there's so much complexity in the tea but also a lot of history behind its production. At the same time, I feel the iconography of tea is underappreciated, so I'm drawn to that too.

 

What does tea culture mean to you?

Tea culture marries the practice and appreciation of tea. It's not just about drinking tea but the why and how behind it.

 
 
 
 

Administration Secretary

An important role within the AUSTCS TEAm is that of Administration Secretary, keeping the other AUSTCS TEAm members in order and administering business of meetings. Olivia took up the duties of this role in 2018, bringing with her important skills and certainly fulfilling those duties with passion.

By day, Olivia works as an IT and Business Project Consultant. She spends a lot of her time helping teams work better together, facilitating communication, and understanding customers. She makes sure to take time out for herself, with either a good cup of tea or a glass of wine.

 

Contact us to find out more about sponsorship or contact us directly at info@austcs.org

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PO Box 5077, Braddon ACT 2612, Australia