Green tea and my epiphany: three reasons why I’m in love with Gyokuro tea

Me and green tea have had an uneasy relationship.  Brewed properly, green tea can be deliciously refreshing and invigorating.  But so often, a combination of poor quality leaves and bad brewing results in an affront to the senses.  The Lipton Green Tea tea bag is the perfect example of the catastrophe that green tea can be – never again shall a drop pass my lips. Yet it doesn’t have to be a cup of green floor sweepings to make me grimace in pain; even green tea produced by notable tea companies can still be bitter and well, frankly quite gross.

My mistrust of green tea is so deep that for many years now I’ve nursed an unhealthy level of suspicion and hostility towards it.  I therefore assumed that our relationship could never be repaired.

So in this context, when a lovely friend recently gifted me a packet of Japanese green tea, I was hugely grateful on the outside, but on the inside I was nervous and fearful. I assumed this scenario could only end badly.

Death to the teabag! 7 best things from the Melbourne Tea Festival

There are many positives to living in Melbourne.  In particular, I love that this city pretty much has a festival for every niche interest. If you’re a blacksmith you can pop along to Footscray to the Blacksmith Festival.  If you’re vegan and feeling lonely, no problem – head to Carlton for the Big Vegan Market. Or, if you’re feeling a bit frisky there’s the Oz Kink Fest, where you can engage in the Hellfire Resurrection down in South Yarra. For something (possibly) a little more sedate, join the Handknitters’ Guild for the World Knit in Public Day.

For tea enthusiasts, there’s the Melbourne Tea Festival, an annual event where the tea amateurs and tea connoisseurs share their joy for the humble camellia sinensis leaf. I love the Melbourne Tea Festival; it’s been circled in my calendar for months. It didn’t disappoint.

Here are the the seven best things from this year’s event.

‘Tea like my nanna used to drink’

I’ve been drinking Tramtracker tea, by McIver’s Tea and Coffee Merchants, every morning for about 5 months now. I just love it; it’s strong and gutsy and gives me the push out of the door I need.

One morning as I stood staring at the wall waiting for my tea to brew, I thought to myself, ‘just how is this tea so good?’.  I resolved at that moment to find out.

George Orwell’s 11 golden rules for making tea

I recently stumbled across George Orwell’s 1946 gem of an essay, A Nice Cup of Tea.  It’s not surprising that as ‘the 20th century’s best chronicler of English culture’*, Orwell had some strong opinions about this quintessentially English institution.

In his short, humorous essay, George Orwell lists 11 inviolable rules one must follow to create the perfect cup of tea.  For the most part, his dogma stands the test of time.  But, there are a couple of points that are less ‘golden’ and, in my view, quite simply wrong.

George and I go head to head on what does, or does not, create the perfect cuppa.