AD350: First commercial production of tea is traced to Chinese farmers in the Yangtze River Valley who compressed freshly cut tea leaves into small blocks which were steamed and crushed. The softened blocks were immersed in water and brought to the boil. Rice, ginger, salt, orange peel, spices and onion were added in a brewing ritual this is still practised by Mongolian and Tibetan tribes.
500: The Chinese initiated the tradition of offering a bowl of tea as a sign of welcome.
618-907: Tea transcends its origins as a medicinal brew to become a valuable commodity in a developing tea trade that extends beyond China’s northern and western borders.
800: Tea cultivation in Japan is believed to have been introduced by a Buddhist monk, although today Japan produces only green tea, known as O-Cha.
1285: First mention of tea in the western world is noted in the writings of Marco Polo.
1368: Start of the Ming Dynasty in China. Tea production increases and new techniques evolve, with kettles replacing bottles for boiling. Crude drinking vessels are replaced with tiny cups of fine porcelain and teapots are introduced.
1606: The Dutch East India Company imports the first shipments of tea from China after striking a commercial deal based on trading three measures of tea for each measure of sage.
1635: Although still regarded as a luxury, tea is drunk in Europe for its perceived therapeutic properties.
1657: First public sale of tea takes place at a coffee house in London, and the government later levies a tax on imports which remains until the 1780s.
1706: Tea rooms are opened in London and become ideal meeting places for people of all backgrounds until the outbreak of war in 1939, when afternoon tea becomes confined to grand hotels.
1830s: The British East India Company introduces the plantation system of growing tea in Assam, India.
1850: Clipper ships, introduced for the journey from London to Asian ports, bring cargoes of tea back home in 90 days instead of six months.
1860s: Mechanical methods begin to replace manual production of tea.
1867: A tea plantation is established in Ceylon.
1877: Manufacture of the first tea rolling machine to replace manual, aggressive rubbing of leaves between the palms of one’s hands.
1904: Thomas Sullivan, a New York-based tea merchant, uses silk sachets to manufacture tea bags. Richard Blechynden introduces Americans to black tea and is the first to serve iced tea.
1930: Tea becomes available in packets.
1945: The first tea tasters are trained.
1959: Dr Allan Maruff, a fourth-generation doctor from Calcutta, establishes Australia’s first commercial tea plantation in Queensland.
1977: A run-down dairy farm is purchased in northern New South Wales, Australia, for establishment of the Madura Tea Estates.
1980s: Madura tea is sold in health food outlets and supermarkets across the country, and Madura launches Australia’s first green tea.
2000: Madura establishes one of the most modern tea packing facilities in the southern hemisphere to guarantee tea freshness and flavour.
2003: Choice Magazine in Australia reports that, of 55 tea brands tested and sold in Australia, Madura is one of the cleanest teas, with no detectable levels of pesticides or insecticides.
2006: Madura steps up its US operations, exporting the full range of Madura teas and herbal tisanes to meet increasing demand for healthy, distinctively Australian tea.
2009: Madura received Kosher certification on its teas from Kosher Australia.
2009: Madura is awarded the Safe Quality Food Institute SQF2000 Code Level 3 : Comprehensive Food Safety and Quality Management Systems
2009: Madura wins the prestigious Gold Bex Award at the Tweed Business Excellence Awards.
2009: Madura wins gold and silver at the Royal Hobart Fine Food Show for its Australian Lemon Myrtle and English Breakfast teas.