Madura has eyes on US tea market
IT'S been stinking hot of late and with a little luck the rain will follow and give Tweed success story Madura Tea one of their best seasons.
The Clothiers Creek plantation was opened in 1978 and now produces a million tea bags a day.
Grown, crushed, dried, bagged and packaged all on site.
It's no mean feat, but with a little help from the skies, technical manager teas Michael Sales believes the company is in for a good season.
"This is our peak growing time, and right up until April," he said, crushing the fragrant leaves in his fingers.
"The plants love the humidity but if there is too much UV and heat the leaves get very coarse.
"If we get some rain, to put in the fertiliser, we should get a good crop."
Commercially, Madura is the biggest tea holding this far south of the equator, currently owned in a partnership between four Tweed families.
Tea is a static and traditional market, so the trick is to maintain a quality product but spread the word further, according to CEO Barry Cosier.
"We're set up as a boutique tea maker, our blends are our own and we deal with the specialty market, not the commodity market," Mr Cosier said. "People have come to expect quality from us.
"Once they try our tea they generally stick with us, we just need to reach more people."
Mr Cosier said being a smaller player in the market meant the company could focus on customer service while still having room to grow.
"We're employing more people and pushing the boundaries of our manufacturing, our online business is also growing and we're exporting into the US," Mr Cosier.
"With so many Aussie companies moving parts of their manufacturing or production overseas people really appreciate a company that still has a completely self-sufficient farm and operates entirely in Australia."