Melbourne Tea Festival 2017
I couldn’t have been more excited last year when one of my best friends told me Melbourne had a tea festival; this year, I didn’t need any prompting.
Off we went to Tea Palooza; we being myself (the avid tea drinker) and my husband (the food truck fanatic). He heard Ghost Kitchen were back this year and wasn’t passing up the chance for their popcorn chicken.
We arrived not long after opening, and it was noticeably smaller than last year’s. Husband worked it out almost immediately; last year, Melbourne was in the throes of a matcha trend, while this year it seemed that chai was the in thing; apparently there are less chai dealers than matcha ones It was also a little disappointing to find that not all of the vendors on their program sheet were actually there.
But onto the tea… I did get around to trying a few, and obviously took some home with me. For those of you who didn’t make it to the tea festival (and actually care about tea!), here’s what’s worth trying!
1. UMTEA: Champagne Rose
This was nicer than I expected it to be – sweet without that overpowering syrupy taste, and the rose flavour was subtle enough to be delicious (anyone who’s had something with wayyyy too much rose flavouring in it will know what I mean). Kinda sad they didn’t have more teas brewing to try!
2. The Fitzroy Naturopath: Organic Turmeric Elixir
With its trendy superfood label, turmeric is “in” at the moment, so when I was offerrd a taste, I wasn’t expecting much – blended with lemongrass, it was actually really good! Husband commented that he felt like it would be the perfect thing if you were sick with a cold or flu. While I didn’t end up buying any on the day, I’m not ruling out an online purchase…
3. McIvers: Bolshie Brew, Tramtracker
Both really good, strong black brews – would happily drink both of them again, but found a third option that I liked best and purchased (see below).
4. Cloud Nine Teas: Sencha, Gyokuro
Honestly, I wasn’t impressed. I was actually pretty disappointed; I was really hoping to take some gyokuro home with me, but it didn’t taste like gyokuro (or at least not like the varieties I tried in Japan that I fell in love with) – just tasted like an odd type of sencha. The search continues…
5. Ito En: Genmaicha
This was fantastic – really delicious, but not overpowering nutty, toasty flavour. Only reason I didn’t buy some is because I was just given a bag of genmaicha from Ippodo Tea!
6. Matcha Matcha: sweet matcha (cold)
I didn’t think I’d like this much, and it was far too sweet to drink much of, but it was surprisingly nice!
1. McIvers: Vic Market Mornings
This was my favourite from the McIvers range – the perfect strong, black tea to enjoy on a cold, lazy Sunday morning with a good book and a fluffy dressing gown.
2. Tea Angle: Smokey Lapsang Souchong
This was a new one for me – I’d never heard of or tried anything like it before. It tastes like a cold night sitting by an open fire. Great on its own, but I also tried it with a tiny bit of milk, and that was really good, too.
3. Faraaz Tea: Red Hibiscus
I bought this last year for the first time as a reminder of the tea I drank in Egypt. I recently discovered a better way to drink it rather than just as hot tea; mixed with a little bit of T2’s Mint Mix tea, it makes the perfect iced tea to fill my water bottle with and sip on at work all day – so much better than water!
4. Rico Coco’s: Chocolate Tea
Chocolate tea. Magic. It couldn’t be more simple – just cacao husks/shells, and some cacao nibs. Add hot water and its a hot cup of drinkable chocolate. And it has no caffeine, which is why it’s my tea of choice before bedtime – it’s like drinking dessert before bed! Oh, and it’s organic (good for you) and FairTrade (good for the Peruvian plantations that supply the cacao). Everyone wins!
5. Storm In A Teacup: Breakfast Tea
My favourite loose leaf breakfast tea – despite the dozens of other black teas I have at home (yes, seriously, more than one dozen), I’m onto my third bag of this since discovering it at last year’s tea show. When I work from home, I brew a big, strong pot of this first thing in the morning, and its the perfect start to the morning. Also gets a great run on lazy weekends at home.