Treasure Chest: Howard Rubin, of Koala Tea at Alstonville, toasts the export success of theirbusiness with a warm cuppa.
Treasure Chest: Howard Rubin, of Koala Tea at Alstonville, toasts the export success of theirbusiness with a warm cuppa. Jacklyn Wagner

Success selling tea to China

HOWARD and Elle Rubin moved to Australia after the Chernobyl nuclear accident in the Ukraine in 1986 contaminated their Welsh farm, from which they ran an alternative health clinic and herbal tea company.

Two decades later and all the tea in China includes imports from their Alstonville-based Koala Tea Company.

Mr and Mrs Rubin have grown their business, which they started in 1992, so successfully they are now looking to our Asian neighbours to boost their export market.

The Koala Tea Company, along with the Georgica-based Mountain Top Coffee, are showcasing their products at the largest Asian food tradeshow, Food and Hotel Asia Singapore 2010, this week.

“FHA Singapore is held every two years and attracts buyers from throughout the entire Asian region,” Mr Rubin said from Singapore.

“For Koala Tea, it is a very important show for us. We try to exhibit every time and this year we are being supported by NSW Trade and Investment.

“We already export to Singapore, China – yes, tea to China – Malaysia, Japan, Taiwan and Thailand.

“We are now hoping to pick up a new local importer to handle the smaller boutique-style stores in the region.

“We are launching our newest range of teas, called ‘KT Organics’, which are herbal teas specially developed for health, beauty and healing.”

About 52,000 trade visitors are expected at the trade show, with more than 2800 exhibitors from 70 countries showing their products.

The Minister for State and Regional Development, Ian MacDonald, said FHA Singapore was a great opportunity for NSW businesses like Koala Tea.

“With the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement coming into effect in Jan-uary, our trade with Asia is expected to grow significantly,” he said.

“The ASEAN countries already represent a $3 billion food and beverage market for Australian exporters and food consumption across South East Asia is set to inc-rease between five and 14 per cent.”



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