When tea isn’t tea {Canberra tea-drinker}

I drink tea.

Every morning my tea making routine is more like a ritual.

My taste buds salivate at the thought of a beautifully brewed pot of tea. If I watched myself prepare my tea each morning I would see the same filling of the kettle with water, the same anticipation of the water boiling, the same heating of the teapot and cup, the same silver plated tea scoop plunging twice into the dry leaves. I would see the freshly boiled water poured into the pot on top of fragrant tea leaves and watch the colour and flavour oozing out of the leaves, to brew.

“Tea … is a religion of the art of life.”
― Kakuzō Okakura, The Book of Tea


I have used my little teapot for years. It is nothing special. In fact I think I bought it at a commercial kitchenware place. I have had my tea strainer (given to me by one of my old photographic assistants) for over 10 years, at least. My tea cosy however, is a recent purchase. It was bought in a craft fair in Peak Hill in western NSW two years ago.

I cannot say I am a tea connoisseur. Most of the tea I drink is just black tea, sometimes a little bit of green tea or peppermint. I am not a fan of fruity teas.

I do, however, like my tea made well. I can make myself a great cup of tea. I have taught a boyfriend or two, in the past, how to make tea that satisfies, but sadly there are VERY few cafes and restaurants around our region that know how to make a simple cup of tea.

“There is something in the nature of tea that leads us into a world of quiet contemplation of life.”
― Lin Yutang, The Importance Of Living

I get so annoyed when presented with a teabag in or next to a pot of hot water in a cafe and be expected to pay for it.

A teabag is a coffee drinkers instant. I know for a fact that if a coffee drinker was served instant at a cafe or restaurant, there would be hell to pay!

Why should I and the many many other tea drinkers in Canberra and Queanbeyan have to put up with a woeful cup of tea? Why should I have to pay up to $4.50 for a cup of tea that I have to make myself with a teabag that probably costs 5 cents?


I have had enough!

In fact,  " I am as Mad As Hell And I am Not Going To Take it Anymore!"
In fact,
” I am as Mad As Hell And I am Not Going To Take it Anymore!”

I have decided if I go into a cafe and they do not serve tea properly I will not stay. I loath to be disappointed so generally I will only go where I know I can get a half decent brew.

“A simple cup of tea is far from a simple matter.”
― Mary Lou Heiss, The Story of Tea: A Cultural History and Drinking Guide

So Canberra cafes and restaurants, lift your game, please. Make me a cuppa I can sit and enjoy, to saviour, to contemplate my meal. Do not disappoint me.

As Muriel Barbery writes in her exquisitely visual novel The Elegance of the Hedghog, “When tea becomes ritual, it takes its place at the heart of our ability to see greatness in small things. Where is beauty to be found? In great things that, like everything else, are doomed to die, or in small things that aspire to nothing, yet know how to set a jewel of infinity in a single moment?”

If you get anything out of this post you must read Barbery’s beautiful book!

“But indeed I would rather have nothing but tea.”
― Jane Austen, Mansfield Park

If I am paying for a cup of tea I do not want to have to make it myself.
I do not want to drink it tepid and weak.
I want an experience.

I want what the same experience my fellow coffee drinkers get when they order a espresso or a macchiato or a short black. I want real tea, made properly and served with reverence and joy. I want restaurant owners to be proud of the tea they serve. I want it to equal that of their coffee service. I no longer wish to be seen as a second class citizen because I drink tea. I do not want Canberra and Queanbeyan establishments to be able to get away with serving a poor substitute anymore!

George Orwell knew how to make tea. He waxed lyrical about it. Maybe all staff members should be made to read his essay before serving tea to customers.

So promise me, no! Promise All of us Tea Drinking Public that as a cafe or restaurant you will make a better effort, change your systems and products for the better. We will be eternally grateful! We will LOVE you. We will rave about you…. well I will at least!!

Do I have cafes and restaurants that I would avoid as a tea drinker?
Yes I do. Many.

BUT, I can highly recommend:

The Cupping Room
Beyond Q at Curtin Shops
Riverside Cafe Queanbeyan
4th Seed in Queanbeyan
Adore Tea in Gold Creek
Autolyse in Braddon (even had a take-away loose leaf!!)
Melita Coffee Lounge in Queanbeyan (which seems ironic as it is a coffee lounge)
Benedict House Queanbeyan

*Please NB: Four of those above are in Queanbeyan!

** iphone photos below

The Cupping Room
The Cupping Room
Beyond Q at Curtin Shops
Beyond Q at Curtin Shops
Adore Tea
Adore Tea
Riverside Cafe Queanbeyan
Riverside Cafe Queanbeyan

My most unmentionable list includes:

Me and Mrs Jones (teabags in little boxes wrapped in plastic, WT!?)
Bean and Grain (very sad teabag and tooooo much water)
Mocan and Green and A.Baker (terrible teapots)


If you are passionate about drinking tea and can recommend a wonderful cafe in Canberra region who know how to make a decent cup of tea, I would sincerely love to hear from you! Let me know in the comments below, ta!

Hilary xox

#Canberra #CBR #HumanBrochure

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