Monday, 30 January 2012

Not my cup of tea

Coffee drinkers have it so good. The cafe world revolves around them and their individual preferences: the latte, skinny cap, flat white, espresso, macchiato, decaf. moccacino on soy.  Then there's all the syrup that can be added to give them the flavour of caramel, Irish cream, butter toffee, cinnamon hazelnut, raspberry chocolate, southern pecan pie and even chocolate macadamia nut!
The whole industry is BIG and thriving in in my little local town. There are 7 cafes with their own baristas (one of them is my friend Slim) and machines within a 3 Km radius. 
But what about tea houses

I can count on one hand the tea houses I have found in Australia. One in Windsor, NSW (serves High Tea on tiered plates), 1 in Leura, NSW (has a collection of tea pots and is across the road from our wedding church) and 1 in the Dandenong Ranges of Victoria called, Miss Marple's Tea Room (that we passed in the car after taking in afternoon tea at the famous Bavarian 'Cuckoo Restaurant'). 

And when you order a cup of tea, in a cafe, what do you get? 

It's rare to get leaf tea in a pot, rarer to get a choice of teas, and impossible to get it served in a china pot and tea cup. What you normally get is a 2 cup tea pot with 1 English or Irish breakfast tea bag dangling over the edge. Not strong enough for me. At worst, you get a generic tea bag in a coffee mug. So wrong!
Alas, when I am out with my coffee drinking friends (because it's always "Do you want to go out for coffee?") I will not order tea. I can't justify paying the same price as a double shot frappacino, and only getting a lousy tea bag in hot water.

There is an art to making tea (but more on that another time) just as there is an art to making good coffee. And I want my barista to work hard for the money. So I will order either a hot chocolate or an iced chocolate.
When I find someone who shares my passion for tea, tea cups WITH saucers and dessert plates, tea pots and crazy tea cosies, it's like finding a kindred spirit. I found this great online Etsy store that sells traditional and retro china tea cups. It's called Nancy's Tea Shop and it's worth checking her store every few weeks because she sells gorgeous stuff.
I bought 3 delicious pale blue, aqua and teal  tea cups last year. I ordered 2 more Colclough tea sets this month along with a tiered cake stand, creamer and an adorable pin cushion.
The two tea sets match one that my mother gave to me from her collection. Hers was pale blue and these two are pale yellow.
I have searched many op-shops and vintage stores, here in Australia, looking for tea sets but Rachel just seems to have exactly what I am looking for. Her prices and postage, from the UK, are so reasonable and she packs everything well. 
Rachel also threw in free pincushion and a recipe to's those little touches that I love!
So this is my tea set collection. Just missing one more to make 8. I'll keep my eye out for that in her store.
And what a great idea to turn one into a pincushion. It's gone straight to my sewing room.

1 comment:

  1. What a gorgeous blog. Finally, someone who understands where I am coming from! I'm married to a recently immigrated Italian who adores coffee (an understatement) and has worked as a barista in both Italy and Aus. But, I am an avid tea-drinker who collects teapots. Whilst we are extremely similar in all ways, this is our only disagreement. He thinks tea just tastes like dirty water *gasp*! x


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