Did you know that tea leaves are good for healing shaving cuts and can eliminate bad odours when added to a foot bath? Or that tea can be used to marinate meat, is a great fertiliser for roses, and is also good for cleaning floors?
As well as its apparent domestic diversity, tea actually tastes really, really good. Though Melbourne is recognised for its dedication to coffee, the other caffeinated drink is slowly making a mark on our streets with numerous tea shops popping up all over our fine city. Here's our pick of the places to grab a Darjeeling and put your pinky up.
New to the Melbourne tea scene, Theic Tea Bar is certainly no novice when it comes to brewing. Brought to us by Nathan Wakefield of Somage Fine Foods, there are 24 tea varieties lining the Collingwood pop-up. At Theic, one can indulge in a vegan dessert delight (two words, SNICKERS BALL) whilst sipping away at a tisane. All the teas are brewed with serious TLC, the leaves are hand washed and brews are served in homemade tea pots. Trivia: the work theic refers to a tea drunkard. And we all know a few of those…
Theic Tea Bar | 77 Cromwell Street in Collingwood | 0433 214 938
Though not entirely dedicated to tea like our other entries, Dahon Gourmet Tea Lounge still earns an honourable mention, as they have some of the best teas floating round their menu. Specialising in the underspoken cuisine of Filipino food, punters can bite down on a BBQ pork roll, sticky coconut rice or a chicken skewer, but the tea is just as enticing.
Upon arrival, you'll be asked to pick a tea. You can choose one suited to your mood – the Slimdown, the Stressless or perhaps a Golden Monkey – but the iced teas are the ones you want. These big jugs of refreshment come in flavours like berry tea with lychees and fruit syrup, the quintessential apple tea, or a tantalising fusion of lime blossom, peppermint, rose petals and calendula petals. Dig in.
Dahon Gourmet Tea Lounge | Shop 5, 111 Cecil Street in South Melbourne
You can't get away with writing a tea round up without including Melbourne favourite, Storm in a Teacup. Their boutique brewery bursts with tea-thusiasm, with exotic flavours, cute ceremonies and an incredible breakfast menu to accompany your beverage. You could literally spend all day trying to pick which tea to drink out of their little terracotta pots, so ask one of the incredibly knowledgeable staff to help you pick to your palate. Come sundown, Storm in a Teacup turns into a quirky bar with tea-infused cocktails and nibbles. Bliss!
Storm in a Teacup | 48 Smith Street in Collingwood | 03 9415 9593
Pascale Sameli has spent twenty years sourcing the most diverse, delicious and divine teas and you won't be able to tell me you can't taste the knowledge in his tiny tea shop in Carlton – The Travelling Samovar.
The encyclopaedic menu offers the history behind your choice of leaves, and is also accompanied with helpful tasting titbits so you can see if it's of your liking. Any tea you choose will be brewed according to its traditional method, so expect wondrous contraptions, enrapturing smells and cake on the side. Similar to Storm in a Teacup, they're getting their liquor license soon, so expect tea cocktails!
Travelling Samovar Tea House | 412 Rathdowne Street in Carlton North | 03 9917 2911
Tea making paraphernalia at Storm in a Teacup. Image Credit: Facebook.
Herbal, green, oolong, black, white, fruit or special blends, the Oriental Teahouse has got them all. Located in various places around Melbourne, the Oriental Teahouse's modern decor – red and gold lanterns, beautiful Chinese prints and wooden walls – will have you decidedly relaxed as you sip away in their beautiful (and available for purchasing!) teapots and cups.
You'll come for the tea, but you'll stay for the yum cha – think dumplings and wontons, perfect for welcoming Sunday morning's hangover with a wide open mouth.
Oriental Teahouse | Various Locations
On your annual weekly visit to the NGV, it is somewhat dehydrating fawning over all of the culture oozing from the walls. The Tea Room on the second floor of the gallery is the perfect place to park your cushion for an afternoon pick me up with their high teas.
As at any high tea venue worth its salt, you'll be treated to macarons, eclairs and a dazzling display of petit fours and savoury bites, all handcrafted by the culinary wizards in the kitchen, as well as the Queen's favourite – English Breakfast. You'll be ready for Rembrandt in no time after a cuppa here!
The Tea Room | Level 1, NGV International, 180 St Kilda Road in Melbourne | 03 8620 2431
Named after its founder, Lady Hopetoun, the Hopetoun Tea Rooms is a historical venue flooded with tradition, (it's been here since 1892!) fusing the flawless combo of old world charm with the heritage of fine food. Providing a much sought after escape from the busy CBD, the tea rooms are nestled in the Block Arcade. It's the perfect place to take visiting parents for some light refreshments, or high tea. The cakes are incredible!
Hopetoun Tea Rooms | 282 Collins Street in Melbourne | 03 9650 2777
Image Credit: Pinterest.