It’s a Thursday night and the sun has set. A narrow doorway beckons those who pass by to enter the sky blue venue, warming those who enter with its dim lighting and intimate feel. The micro tea-shop-come-bar has a warm paint job and is lined with soft leather-topped stools, with a foot stands in the shape of a cloud. A petite lady with cherub cheeks welcomes you warmly with a genuine smile, offering you a drink of J, G&T (Jasmine Gin & Tonic). This is the home of Hannah Dupree. Okay, well maybe not home, but her pride and joy business, which has recently added cocktails to its menu for cheeky tipple.
Melbourne is notoriously known for its passion for coffee, but with the help of venues like Storm in a Teacup, the appreciation for tea is starting to come to rise. To celebrate their one year anniversary Storm in a Teacup hosted a bloggers night, showcasing the beautiful teas and extraordinary cocktails on offer in this quiet little venue.
The story of Storm in a Teacup spawned from the age old question- what next? Dupree was an artist full-time, who gave up her profession to look after her newborn baby. She knew that she loved food but had no idea about tea . So she set off to Sri Lanka to learn how to appreciate the intricacies of a good brew, eventually leading to the creation of Storm in a Teacup. She compares the delicacy of the flavours to ‘a fine wine’, and it is obvious that she has come a long way since her journey began.
It was then we started to really appreciate the flavours of tea, through a tasting session. First off, a lesson: all tea come from the same type of tree, the Camelia Sinensis. Variations of tea that don’t utilise this particular leaves aren’t in fact, tea at all. When the term ‘ancient’ is used to describe tea, it is referring to the age of the tree that bears the leaves. In the case of our J,G&T’s, the leaves came from 200-400 year old trees from Northern Vietnam!
Green tea is also not as horrendously harsh as Woolworth’d would lead us to believe. The green tea presented to us at Storm in a Teacup was much closer to the macha that can be experienced in Japan, but more gentle in flavour. Timing and temperature, Dupree tells us, is key to making a good brew. Different leaves have different resilience levels and in this case, green tea is very fragile and she recommends a water temperature no higher than 80 degrees and a soak time of 1-2 minutes. Dupree then continues to walk us through tastings of Oolong tea (sourced from Taiwan) and traditional black tea (sourced from Sri Lanka). Each brew is beautifully unique and lacks the bitter qualities that we are used to tasting in store-bought blends.
It was then time to get back to cocktails and we were presented with a magnificent Teatini, made with delectable flavours such as Delord Blanche Armagnac, Sejak Korean Green Tea and a beautiful topping of gold leaf. The cocktail certainly packed a real punch and it was a beautifully powerful martini with the gentle tones of green tea running through the flavours. To accompany the cocktails we were served a tasting plate of beautifully oily olives, pyengana cheddar and wagyu bressola. Delicious!
The Storm was the next cocktail and it was like drinking punch – strong, fruity and easy to drink. The cloudy colour of the various alcohols and the Sejak Korean Green Tea certainly brought out the storm, with a delicate fish cut out of ginger hovering on the side of our cup.
It was then dessert and an incredibly rich chocolate fudge cake with Tonka bean cream was served with our personal favourite cocktail of the night – Too Drunk To Drive This Russian Caravan. Served with a giant ball of ice, the burnt-caramel coloured cocktail was a beautiful combination with this rich chocolate brownie, leaving us certainly in a position of requiring a cab home.
Storm in a Teacup is a venue that is making tea cool again, providing ever innovative ways to combine tea with unsuspecting elements such as food and drinks. The service is friendly, the drinks are strong and the venue is intimate. So if you’re looking for somewhere new to try, be sure to step in and be amazed.
Tues – Sun: 10am – 6pm
Weekend brunch runs until 3pm