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Matthew Youn

Matt Youn from Tavalon Tea (image supplied)
Matt Youn from Tavalon Tea (image supplied)

It’s that time of year (AKA the silly season) when there’s so much to do, you yearn to simply sit down and have a moment to yourself. So you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone that wouldn’t enjoy a cup of tea in peace and quiet right now. As one of life’s greatest pleasures, you want to make sure it’s a quality cup of tea. Enter Tavalon Tea; a company that embodies pleasure, wellness and opulence all through employing centuries-old tea traditions from hand-crafted tea and only the finest of ingredients. So naturally, in the midst of our holiday tea-lemma, we spoke to Tavalon Tea Australia’s CEO, Matthew Youn, to get to know him and all about the much-loved international brand.

How long have you been a Gold Coast local?
I initially moved to the Gold Coast in 2008 even though I had to relocate overseas a few times for education commitments.

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I was born in South Korea, raised in California for a few years and then moved to Australia when I was 16 years old. I am a businessperson currently running several businesses from finance to e-commerce.

Crimson Punch, Tavalon Tea (image supplied)
Crimson Punch, Tavalon Tea (image supplied)

For those who don’t know Tavalon Tea, tell us about it!
Tavalon is unique to any other tea brand. All of Tavalon’s Teas are procured and blended by our world-class tea sommelier who collects the finest ingredients from selected tea farms around the world. Australia is a tough market when it comes to luxury goods. Our focus has been to build relationships with people in the industry and offer superior customer service. We coupled this with the highest quality products at a reasonable price. This approach was contrary to the traditional one of aggressively targeting the mass market in search of immediate ROI.

Why did you launch Tavalon Tea in Australia?
As an entrepreneur, I always like to do something better when I come across opportunities. I launched Tavalon, the luxury tea brand that originated from New York, into the Australian market with the vision of introducing consumers to a modern tea drinking culture and the best quality tea products available from all over the world. The humble cup of tea is not only a catalyst to relaxation; its daily consumption also has a plethora of benefits for your health, not to mention the traditions of tea and the many ways it brings people together socially – its magic is hard to describe merely with words.

Tavalon Tea (image supplied)
Tavalon Tea (image supplied)

What makes Tavalon Tea superior to tea’s you can purchase through a supermarket?
We source directly from small farmers around the world. The blends are then hand-crafted by our world-renowned tea sommelier who runs each new blend through 200 focus groups, and only those scoring at least an 8 out of 10 are released into the market. This level of attention to detail takes a lot of effort, but it is also what has made Tavalon a global favourite when it comes to premium tea.

What is Tavalon’s most popular tea?
‘Serenity’ – a relaxing caffeine-free herbal blend consisting of Chamomile, Peppermint, Lemongrass, Rooibos and Vanilla. ‘Serenity’ ticks all the boxes when it comes to the health of your mind and body. Chamomile, Peppermint and Lemongrass all contain a relaxing and healing nature, making Serenity the perfect choice after a long day in the office.

What is your personal favourite product from the range and why?
My favourite product is the Rolls Royce x Tavalon Gift Set (unfortunately it’s not available to the public). However the Wooden Display Box (it has two options – T24 and T48) is a close second. I like gifting and it’s the perfect gift featuring 12 of our best tea flavours presented in a gorgeous wooden chest. It comes pre-gift wrapped and even doubles up as an elegant display box.

Tavalon Tea (image supplied)
Tavalon Tea (image supplied)

What can we expect from Tavalon Tea in the next 12 months?
Business growth has had its periods of ups and downs due to economic conditions and the global pandemic but Tavalon is not revenue focused at this stage. It has been investing heavily in building relationships and creating awareness across the industry, especially with those who appreciate premium offerings. Restaurateurs, celebrity chefs, and hotel managers with an eye for quality products have been endorsing the brand. The company believes that successful venues always go for the best that the market has to offer because they trust in constant value addition to stay ahead of the competition. And Tavalon is one of those brands.

How do you define success for the business?
Tavalon is known for its quality products and exceptional customer service. It’s currently the highest-rated tea company by Trustpilot with a review score 4.9 out of 5 stars.
Despite Tavalon having a strict process of qualifying our wholesale partners to maintain its brand status and standard of offerings, the number of wholesale partners is increasing each month as well as online sales.

Where can we purchase and/or consume Tavalon Tea?
You can purchase directly from our website. And we also partner with a number of fine establishments to serve Tavalon, you can experience Tavalon Tea at HOTA’s Palette, Sheraton Grand Mirage, Etsu, Social Eating House, Orzo, Labart, Double Barrel, Alkemist GC, Daark Espresso, Raijin Palm Beach, Kitchen at Keys and many across the country.

Tavalon Tea (image supplied)
Tavalon Tea (image supplied)

What are your Gold Coast favourites…
Café: Double Barrel Benowa (great atmosphere and quality food offerings)
Coffee spot: Dark Fluid (serving Wilde from Seven Miles Coffee Roasters)
Restaurant: Etsu (food is so tasty and great quality, especially with the new chef), Rick Shores (great customer service, best view and quality food)
Bar or pub for a drink: The Exhibitionist Bar (amazing view and unique offerings)

How do you choose to spend your weekends?
Most times, we have social events to attend or catch up with friends over food and drinks (we love to check out nice restaurants, cafes, and bars). Sometimes I have to work (responsible for running multiple businesses). If not, we get away for the weekend.

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