Zealong Tea Estate, New Zealand's only commercial tea plantation, has this month signed an export agreement with TeeGschwendner, the world's largest speciality tea retailer.

Only an elite fraction of the annual world tea export harvest - 0.5 per cent - is considered for purchase by the German company's master tea tasters, with each tea undergoing rigorous testing before and after purchase for pesticides and heavy metal residues.

The agreement, which will see 10 per cent of Zealong's annual tea production, or enough tea to brew two million cups of tea, exported to Germany, is testament to Zealong's commitment to the environment, purity and transparency, said Zealong Tea Estate general manager Gigi Crawford.

"We are both excited and honoured that our products have been chosen not only to be part of TeeGschwendner's offering of premium teas, but also part of a unique co-brand cooperation," said Ms Crawford.


"It's our no-compromise approach when it comes to the environment that brings added-value to TeeGschwendner."

In terms of quality and purity, Zealong tea rates highly on the world stage, being 100 per cent certified organic and ISO certified across every step of the production process, making it fully traceable - a unique status in the tea industry.

With the demand for organic products increasing worldwide and New Zealand looking to further capitalise on its 'clean green' reputation, Zealong Tea Estate near Hamilton, is being touted as a leader in the food and beverage industry.

According to the German Tea Association, tea drinking in Germany reached an all-time high last year, with 19,376 tonnes consumed.

TeeGschwendner was established in 1978, with the opening of a small tea shop in Trier and has since grown to become a global leader in specialty teas.

Zealong tea will initially be sold in TeeGschwendner's 123 German stores.