The Five Best Places to Support Your Leaf Habit
Tomtelife.com founder and chief taster, Paul Bennetts, is bringing together a community of tea lovers. His mantra is that “Our best thinking and creativity come when drinking tea”. Tomte scours the globe to discover great teas created by small “artists of the leaf”. We asked him to share his top five Melbourne tea experiences with us. As Paul says, “slow down, disconnect, drink tea.”
Storm in a Teacup | 48A Smith Street Collingwood | storminateacup.com.au
I love this tea house. They understand quality of produce and how tea should be brewed. The best tasting tea is made for multiple infusions. That is, use more tea, brew it for less time (~30 seconds), and re-steep it for multiple infusions, ensuring that you empty the liquid contents of your brewing device each time. They also stock tea from my favourite tea region – Hawaii. Hawaii is not known as a traditional place for growing tea, but after a decade of experimentation they are now producing some of the best artisan tea in the world. It’s hard to get hold of though, with some Hawaiian micro-lot tea farms growing as little as 20kg a year.
Oriental Tea House | 378 Little Collins St, Melbourne | orientalteahouse.com.au
This is for your more traditional oriental tea experience. I guarantee you will go away with at least one zisha pot as their selection is adorable. For those who are a little more adventurous, I strongly suggest sampling their pu-erh tea (pronounced poo-air). To me, pu-erh smells like dirt and is dark like an espresso but it tastes brilliant. It is also the only tea that is cellared and aged with the most prized pu-erh cakes being aged 30-40 years.
Lui Bar, Vue de Monde | Level 55, 525 Collins St, Melbourne| vuedemonde.com.au
Vue de Monde was one of the first restaurants in Australia to value tea to the point that chef Shannon Bennett sourced a tea sommelier to join his team. Enter Charlie Serveau who takes over the mantle from Sarah Cowell. I’m excited to see where Charlie takes his tea menu. Charlie shares my passion for teaching and will be hosting 5 classes on the different tea families in September.
Little Bean Blue | 15 Little Collins St, Melbourne | littlebeanblue.com.au
The path of a tea drinker is usually this – breakfast blend with milk and sugar, green tea, then inevitably after exploring the broad types of tea they gravitate towards the world of oolong. Oolong is simple – add no milk and sugar (good for weight control), brew with boiling water, and look forward to multiple infusions from the one serving of leaf. I call it the world of oolong because you will always find new varieties to travel to with oolongs. I was extremely surprised to discover a great Wuyi Rock oolong on the menu of this top-notch espresso bar, but the word is that more and more baristas are cheating on coffee to learn about tea.
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