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  • Emma Shen

Heritage and innovation blend perfectly –International Tea Day celebration series

On the 25th of May, the "Inaugural Victorian Commerce, Investment Expo & Economic Development Forum (VCIIE)" took place at Manningham Civic Centre. This event is the largest trade and investment forum to date with a focus on Chinese themes and has garnered attention from all sectors of Australian society, especially the Chinese community.

The opening ceremony alone saw participation exceeding 6,000 attendees. Distinguished guests such as Mr. Fang Xinwen, the Chinese Consul General in Melbourne, Mr. Paul Hamer, the Member of Parliament for Box Hill, Mr. Zhi Ning Yang, the Investment Director for Greater China of the Victorian Government, Ms. Carli Lange, the Mayor of Manningham, Ms. Ling Qin, the President of Ausfocus Media, and Mr. Arron Qin of the Australian Commerce and Culture Foundation were invited to partake in the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Australia Tea Society Inc was invited to brew and share tea during lunch for their VIP guests as well as host a tea culture session later in the afternoon. Ms Wu, president of the multicultural club was also invited to assist with these two activities. The two teas selected to be served at lunch were brick tea and our new product "instant tea". Both teas were well received by the VIPs and many were surprised that instant tea could retain the aroma, taste, and aftertaste almost identical to traditional high-quality teas. Some even expressed interest in becoming distributors when the product is launched.

Many people were anticipating the tea culture session which began at 2:30pm. Notably, many attendees were fans who had followed our previous events. Particularly touching was the presence of Jenny Sharwood, the former Chairperson of the Australian Chemical Council, who brought along her colleague who is a big fan of tea.

The event began with an insightful presentation by James Shen, Chairman of Australia Tea Society Inc, who discussed the four processes from Shennong's discovery of tea to its evolution from being chewed to becoming a tea beverage. He covered the history from the cultivation techniques discovered by Wu Li Zhen during the Tang and Song dynasties, which led to the flourishing tea industry and trade, to the development of various tea cultures influenced by regional lifestyles and dietary habits. He also delved into different forms and realms of tea ceremony culture, captivating the curiosity and exploratory spirit of the attendees. Throughout the presentation, he patiently addressed important questions raised.

Following his talk, Jenny Li, Vice-Chairperson of Australia Tea Society Inc and a certified first-grade Chinese tea artist and second-grade tea connoisseur, offered a cup of non-mainstream tea - teng tea. Its unique taste and lingering sweetness left an unforgettable impression on the guests, who after trying it, eagerly sought out more information about teng tea.

Another memorable moment was the presentation of Longjing tea, prefaced with the term "Shi". The attendees were very interested in the production regions of longjing tea and discovered how fortunate they were to taste "Shi" -prefixed Longjing tea, they were so enamoured that they even chewed the leaves themselves. If it weren't for the necessity of concluding by five o'clock, many might have stayed longer.

The event was incredibly successful, not only in educating more Australians about Chinese tea and its cultural history but also in fostering mutual understanding. It was particularly gratifying that among the guests was a leader from the Chinese Consulate in Melbourne. Through the introduction by the respected Honourable Guo Sheng, the Consulate's Commissioner Ji recognized our efforts and invited Australia Tea Society Inc to conduct tea culture promotional activities at the Consulate itself. This invitation is a testament to our mission of promoting and expanding the reach of our Chinese ancestors' tea culture.

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