Although Melbourne is the coffee Mecca of the antipodes there seems to be a strong undercurrent of tea pulsing through the cities arteries. It might be coffee that kick-starts Melbourne’s engine but tea seems to be keeping us warm while the windows defrosts.
Tea has always had a place in the Australian household due to our colonial heritage, its simple brewing process and the fact that it kicks instant coffee’s arse six ways to Sunday. But now the new wave of tea devotees (mind the pun) are branching out from the common black tea and getting the masses involved.
There are more reasons as to why tea is making a comeback other than just simplicity, deliciousness and thermodynamics. Tea, especially white or green, is packed full of antioxidants, the scourge of oxidation. Oxidation in cells can create ‘free radical’ and although that sounds like a punk rock band they’re actually about as good as your neighbour’s annoying garage band. Therefore the antioxidants in tea, shut those punk kids up before they do any damage to your cells.
The other boon of tea is that, unlike coffee, you can consume more of it without getting the caffeine shakes that have you remind your partner to buy the child and drop the milk at school. Although tea still contains caffeine, the dosage per cup compared to coffee is much lower, so you can drink up without staying up.
Like some sort of free market structure, the growing popularity with tea has meant that many more cafes and shops supply tea, and in greater varieties. The other great thing about ordering tea in a café is that you usually get a whole pot to yourself and if willing, can share (or barter for portions of cake). Tea is also great for entertaining, and now with a veritable smorgasbord of varieties, you can wow your friends with any assortment of blends and herbals teas.
If you’re in the market for some tea you probably can’t go past T2. With their wall of tea to choose from the staff will gladly point you in the right direction. Also T2 sells an abundance of tea paraphernalia to get you started. You can upgrade to some stylish teacups and no longer have to use those novelty coffee mugs that your family gets you for Christmas. If you’re in the city you should probably also check out Lupicia who have an amazing range of Asian teas as well as all the regulars.
Want a tea to quench your thirst while shopping for tea then why not step back in time and into the uniquely wallpapered Hopetoun Tea Rooms situated in the Block Arcade off Collins. But if that makes you feel mildly underdressed, then sipping a cleansing Chai at Storm in a Teacup is only one 86 Tram away.