Chanui – New Zealand’s tea

Did you know that Kiwi’s drink more tea than the Aussies? We consume an average of 1.3kg each per year, while the Aussies only manage 0.9kg*! It’s no secret that we love our tea and we’ve all seen the black boxes of Chanui on the shelves at the supermarket. You’ll be happy to know that we’re now selling it at OfficeMax!

To celebrate we asked Chanui Owner Doug Hastie a few questions to get to know a bit more about the brand and where it comes from:

After wondering where tea came from and how it was made, you decided to travel to Asia to find answers - what were the key learnings you took from this visit, that you were able to apply to Chanui?

The biggest learning for me was that there was much better quality tea than that which was being sold in New Zealand at the time. I didn’t realise tea could taste so good! I was also surprised by the range and styles of tea, and how different they all tasted. It really made me realise that in New Zealand we are limited to a small range of tea styles.

What year did you start Chanui, and what have been some of the highlights for the company since then?

I started Chanui in 2003 and there have been many highlights along the way. One of them would have to be getting the products onto supermarket shelves for the first time – it was an exciting time for the business. Also, the start of radio and TV advertising was a pivotal moment for us. Probably the biggest change and highlight would be the move we made from leaf tea only to teabags in 2009 – it really opened us to the mainstream teabag market.

How did you come up with the name for Chanui?

Cha is the Chinese word for tea and Nui is Maori for large or great – hence Chanui is New Zealand for great tea! 

What is your personal favourite tea and why?

I personally love English Breakfast leaf tea with milk. There’s so much flavour, and it’s a very smooth brew. I can still vividly remember the first time I tried it, and I still to this day love it just as much.

With the help of Chanui we’ve also collected some interesting facts about tea* for you:

  • All types of tea come from the same plant – Camellia Sinensis, an Asian relative of the common garden camellia. The difference in tea types has to do with the way the plant is processed.
  • It’s quite easy to decaffeinate tea without buying a special tea. Tea contains much lower levels of caffeine than coffee and releases the caffeine much quicker than its other compounds. Simply pour boiling water over the tea or teabag and let it sit for 30 seconds. Tip that water out, then refill your cup or pot and brew as normal. Voila, decaffeinated tea!
  • Oolong tea in Chinese means ‘black dragon tea’ which gives a hint as to its strength. Some even say it has a hint of ‘smokiness’.
  • Oolong tea is semi-fermented tea. Black tea is fermented, and green tea is hardly fermented at all. White tea, a very small niche tea, is air-dried only.
  • Iced tea was first made popular by Richard Blechynden, and English tea dealer who’d set up a stand at the St Louis World Fair in 1904. His mission was to acquaint Americans with black tea from India, however the weather was so hot no one was interested in his boiling hot beverage. Richard made the decision to put ice cubes in the glass and pour the tea over them. Iced tea went on to become popular in the US and then the rest of the world.
  • One tea bush is capable of producing tea for at least 50 years.

If you’re looking for high quality tea for your staffroom, you can’t go past New Zealand’s tea – Chanui.


And a cuppa isn’t a cuppa without a bikkie – so why not also check out the range of Chanui biscuits?

*All tea facts sourced from www.chanui.com
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