A leafy elixir

The “meet up for coffee?” might soon be replaced here with a very-British “how about we talk over a cup of tea?” – if the increasing tea trend strengthens.


A leafy elixir


Spice traders first seduced Brits with the leafy elixir in the 1700s. However, it has increasingly crept onto café countertops here, as real competition to coffee. Tea has a comforting aroma and uplifting health properties, as quality blends seduce hot-drink addicts. The caffeine amount in tea varies with brew and blend, but it is around a third to half that of a cup of coffee.

The question then arises, black, green or white? Black tea has been reinvented by the industry, boutique New Zealand businesses included, by blending additional ingredients – which read like poetry. Rosebuds and black tea is marriage in a teapot.
Green tea can be infused with the likes of orange or mint to seduce newcomers to its natural benefits. White tea comes from young, minimally processed leaves. China White is a Christchurch company that jazzes up this delicate flavour with ginger or jasmine.

Some specialist teas are of unique origins, such as Darjeeling from West Bengal or Oolong from China. Try a sip first, before adding milk and sugar.  To convert the traditional ‘gumboot’ tea drinker, offer the fancier stuff and they’ll likely ask for a second cup. Cafés often present a loose-leaf in a teapot experience – and it’s all about presentation.

Tea cups of fine-white bone china or gilded vintage floral, make an afternoon tea gathering quite something. Meanwhile, chilled fruit-infused tea is beautiful served in a wine glass. The nice thing about meeting up over a pot of tea for two, is that a pot lasts longer than a fast-cooling flat white – and so then can the conversation.