Tea is one of Australia’s most adored non-alcoholic beverages, and with good reason. Whether you take it with or without milk, hot or iced, daily or once in a blue moon – tea is so good.
Why Drink Tea?
Apart from tasting amazing, tea is crazy good for you. With so many health benefits it’s no wonder so many people consume the loose-leaf goodness. Tea leaves are full of antioxidants (especially in green tea) that promote fat burning and improved muscle endurance. Antioxidants also reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases and can reduce the risk of heart attacks, and a tonne of different cancers. Although tea is a caffeinated beverage, it does contain much less caffeine than a cup of coffee. Most traditional teas contain about 50% less of what you would find in your coffee, but having just enough kick to enhance concentration and alertness.
All that aside, it’s also just really nice to curl up with a brew and take in the soothing effects of its flavour and aroma.
As far as culture goes, China is home to the most historical rituals of tea brewing and consuming. Gongfu tea is a traditional process of tea brewing that makes up China’s customary tea ceremony. The beauty behind Gongfu is the true appreciation behind the preparation and appearance of tea; the term translating to “making tea with skill”. It’s a very intricate process that involves a large enough space to hold all the tea-making utensils and a peaceful, relaxing environment. The ceremony process sees the cups being sterilised with hot water, having guests appreciate the tea by inviting them to smell the leaves before being brewed and arranging the cups in a circle before pouring the beverage from up high, going around in one continuous motion until all the cups are filled. Guests are then expected to cradle the cup and savour each sip, relishing the aroma of the tea even after it has been consumed.
Although China is the largest producer of tea, Turkey is home to the highest consumption of tea per person, annually coming in at 12.54kg – a whopping 8.2kg difference to Russia, who is the second highest consumer. Offering tea to guests is an integral part of Turkish hospitality; it is the most consumed hot beverage in the country despite their huge history of coffee consumption. After the fall of the Ottoman Empire, coffee had become an expensive import; thus pushing loose-leaf tea to become the nation’s drink of choice in the 20th century. In Turkish culture, tea is brewed in two stacked kettles called a caydanlik. The lower, larger kettle is filled with hot water and brought to a boil, while the top kettle contains loose tea leaves which are then infused with more hot water – coming to a boil with the steam of the lower kettle. This technique allows drinkers to consume the tea to their preference; pouring the infused tea into slim ince belli (literally translated to thin waist) glasses, guests can have their tea dark or light, diluting the amount of brewed tea with the boiled water to their desired taste. Tea is usually consumed boiling hot, without milk – and it never ends at just one glass.
Melbournian Tea Lovers Rejoice
This Saturday the 20th of May will see the Melbourne Tea Festival return for the second time at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre to unite tea connoisseurs and occasional drinkers alike. The interactive one-day event will host an array of specialty tea purveyors with a program of tea appreciation workshops to excite any loose-leaf lover.
The festival will showcase creative blends, brewing equipment and techniques from all across the globe, including a unique “Tea With a Stranger” experience to promote communication and openness through the sharing of tea. Some other workshops on offer include Native Australian Tea Ceremonies which looks at Australian indigenous tea ceremonies on a deeper level, an opportunity to Blend Your Own Tea giving you the chance to curate a unique bespoke blend to your palate’s desire as well as offering workshops looking at Kombucha & Jun Brewing.
Some of the expected appearances include Long’s Tea, Tea Envy, The Rabbit Hole and Original Chai Co. as well as a delicious range of stalls with the likes of Tasty Gozleme, Eat Me Chutneys and Chocolette providing tasty treats to wash down with your tea.
Tickets for the festival can be pre-ordered now via Moshtix.
Anyone up for a cuppa? As an Amplified member, we have a double pass to the Tea Festival up for grabs – Enter here.