ACHIEVING a life-long dream at 27 was a cup of tea for Kittea Kelsey.
The Mt Mellum resident recently took first place in the national Dilmah Real High Tea Challenge, after she received perfect scores over all judging categories for her locally made and sustainable tea infusions.
The win will take the tea junkie to Sri Lanka, where she will discover the world-renowned tea trails and an insight into the Dilmah family.
Ms Kelsey, who studies and practises herbal medicine alongside running her business Seeds of Light, said the competition had been an inspirational journey.
"When I went into the competition I thought the most amazing outcome would be winning the trip to Sri Lanka, but now the trip is a side bonus, because I've been so inspired by the people that were there," she said.
"It was a blessing and honouring to share my life and love with everyone there."
Ms Kelsey impressed judges with her Dilmah Rose and French Vanilla teas infused herbal lassi drink, Dilmah Delight, which is a tea version of Turkish Delight, local banana cake with tea cream, tea candied local macadamias and a sweet avocado mousse with tea sticks.
Every dish was filled with local and home-grown produce, including the eggs from her backyard chickens, home-grown herbs and Maleny Dairies butter and yoghurt.
Across the four judging categories of tea methodology, local products, rationale and sustainability, Ms Kelsey received a perfect score of 100%, which had never been achieved before in the competition.
Blach Hat chef Bernd Uber, celebrity chef Peter Kuruvita and the Dilmah founder's son Dilhan Fernando were among judges who scored Ms Kelsey highly for her creativity and knowledge of local ingredients.