Storm in a Teacup
Add: 48A Smith St, Collingwood, Melbourne
Tel: (03) 9415 9593
Hours: [Tue-Wed] 10am-5pm [Thu-Sat] 10am-11pm [Sun] 11am-4pm
Price: [tea] 3.50~8.00AUD [desserts] 3.50~7.50AUD
Visited on: 2012-04
“Tea drinking” wasn’t on my itinerary for Melbourne – I mean, this city is known for its thriving coffee culture, not tea brewing – but when we passed by Storm in a Teacup on a late afternoon, we were so drawn to its cute storefront that we just had to go in for a look…
It’s a small place, with no more than 10 seats at the bar and only 2 tables near the back. We sat ourselves down at the bar and began to peruse the extensive tea menu. Black tea, green tea, white tea from all corners of the globe: China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Hawaii, Australia, South Africa, Kenya, India and Sri Lanka. They’ve also got some modern twists, like bubble tea, frappes, and cocktails…and if you must, there are even a couple of filter coffee options from 5 Senses. But you are at a tea bar, so why not try the tea?
There are some helpful tasting notes on the menu, and the friendly faces behind the bar are happy to offer their expertise as well. I picked a rich yet refined cup of Organic Rooibos (3.50AUD) from the pristine slopes of the Cedarburg Mountains in South Africa, while my friend had the Wild Crafted Ancient Jasmine (3.50AUD), which is green tea plucked from 400-year-old camellia sinensis in Vietnam, made in the traditional style where fresh jasmine flowers are allowed to open on a bed of tea, infusing their scent deep into the leaves.
Each variety of tea has its own characteristics and thus a unique brewing method. The organic rooibos, for example, was brewed with 100C water, while the ancient jasmine could only tolerate 75C and for a shorter duration. All teas come in large terracotta cups made by local designers.
Though we were scheduled to have dinner right after, we couldn’t help but try some of the enticing-looking desserts displayed at the bar, all handmade in house. First, a blueberry sour cream cake (7.50AUD) served with just about the most amazing cream I’ve ever had.
Then, a 70% Lindt chocolate brownie (4AUD) with tea-soaked prunes. Now that was something of a novelty to me, and the combination worked surprisingly well. Must try to replicate at home.
Storm in a Teacup is the perfect “in-between” venue, somewhere you can drop by during random hours at the day. They also have breakfast items on the menu like orange, fennel, and rye organic fruit toast or a breakfast arepa filled with two cheeses, a tea egg, cornichons, mayonnaise, avocado and rocket, as well as a few dinner dishes like free range chicken terrine with orange and beetroot relish and rare roasted organic beef with Persian feta, both served on organic rye or sourdough. I actually wish they didn’t have so much food offerings, as I prefer a tea shop that’s more focused, especially knowing that the subtle flavors of tea can be easily overshadowed by the smell of food…