Hannah Dupree is passionate about tea. She’s the owner of ‘Storm in a Teacup‘ in Collingwood, Melbourne, and she’s telling me the story of the ‘Forest White’ tea I’ve just ordered. While the tea brews in the little glass teapot for a specific amount of time, Hannah explains that the leaves were hand picked on the volcanic mountains of Hawaii then partially sun dried before making their way to fine tea specialts around the globe. When the timer sounds she pours the tea into a large clear glass for me. While this place isn’t in the slightest bit snobby or pretentious, there’s a something just faintly ceremonial about this, my introduction into something a little more sophisticated than my usual milk and sugar brew.
The cosy little tea room/cafe on Smith street has been open for three months and Hannah is fast becoming an expert in her trade with the helpful guidance of a tea guru from London. I never knew tea guru’s existed, but with some teas commanding higher prices than most bottles of Pinot Noir I suppose it’s hardly surprising.
Her enthusiasm for tea is infectious. She talks about it with a bright smile and in such engaging tones that you can’t help but feel like she’s introducing you to something you’ve been overlooking in this overly caffeinated city. To Hannah tea is as complex and varied as wine and it can be indulgent in equal measure. She’s been sipping herbal tipples for years, but after being a full-time mother she was up for a new challenge.
“I wanted to have my own business, but something that was good for people.” She told me as I sat at the polished wood counter atop of a thunderbolt bar stall custom made by local sculpturist, Damian Vick. “I never realised that doing this would mean that I’d end up working in hospitality though, that I’d be doing the dishes.” She said laughing with her hands in soapy water.
Patrons can choose from a wide selection of blends from far flung places across the globe, most of which have been sourced directly from the producers. Sandwiches and various other treats are also on offer to compliment your tea choice or indulge your taste buds that little bit more. You can also buy the tea, cute teapots and other such tea paraphernalia.
All in all this place is a wonderful oasis for tea drinkers, and I’m quite sure that the local leaf evangelists will hope that Storm in a Teacup lives up to its name in this city that likes to think of itself as the coffee capital of the southern hemisphere.