17 May 2023

Meet the Riverina's international tea aficionado who drinks up to three litres a day

| Shri Gayathirie Rajen
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man making tea

International tea expert David Lyons has a wealth of knowledge about one of the world’s favourite beverages. Photo: Supplied.

International tea expert David Lyons says he drinks up to three litres of tea every day.

He said people usually didn’t believe him when measures his intake in litres.

“My grandmother introduced me to tea,” he said. “I can remember from a very early age drinking tea from her saucer.

“She used to pour a little tea from a tea cup onto the saucer and blow it and then give it to this little child.

“Every now and then, my grandma would pop into a three-storey tea merchant establishment and young David went with her.”

The tea aficionado loves drinking Sri Lankan tea and Assam tea.

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The founding director of the Australian Tea Cultural Society will be speaking at a special event at Temora Shire Library this week in celebration of International Tea Day.

International Tea Day, observed annually on 21 May, was passed by the United Nations General Assembly in 2019 as part of the 2030 initiative to alleviate poverty and hardship around the world.

David said Temora Library loved the idea of International Tea Day empowering women and creating employment for people in some of the poorest places.

Temora Library and David are hosting a special event for people to learn how to make the perfect cup, enjoy a taste test and learn about the four main categories of tea: white, black, oolong and green.


The four classifications of tea – oolong, green, black and white. Photo: Supplied.

“We have to talk about tea in Australia, not just as the leaf that comes from Camellia sinensis, but the herbal tea, fruit teas, we have to talk about our First Nations people’s indigenous drinks,” he said.

David said hosting tea events had become a major part of his life.

“In one of my classes, a girl started to cry,” he said. “I thought, Oh God, what have I done, what have I said wrong?

group discussing tea

David in a tea class in Sikkim Tea Gardens in India. Photo: Supplied.

“She was a young Indian girl, and it was the first time she’d ever left home. When I started to make the masala chai, the smell evoked an emotional reaction.”

David said the smell of cinnamon and ginger reminded her of her mother.

“Tea evokes all kinds of emotions,” he said.

David has encouraged tea lovers and connoisseurs to celebrate their favourite brewed beverage by hosting a tea party in celebration of International Tea Day.

“Everyone can have a tea party,” he said.

man meets girl

David in Ningbo, China. Photo: Supplied.

David said the world was still discovering the benefits of tea, including mental wellbeing.

“Whenever we had a problem, my nana would always make a pot of tea and we would chat things through,” he said.

“I don’t think we ever thought of how important those moments are for our mental wellbeing.”

The tea educator said the healthiest tea to drink was ”the one you’re drinking”.

man giving speech

David giving an address in Hangzhou, China, in 2019. Photo: Supplied.

“End of the day, as long as you’re drinking tea, there are health elements in them,” he said.

“When we’re drinking tea, we’re taking in an incredible amount of complex chemicals which are beneficial and mankind has known this for thousands of years.

“I do prefer to say to people to drink leaf tea because there are negatives in drinking tea bags.”

David has worked in the tea industry for 26 years as a wholesaler and at a retail business.

man drinking tea

David’s passion for tea started as a little boy. Photo: Supplied.

He represented Australia at this year’s world’s largest tea institution, the China International Tea Cultural Institution.

He has a fascination with the history of tea and has done thorough research on its evolution across the globe.

David moved to the quaint town of Temora with his wife as it reminded him of the little town he came from.

Born in Bolton, England, David moved to Australia in 1990.

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The tea lover also loves his coffee and while running his business in Sydney, he used to have six to 10 short blacks every day.

The special event at Temora Shire Library is on Thursday, 18 May, at 2 pm.

Click here to find out more about International Tea Day and the Australian Tea Cultural Society.

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