What is Tea?
All tea is made from one shrubby evergreen, the Camellia Sinensis. It has two main varietals: Camellia Sinensis Sinensis originating in China and Camellia Sinensis Assamica from the Assam region in the north of India. Shiny, green leaves are harvested from the plant regularly to encourage new growth: the top two leaves (plus the bud, or tip) make the finest grade while the vibrant flavours of the first growth (or flush) of the season are especially prized. The short, intense growing season of high altitudes improves flavour even further, adding an ethereal element, hence the sublime taste of First Flush Darjeeling and seasonal teas from the high slopes of Yunnan province in China.
What is a Tisane?
A tisane is a herbal infusion, Peppermint, Lemongrass, Hibiscus, Lemon Myrtle, Chrysanthemum, Soba etc. Leaves, stems, roots, seeds, peel and all the various parts of thousands of dried plants steeped in water to release their flavour. Tisanes are not necessarily tea, as they don’t all come from the Camellia Sinensis plant.
Green, Black, White or Oolong?
All tea leaves are picked green; it is the manner of processing that determines whether the tea becomes black, green, white or oolong. For black tea the leaves are withered and rolled to damage the leaf; this enables oxidization, which produces the characteristic taste and colour, then the leaves are fired with hot air to stabilise them. Green tea is characterised by the sweetness and amino acid content of the fresh green unoxidised leaves of which it is comprised, these are steamed or wok-fired to stabilise them. Oolong is part way between black and green, with oxidisation stopped after a short time, imbuing this tea with both the freshness of green tea and the subtlety and maturity of black. White tea is both rare and precious as the tips must be handpicked while still in bud form and then softly dried to produce a pale, delicate infusion. And Puerh tea is an aged or post-fermented green tea.
What is the History of Tea?
The history of tea is the stuff of legends, from the tea clippers of old battling monster seas to trade their wares in the far-flung corners of the globe to the story of Buddha’s Tears. Tea begins its story in China about 4,700 years ago, when wild tea leaves fell into a pot of boiling water, being prepared for Chinese Emperor Shen Nung. So the story goes, Shen Nung sipped the resulting infusion and claimed, it quenches thirst; it gladdens and cheers the heart. In China tea is part of body, mind, spirit and home and is woven into history, philosophy, art and literature. In Japan, reading poetry, writing calligraphy, painting and discussing philosophy while sipping tea, quickly became part of Samurai culture. Tea, and the ceremony surrounding it, played a prominent role in feudal diplomacy and by the sixteenth century, the current Way of Tea (the Japanese tea ceremony) was established. Portuguese and Dutch traders introduced tea to Europe as a luxury alongside silk and spice and it soon became the height of sophistication among the aristocracy, precious leaves locked away tight in caddies to be sipped from the finest new ‘china’ porcelain imported from the East and named after its country of origin. Similarly, in Australia tea is woven into our story, from tea as a symbol of the wealth and superiority of the empire and her servants far from home, to a billy hissing and spitting above a campfire, the brew the best friend of the bushman as he wanders the land. In Australia tea is not reserved for the privileged, it is a privilege for all.
What is Storm in a Teacup’s Take on Tea?
Respecting the rituals of tea, the ceremony, the history and the story, Storm in a Teacup has created a concept that embraces the precocious elevation of tea’s place in our culinary society. The last five years have borne witness to a tea revolution, a shift in the conceptualisation of tea and its place in society. Gone is the fusty, Victorian tradition that demanded bone china, English Breakfast tea bags and pinkies at dawn. In its place is an embrace of tea from all its world origins, an understanding of tea’s breadth of flavour from the most delicate white teas to nutty chai blends and earthy, dark Puerh tea. Storm in a Teacup is spearheading the tea revolution in Australia. Borne of a love of tea, a respect for the worldwide communities that grow and produce tea and recognition of our changing appreciation of the venerable cuppa, our vision is to celebrate the most popular drink in the world.
How do I Make Tea?
You will find the specific brewing guidelines for each tea on the back of it’s packet. We suggest you start there. Once you’ve mastered it adjust the amount of tea to create your desired strength- keep the brew times and temperatures the same. Remember Stronger not Longer is the rule! If you lengthen the brew time you will increase the amount of tannin in your cup, overpowering the subtle flavours in the tea. To get the required temperature of water there are domestic kettles on the market with temperature control, this is the easiest way or you can use a cooking thermometer with a kettle of boiled water and some room temperature filtered water, keep adjusting till you get your required heat. Use a timer- we have found them to be far more reliable than our internal clocks… Always Warm your Pot! If you are making a white, most greens, oolongs or certain black teas you will notice in the information on the back of the pack it has a number of suggested infusions. This means you can use the same leaves to make multiple pots of tea. This is Gong Fu brewing! Gong Fu is a beautiful Chinese tea ceremony in which you can share tea with others as you taste the flavour of the tea infusing into the water over several ‘washes’. The most important part of Gong Fu brewing is to make sure you pour almost all of the water out of the pot each time as you don’t want the leaves to stew in water left in the pot- you will mess with your infusion times this way. Keep an eye on the News Page for more brewing hints, methods and ceremony.
What Sort of Pot Should I Use?
Ceramic pots are best at holding temperature, glass pots display tea beautifully, tetsubin (Japanese cast iron pots) are unbreakable and also hold heat really well, make sure it’s glazed inside as unglazed tetsubins and stainless steal pots leave your infusion with an undesirable metallic taste. A pot with a strainer built around the spout is far superior to a basket as the leaf has the entire pot to brew in rather than being restricted in a little mesh torture chamber. You will make much better tea if you allow it to dance, swirl around and open up within the water. You should use the smallest pot required for the amount of tea you wish to make. This way the entire infusion is decanted into your cup/s and you wont have leave leaf stewing in the remainder, making it impossible to do multiple infusions and the liquor unpleasantly strong. When you’re ready to nerd out check out Yi Xing pots. These are the tiny unglazed ceramic pots used in the Chinese Gong Fu Tea Ceremony. It’s a beautiful way of experiencing the opening up of specialty teas flavours and energy while sharing it with friends.
Water quality is the essential foundation when making specialty tea. Tea is 99.9% water, unless that water is pure you’ll be tainting the beauty of the teas you’re drinking and missing out on many subtleties within the leaf.
The ideal water to make each tea with is water gathered from the stream that fed its actual tea bush in Yunnan or Kyoto or Hawaii…. Completely impossible from here in Collingwood and I’m sure for you too, however try making tea with fresh rainwater or spring water, experiment with different filters to discover your personal preference.
What are the Health Benefits of Tea?
All styles of tea have been used traditionally in the east as medicine for all parts of the body, spirit and soul. These days teas has been shown through many studies to help with weight management, it’s been shown to be disease fighting, energy boosting and stress reducing, good for your eyes, to help lower blood pressure and assistthe body process fats, good for joints, stress levels, diabetes, plaque and wrinkle prevention, it’s been shown to increase cardiovascular health, fight free radicles and improve bone strength. However there have also been loads of studies that show tea does not to assist with any of these conditions. It’s official the jury is out.
At Storm in a Teacup we know tea is not a miracle cure, it is however a delicious drink that has over thousands of years, been very good to it’s drinkers.
I’d like to drink great tea when I’m out, who serves Storm in a Teacup teas?
NEW SOUTH WALES
Bread and Circus, Alexandria
Nan’s Place, Zetland
Paramount Coffee Project, Surry Hills
Satellite Espresso, Newtown (NSW).
Stanley Street Merchants, East Sydney.
Velvet Garage, St Peters
Natures Providore, Adelaide
Please Say Please, Adelaide
A Little Bird Told Me, Melbourne.
Alice Nivens, Melbourne.
Auction Rooms, North Melbourne.
Birdman Eating, Fitzroy
Backstreet Eating, Fitzroy.
Bar Ampere, Melbourne.
Bells Diner, Fitzroy.
Brother Bubba Budan, Melbourne.
Cafe Acustico, Brunswick.
Cleaver Polly’s, West Melbourne
Clement South Melbourne
Dukes Coffee Roasters, Melbourne.
Everyday Coffee Collingwood
Fifty Acres, Richmond.
Gin Palace, Melbourne.
Hammer and Tong, Fitzroy.
Hell of the North, Fitzroy.
Hello Sailor, Hawthorn
Hoffman’s Holistic Produce, Mansfield
Kinfolk Café Melbourne
Ladro, Fitzroy & Prarhan.
Lemon Middle and Orange Collingwood
Le Petit Prince, Armadale.
Meatball and Wine Bar, Melbourne City, Richmond & Collingwood.
Martha Ray, Fitzroy.
Milk Bar + Co, Mt Martha
Saigon Sally, Windsor
Saint Crispin, Collingwood
Smith and Daughters Fitzroy
Soap Bar, Carlton
Some Velvet Morning, Clifton Hill.
Ten Minutes By Tractor, Main Ridge.
The Estelle, Northcote.
Toorak Cellars, Armadale.
Wilfred Smith, Essendon
At Storm in a Teacup we love to build relationships with cafes, bars, events and restaurants who are impassioned with their enterprises and know tea is a marvellous focus, or support for their entire offering.
Our requirements of service aren’t for everyone, we work with business who are as interested in excellence as us, requiring that small amount of extra effort to deliver a superior product to their customers every time.
If this sounds like you and you are interested in becoming a part of Storm in a Teacups wholesale select, please get in touch by emailing us at [email protected] we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.
Please include as much information about your experience, establishment and desires as possible.
Q: What is the Delivery Time When I Purchase Online?
A: We ship with Australia Post, typically we ship every 2-3 days, delivery is made in 4-7 working days from the order date.
Q: Does Storm in a Teacup Ship Internationally?
A: Not yet. However, please email [email protected] with any special requests and we will see what we can do.
Q: What if my goods do not arrive within 7 days or in perfect condition?
A: The upmost care will be taken when packaging your product. Should anything be damaged during transit or not arrive within 7 days please advise us immediately [email protected] discuss your situation.