Golden Leaf success brewed

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Lechelle Earl, owner/editor

Golden Leaf success brewed

Mount Gambier based business Athella Tea has brewed up success in the prestigious Golden Leaf Awards beating out over 500 entries to earn Silver for their Ceylon Tea – a certified organic black tea.

The local tea company also won bronze for its Zen (green tea) and newly updated website.

The business re-branded last August from LeaLa Tea Co. to its current name, Athella Tea.

Athella Tea owner and founder Aleathia Holland said this was her first time entering the awards as she felt she restarted her business when she changed the name.

“I did not realise how big rebranding would be and it does definitely feel like starting again,” she said.

“I changed my name to Athella because I just felt like it aligned with the values and moving forward Athella means wholesome and light and that was really the direction of our brand.

“Athella is about family as well and everyone in our family has a role to play.”

Mrs Holland put an eleventh-hour entry into the awards, partially to find out how her tea stood up to other products in the market.

“I knew the Ceylon was a really good tea but it’s always hard to put yourself out there,” she said.

“It just gives you the knowledge that your tea is as good as you think it is.

“It really cements that feeling of knowing that our tea is award winning, that it is one of the best teas to have.

“To me the Ceylon is the best tea in the world, I love it.”

Mrs Holland said next year she would like to enter her own blends and creations.

“I feel like it’s given me the confidence to actually enter my own blends which I did not feel like I had this year,” she said.

“I did not enter any of the teas that I blend myself, I just entered the teas that I’d worked on with the farmers in the beautiful plantations.

“I knew they were free from artificial chemicals, organic and premium quality, which gave them an edge to do well so that gave me a little bit more confidence with everything.”

Due to her fantastic results, Mrs Holland has earned a spot in the Tea Pavilion at the Food and Service Expo in Melbourne, which takes place from April 30 – May 3.

“This is the first year they’re holding it so it’s really exciting, overwhelming and nerve-racking,” she said.

“It’s an honour to be in this position because there are very limited spots available, so they have given it out to some of the award winners.

“It’s very exciting to have this amazing opportunity.”

Mrs Holland said her business journey began after discovering the quantity of additives and flavours in mass produced brews.

“Obviously everything that I create really helps me so it’s always important that I’m creating blends that do exactly what it’s meant to do,” she said.

“Tea is healthy, tea should be doing things for your body that’s healthy and beneficial and create wellness within yourself.

“Traditionally tea is meant to heal, so if we drink teas that are filled with additives, flavours and enhancements, we’re not getting what they’re meant to do.”

Mrs Holland said she started the company in 2020 at farmers’ markets while living in Perth.

“That’s where I started the brand and then we had to move back here and everything sort of stopped for a bit,” she said.

“I was still selling but under the LeaLa Tea Co. banner and I just did not align with that name.

“I really felt like it was still in the very infant stages, so I feel like I started all over again.

“The base that we have here in Mount Gambier and the support has been awesome.”

Mrs Holland said the company was transparent from farm to plate.

“We are very open with the farms that we work with in Sri Lanka, and we’ll discuss all that, we work with a third-generation farming plantation,” she said.

“That’s what I love about the farm that I work with, it’s generational knowledge that’s being passed down.

“They are constantly updating their practices; it is certified organic around the world and for me it’s all about premium quality ingredients.

“We’re ethical so if we’re going to work overseas we try to buy all our ingredients within Australia.”

Mrs Holland said in the future she hoped to expand Athella Tea.

“I’d like to expand but with a difference, non-traditional hours,” she said

“I feel like my business can be slightly on the flexible side, I do not look at traditional hours as the hard and fast rule to running a modern-day business.

“We currently have purchased a tea machine so that we could keep production local.

“This way we can produce the tea here and hire people looking for jobs in our local area.

“As a female founder, I feel strongly it can be hard for women to get back into the workforce once they have had children. I hope moving forward I will be able to make a valuable contribution to our community by having jobs that still allow women to be available when their children need them.”

Mrs Holland said there were exciting things in the pipeline for the business.

“Our new teas that are coming out, we have actually linked up with an indigenous farm in the Northern Territory so that we can have some of our native botanicals in our tea,” she said.

“I think it’s important that I am an Australian tea company and I do support our native Australian botanicals so we’re going to be using things like Kakadu Plum in our recipes coming this year.

“We’ll have our collagen range which will be ready, it’s just been such a long process in trialling it.

“We’ll be releasing our green tea with our Kakadu Plum and collagen and everything, hopefully in the next few months so that will be really exciting.

“We will be using our award-winning green tea in that as well.”

You can find Athella Tea stocked at Canopy Interiors and Salts Wellness Centre as well as online.

You can also try their tea at the following cafes and restaurants; Sorrentos, Tide Espresso Bar, The Commodore, Thyme on the lakes, The Presidental and The Henty.

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