Bringing Indigenous Culture into Every Cup: The Story of Blak Brews

Bringing Indigenous Culture into Every Cup: The Story of Blak Brews

First Nations entrepreneur Troy Benjamin is infusing Indigenous culture into Australian households, restaurants, and cafes, one cuppa at a time. As the owner of Blak Brews, a 100% Indigenous-owned and operated business offering ethically sourced, premium tea, Benjamin is making waves in the beverage industry. Bringing Indigenous Culture into Every Cup: The Story of Blak Brews

The Genesis of Blak Brews

Troy Benjamin, 43, whose heritage traces back to the Tati Tati, Wadi Wadi, Muti Muti, and Wamba Wamba peoples, got the inspiration to start Blak Brews after spending time with International Tea Educator and CEO of Australian Tea Masters, Sharyn Johnston.

“I’ve got some good connections in the coffee world, and my former roasters’ mother, Sharyn Johnston, is one of the world’s most renowned tea masters, living here in Geelong,” Benjamin shared. “When I was in Sharyn’s shop, I got captivated by tea. Her shop is like a Willy Wonka factory; it’s so unreal.”

Despite tea being a challenging industry, the more Benjamin thought about it, the more he saw the potential in starting a tea range.

Testing the Waters

Benjamin tested his tea blends, Kakadu Sunset and Aussie Brekkie, at the Guriniji Freedom Day festival in August 2022, and was blown away by the positive reception.

“I had two blends – Kakadu Sunset and Aussie Brekkie. I went around and chucked tea bags in people’s pots,” he said. “By day two, I had people knocking on my caravan asking me if there was more tea.”

Launch and Growth

The business, which Benjamin started with his wife Cerisa, officially launched in late 2022 and has seen tremendous growth since then. Although he plans to open a brick-and-mortar store in Melbourne, Benjamin has no interest in becoming a tea baron.

“Out of all the projects I have done in business – and I’ve tried it all – I’m so proud of this,” he said. “This isn’t just about promoting Indigenous culture; it’s about celebrating Australia’s culture over a cuppa.”

Overcoming Barriers

Benjamin credits the early success of Blak Brews to overcoming the initial barriers of setting up a new company and the support of people who loved their story.

“My initial barrier wasn’t around who was in my team; it was more about finding enough resources and funding to get everything right,” he explained. “There are some very generous people out there who, when you show heart in what you do, want to help.”

Recognition and Demand

Blak Brews’ success skyrocketed after Benjamin won $250,000 on Gordon Ramsay’s Food Stars Australia. This victory has led to increased demand and opportunities, including potential expansion into the UK.

“Everyone wants to see me at everything possible and have our tea in their venues and resorts,” Benjamin said. “Gordon’s first power move is getting me over to the UK to set up distribution and procurement. He said he hasn’t found a better cup than ours.”

Troy Benjamin’s Blak Brews is not just a business; it’s a celebration of Indigenous culture and a testament to sustainable, community-focused entrepreneurship. As Benjamin continues to grow Blak Brews, he remains committed to promoting a long-term future that benefits everyone, one cup of tea at a time.

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