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 senensis 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.

‘Oh, the Places You’ll Go’: Meeting the tea merchant

This is the first in a series of conversations with modern day tea merchants.  Really, I just want to know why and how people end up in the tea trade – I don’t imagine it’s a choice often offered by careers advisors….

My first chat with a tea entrepreneur is with Andrew Cutcliffe.  As I learn, Andrew’s history as an actor, a hospitality guru and an aficionado of Japan all coalesced to result in the creation of his tea company, Tippity.