Meet The Team
Two hot Aussies in a Darjeeling tea garden!
Dreams really do come true! Sitting down to our 2018 Christmas lunch, did I expect that within three months we’d own a wonderful online tea store? That we’d offer a place where Australians could buy luxury tea, from the comfort of their own homes?
A “girls’ trip” in February '18 took me and a couple of dear friends to a wintery, snow-scaped England. During one cold, wet afternoon in Woodstock (near Oxford), we popped into a delightful café called the Barefoot Bakery. It was while drinking a stunning cup of Earl Grey and eating one of their amazingly delicious cakes, I day-dreamed: “One day I will own a tea shop!”
That day came sooner than anticipated, and not in the way I expected. Late January 2019, I was at my kitchen table with a cup of tea perusing Facebook. A good friend, Jo Whitton (aka Quirky Cooking), had posted that a friend of hers was selling an online loose leaf tea company. “Someone has to buy it! The teas are amazing!” Jo introduced me to the lovely Kristie Deen, the founder of the Brackendale Tea Co, and the rest, as they say, is history! My dream of sharing my love for tea and providing a wonderful experience for Australians to buy luxury loose leaf tea has come alive!
Drinking tea has always been part of my life. I grew up on a dairy farm in the South East of South Australia and the early morning cuppa was as reliable as clockwork before the milking began.
Travelling the world as a 21-year old took me to India. I was fascinated to see the steep hillside Tea Gardens in the Himalayan foothills. One of my all-time enduring tea memories from India was the Chai Waller walking up and down the railway platform shouting “Chai, Chai!”. My companions and I shoving our heads out of the carriage window and beckoning him over to purchase his wares. It was the most delicious Chai I had ever tasted, served in a rudimentary thin clay cup, the flavours of tea, spice and milk mixing with the slight tang of the unglazed clay.
After India, I lived for many years in the UK where tea is a way of life. Here I was taught “how to brew the perfect cup of tea” by the most delightful family friend, an ex-school principal from Zimbabwe. Fresh water, boiled only once, teapot heated before use, tea steeped for just the right amount time!
I now live in the beautiful Adelaide Hills in South Australia with my husband Alex. He is the love of my life and we've been married for 30 years. We have two grown children who are also tea lovers and are involved in aspects of the business.
Alex is the one who keeps me grounded. My passion for changing lives, bringing joy and happiness to people through food and tea sometimes take me on a wonderful journey of dreams. Alex is the strategic thinker and helps me turn those dreams into reality with planning and logic. So “not me”!!
Are we the perfect example of creative meets logical? You betcha! What a team! He is my logic and reality man, the one that pulls the ideas into data, analyses it and makes plans so that we can better serve our beautiful tea drinkers.
Alex grew up with black tea, having an English heritage. He's also deeply committed to Rooibos, having grown up in South Africa. He does get a bit waylaid at times with some sort of drink made from beans, especially first thing in the morning, but his repertoire of wonderful tea flavours is expanding fast. With Brackendale the world has opened up!
Seven months after taking the reins of Brackendale Tea Co, Alex and I ventured to Darjeeling in India, the home of the “champagne of teas”, to attend a Tea Sommelier course with the Asian School of Tea. It was such a fascinating experience to be among the beautiful carpets of tea bushes (trees, actually) and to see firsthand the plucking and processing of the leaves. We spent a month immersed in the culture, aromas and tastes of northern India, learning much about the luxury tea industry, being amazed at the architecture of the Taj Mahal, the Amber Palace, the amazing step wells, and learning some of the history of the Mughals.
We rounded off our India trip at Strong Farm Good Shepherd Agricultural Mission (indianorphanage.com), which gave us a real experience of Indian life and a chance to share many cups of chai with this wonderful “extended” family.
At Brackendale Tea Co, Tea isn’t just our business, it is our passion. We have over 40 luxury loose leaf Teas and Herbal blends. We provide only the cream of the crop from the world’s top 10% producers - true luxury teas. They are delicious, ethically produced and not available on supermarket shelves!
Our hope and aim is that your tea buying experience with Brackendale Tea Co is one you will love. You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy tea, and that’s almost the same thing.
Happy sipping everyone!
Alex & Anthea Brockbank