Sweet Taste of Success for Home-Grown Artisan tea producer

The Waikato’s home-grown tea is set to find its way onto lips throughout New Zealand.

This follows the inclusion of Zealong tea in the new Artisan Collection range launched today (18 May) by premium New Zealand chocolate manufacturer Whittaker’s.

Gordonton-based Zealong Tea Estate has had its locally-grown infused into Whittaker’s 50% Dark Chocolate, which went on sale nationally for the first time this morning.

It’s a real coup for New Zealand’s only commercial tea estate, with its product now being recognised by Whittakers for the purity of its product.

Zealong produces five flavours of tea. It is the company’s black tea which has been selected by Whittakers as a great fit for one of the six new varieties in its Artisan Collection.

Zealong marketing manager Sen Kong says the inclusion of Zealong’s tea in the new Whittaker’s range is great news for a product grown and processed in the Waikato region.

“Whittakers has a long and proud history of manufacturing quality chocolate in New Zealand. It’s a family company and home-grown, just as Zealong is,” he says.

“As an artisan producer with a similar vision and the highest possible standards, we’re immensely proud of being selected by Whittaker’s to be a part of this new range.

“We are sure that Kiwis will receive this new Artisan Collection range of chocolates enthusiastically and will enjoy every mouthful. It will give us real satisfaction to know that they will be consuming the black tea grown and processed by Zealong in Waikato’s rural heartland.

“It’s a stunning result for Zealong as it is for the other artisan producers who have been selected to be part of this next stage in Whittaker’s success story.”

Zealong is the only tea in the world that is fully traceable from soil to first sip, confirmed as such through ISO 22000 certification. It is also organic, with no chemical fertilisers or sprays being used at any time on the forty eight hectare plantation which now hosts about 1.2 million bushes at Gordonton, just north of Hamilton city.

The two Kiwi companies began collaborating on the proposed new artisan chocolate range just over a year ago, with these actions culminating in today’s launch of the Whittaker’s Artisan Collection.

“We are really excited about this,” Sen says. “It’s really great to see the new Whittaker’s range being rolled out across New Zealand.

“We at Zealong are very happy to have been involved in the development of this new range of Kiwi-inspired chocolate which we feel will be a great success.”

ENDS

About Zealong

Zealong is New Zealand's only truly national tea. The New Zealand-owned company, plantation and world-class restaurant can be found near Hamilton and form part of a $20 million investment on that site. This is the only commercial tea plantation in New Zealand.

The certified organic tea is grown, hand-picked and processed on-site and is the only tea range in the world to have achieved ISO 22000 certification. This means that Zealong is fully traceable, from soil to first sip, with its purity being recognised internationally.

Zealong has become a key element within New Zealand's clean and green story. Currently about two thirds of the company's annual production is exported, with the balance being sold domestically through forty-two outlets across this country. The enterprise began with 130 premium quality seedlings imported from Taiwan in 1996 and now comprises about 1.2 million lovingly-nurtured plants.

For more information, interviews and images, please contact:

Chris Birt, Blink Public Relations

Mob: 027 941 5893 Email: xrds@xtra.co.nz