Indulge in Life

Musings from the co-founder of Tielka.

Eat. Drink. Pray. Love.

Rebecca Domorev - Saturday, December 29, 2012

When I was a little girl, my usual New Year's resolution would sound something like "I'm never going to misbehave again - this year I'm going to be perfect!". Excitedly, I would muse on this idea with feelings of accomplishment and then realise on the 2nd or 3rd of January that things hadn't entirely worked out as I intended. Not surprising, really, and the many abandoned New Year's resolutions of years to come seemed to echo my childish albeit good intentions.

They haven't all been broken. Once I did succeed. At around 19, fed up with the perception that having a good time required firstly downing a glass or two, I decided that I would show the world that it was indeed possible to have a fab time going completely dry. And I'm not talking about giving up tea here, if you get my drift... The year was fantastic, I still partied with friends and at the end of the year I revelled in my great achievement. (Interestingly, I never got lumped with being designated driver - the unjust advantage of being car-less on an automatic licence when all your friends own manuals.)

And although I can treasure one fulfilled New Year's resolution in my small chest of achievements, my philosophy on New Year's resolutions is now pretty simple - keep doing what I already do well, and more of it.

And what's that? Eat. Drink. Pray. Love.

Oh, and one more thing...

Indulge in Life.

Rebecca Domorev

A Special Dog for a Special Girl

Rebecca Domorev - Saturday, October 13, 2012

As we wait for her mum to arrive home, I sit with Summer on the outside deck. To pass the time smoothly I pull out my iPhone to take some happy snaps of Summer and I. Summer is immediately intrigued as she can see both her face and mine in the screen as I take pictures. Funny faces, tongues poking out, hugs and smiles, she shrieks with delight and her laughter is infectious - this is an instant winner and I note this for future fun.


Summer is 5 years old, and as her name suggests, is a very sparkly, warm and energetic little girl. Something that is not immediately obvious is that Summer has been born with a neurodevelopmental disorder called Lissencephaly and Microcephaly. To put it simply, Summer's brain is much smaller and smoother resulting in severe developmental delay, which means she has underdeveloped speech, motor skills, behavioural challenges, amongst other issues.

One of the first things you notice about Summer is that she is incredibly affectionate. When she was a toddler, while other children would give a two-second hug and run, Summer would sit in your arms for what seemed like forever - she seemed to sense that exact moment when you really needed a good hug. 

The second thing you notice is that Summer loves and embraces EVERYONE. Spending time in the park, I have often observed how Summer would never hesitate to run off in one direction and then join the neighbouring picnic, laugh and play with whoever was there and help herself to whatever food was on offer. Funny the first time, slightly awkward the fourth, fifith, sixth time... and so on.


The down side to her disorder is that Summer has no sense of what is safe, who is a friend or who is a stranger. And while it is sweet that she hugs and embraces everyone, unfortunately we live in a world where not everyone is safe or can be trusted with the affection of a child. In public places, unless she is held tightly by an adult, or if she is let go for a second, Summer often sprints without stopping, not aware of busy roads or other dangers. 

The other challenge of her disorder is that Summer is not able to rationalise or control strong emotions or cope when routines change. In a stressful situation, she frequently experiences a "meltdown" and can become highly agitated and uncontrollable, resulting in sometimes unintentionally hurting others around her. 

For Summer to be in a safe environment where others are safe too, Summer requires constant supervision and attention, which can be a challenge in any family, but particularly in a family with four brothers and sisters, one of whom has the same (slightly less serious) condition.

A Special Dog

Recently her family was introduced to the possibility of having an "assistance dog". Similar to a blind guide dog, these dogs are specially trained to help families and children with special needs. An assistance dog is trained to develop a special bond with the child while receiving commands from the parent. When out and about, an assistance dog is connected to their special child via a leash and keeps the child in close proximity to their carers and away from strangers or other forms of danger. A special difference with an assistance dog is that he / she is trained to sense a potential meltdown and calm the child. This may be in the form of a "doggy hug", lying down with the child, or simply staying close. 

There are no words that can describe what having an assistance dog would mean to Summer, her family and a safe, happy future. Unfortunately, as her parents are first and foremost committed to their children and their community rather than pursuing a high-paying career, they are unable to raise the $25,000 required to pay for this special dog.

How We Can Help

Recently, the local school which she attends one day a week (she attends a special school four days a week) decided to support Summer by raising funds selling green bandaids by Green Aid. The box of sterile strips sells for $3 (20 pieces). $1 goes towards the cost of the product, $1 towards better water, medical support, education and nutrition for children and their families internationally and $1 will go towards buying an assistance dog for Summer.

We've decided to help out too. After some considerable thought, we decided that with every online order until Friday 2nd November, we'll include a box of these bandaids for free. We'll donate the $3 and you'll receive your tea goodies plus a box of 20 bandaids. To make it even easier for you to support Summer, we're giving free postage on all orders. This will automatically be applied at checkout.

So fill up your cupboards with beautiful Fairtrade organic tea, get your Christmas presents purchased early and help this beautiful girl.

Why? Because every child should have a safe, happy future and this special child is extra special to me - she's my beautiful niece, my wonderful sister's daughter.

Indulge in life.

Rebecca Domorev

(The below information was added 17/10/2012 in response to requests) 

Making Donations (tax deductible)

We've had a number of enquiries from people wanting to donate to help Summer's family pay for the assistance dog. Here is some information on how you can donate now:


Donations can be made directly to Dogs for Kids with Disabilities to help raise the $25,000 needed to pay for Summer's assistance dog.

DONATE NOW to Dogs For Kids with Disabilities Limited

In your donation, please include the reference SUMMER


You can also donate via Paypal by sending payments to:


If you wish to contribute via bank transfer please send funds to:
Account name: Dogs for Kids with Disabilities Ltd.
BSB: 033 132
Account #: 263882
Bank: Westpac North Melbourne


You can also donate via cheque, or money order. Cheques can be mailed to:
Dogs for Kids with Disabilities Ltd
PO Box 575
North Melbourne VIC 3051


*In your donation, please include the reference SUMMER. To enable DKD to track your donation and forward a receipt DKD requires your full name, address, and email address. 


AFL Grand Final + Jade Mist = WIN

Rebecca Domorev - Saturday, September 29, 2012

I have to admit, I'm not really into footy. At the 2:30pm siren this arvo I was having a glass of champagne with the girls in the (strangely relaxed and tidy) aftermath of kid's birthday party. The poor parents had been up since 4am with a very excited 2-year-old but were still divine company in the midst of this mean feat.

At around 3:30pm we bailed with my darling Russian (now officially Aussie) husband waning in the national glory of the day and it was couch time for me. The thought arose that I should probably turn on the TV and do my Aussie duty by watching the game, but the three ominous TV remote controls looked at me threateningly with all those buttons and the idea was thrown into the too-hard-basket.

The clock struck very loudly at 5pm (I assume I slept through 4pm and 4:30pm) and in need of some mindless entertainment, I opened up my Facebook app. Immediately I was stuck by my apparent attendance of the Grand Final. My dreamy state made me check reality for a moment, but I quickly realised I hadn't been teleported to the MCG. I had simply once again become synonymous for a cup of (albeit truly awesome Fairtrade organic loose leaf) tea.

Fairtrade Organic Jade Mist Green Tea at Grand Final, MCG

The fact that I had been mistaken for my favourite Jade Mist Green Tea made the error easily forgiveable. The even greater fact that my tea-loving friend brought her Jade Mist with her, assuming the available selection simply wouldn't cut it, made my day.

On refreshing my Facebook newsfeed, a particularly loaded pic made me realise I would have to take on the remote controls and watch what promised to be a photo finish.


AFL Grand Final 2012 - Hawthorn vs Sydney Swans

It took me less than 5 minutes to work it out, but I managed to turn the bits and pieces on, locate the TV function AND find the right channel. 

Feeling quite proud of myself, I even managed to conjure up some Aussie footy pride and when the siren blasted I too got all teary. I didn't have the urge to tackle anyone to the ground in the Aussie sporting embrace and when my hubby entered the room, I simply pretended my moist eyes were a little bit itchy.

"Who won?" he asked, "Sydney" - the short answer. He was chuffed, after predicting a Sydney win by one goal. 

Me? Well I was chuffed too - the joy of watching someone win the Grand Final plus my favourite Jade Mist being served at the MCG? Win.

Indulge in Life.

Rebecca Domorev

Fairtrade or Fair Trade?

Rebecca Domorev - Thursday, September 06, 2012

Often people ask, what's the difference between Fairtrade and Fair Trade? Both imply that producers and growers employees receive a decent wage, price and working conditions, but is one better than the other? Does a space between the two words "fair" and "trade" make any difference at all? Well it's far simpler and much more important than some may think... 

"Fairtrade" means that there is an independent body that sets up standards that must be adhered to in order to be classified "Fairtrade". Regular audits are run to verify that these standards are being met. Part of the process includes a thorough testing of the supply chain to confirm the product is from the origin it claims to be (see The term "Fairtrade" can only be used legally on a product if these standards are met and certification is given by Fairtrade.

"Fair Trade", on the other hand is a term used by companies to imply that producers and growers get a fair deal, however no independent body verifies these claims. The company that uses this phrase may believe the purchased goods that have been fairly traded (and this may be the case), however whether this is true, whether there are any breaks in the supply chain cannot always be verified.

What's best? We prefer independent verification - we've spent a bit extra and done the extra work, so that you can be confident that Tielka tea gives a fair deal to all involved.

"Where you spend your money is how you vote on what exists in the world."

Indulge in Life.

Rebecca Domorev

I love Jade Mist

Rebecca Domorev - Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Fairtrade organic loose leaf Jade Mist Green TeaIf you know me well, you'll know I have a slight obsession with a certain Fairtrade organic loose leaf green tea that we stock. And if you've been spending time with me in the last week, you'll know by my somewhat emotional blubbering and excited outbursts that this particular Fairtrade organic green tea is going to be arriving any moment (I glance over at the door as I write, even though it's 10:07pm and there's no earthly chance of a delivery right now).

Yes, it's the tea love of my life, absent for the last month or so (run out completely due to high demand / high consumption in Tielka office) - the lovely Jade Mist Green Tea.

Why do I love it so? I imagine that silky smooth, young, simple and sweet mouth sensation. Then I relive examining the leaves as they brew and watching as the dark forest green leaves evolves into a bright jade green and that feeling of satisfaction that yes, it's still fresh and lovely. And I can't go past that how could it be that so much mouth-joy can be coupled with something healthy and wholesome...? Oh dear, now that sentence can be read in numerous ways... hmmm...

So now in a flutter of anticipation I drink an imaginary cup of Jade Mist Green Tea to the imminent arrival of it's genuine 2012 harvest counterpart. 

Indulge in Life.

Rebecca Domorev

Hope springs eternal

Rebecca Domorev - Friday, August 24, 2012

I'm sitting with my hubby and kids in a pleasant looking cafe perched on the side of a hill in a notable tourist location. The view is stunning, thick Australian bush leading down to the quiet Melbourne bay. It's just far enough away from the city to suggest a mini holiday but not so far that the drive back feels daunting.

Having already downed one latte earlier that morning, I'm feeling like a cup of tea would go down nicely but not confident this cafe has caught up with the "tea times". The menus shows the usual range - English Breakfast, Earl Grey, Peppermint.... and at $4 a serve it looks optimistic, but I hide in my hesitation and stick with water. Alexei on the other hand, seems to have more faith in the hospitality industry and orders himself an Earl Grey.

Five minutes later, the very pleasant waitress, beaming with all the warmth and positivity you would expect and hope for in this lovely situation places a stainless steel metal teapot on our table. Alexei and I throw a glance at each other. Gingerly, Alexei turns the well used teapot and reveals a string hanging on the side tagged with a supermarket branded paper square. There's an audible disappointed sigh. 


We don't complain to the waitress, it's not her fault, and after all we ordered without clarifying first, but I can't help the grump grump grump that's going on inside and oh the sad injustice, why do coffee lovers have their dreams fulfilled on almost every street corner without having to clarify, but us tea drinkers suffer in the "instant coffee" dark ages period of the teabag brewing cafe world. Even some old leaf tea would have muted the initial disappointment. 

My hopes of knowledgeably brewed, fresh and expertly crafted organic loose leaf tea served in dainty fine bone china seem a lifetime away but I am strangely inspired in my battle to continue to my attempt to conquer this virtually untouched wholesale-tea-arena.

In spite of this bagged disappointment, we have a simply pleasant time admiring the view and chatting about this and that. We finish, pay for our tea and goodies and as duty calls, I pull the waitress over to one side, begging her to reconsider the tea they serve. She promises to pass this on to her manager and although I have an urge to get on my Tielka high-horse for a quick fix, I hold back the Tielka wholesale tea sales pitch, recognising one vital thing: the seemingly lovely but large, touristy steak-and-chips-serving auditorium filled with black painted metal chairs shouted there was no room on this stage for a tea-show-stopper, so I retreat and accept my quest would have to continue elsewhere.

Indulge in Life.

Rebecca Domorev

My big bro doesn't get tea

Rebecca Domorev - Monday, August 20, 2012

You'd think after 4 years being completely immersed in the tea world I would have converted the whole family to our awesome Fairtrade organic loose leaf tea. But no, it's yet to impact the taste buds of a particular older brother. 

My sister-in-law (his gorgeous wife) was converted the second she sensed that fresh aroma ("I'm sick of stale old Fairtrade teabags imported from England or the US!"), my mother drinks at least two pots daily (Jade Mist in the morning, English Breakfast / Earl Royale in the afternoon), my coffee-drinking brother-in-law drinks it by the gallon if someone makes it for him, and my sister, who usually can't stand the sight or smell of tea or coffee from a mile away always makes sure she knows it's Tielka before accepting any tea (she loves it too). Oh, and dad will drink it too when mum brews a pot.

I put it down to this... I read some time ago that a percentage of the population can't detect certain tea flavours, and although I can't find that damn info again on google, I'm sure it exists and I'll take it as truth until I can ascertain otherwise or his taste buds develop to appreciate the mouth-drooling tea flavours I melt in almost every day of my life.

So if you ever come across the occasionally cheeky comments scattered on our Facebook page by a certain M.Prince, be rest assured it's someone who, while proud of his little sister's achievements in the Fairtrade tea business world, is yet to REALLY get what it's all about. And Matt, if you're reading this, I love you in spite of your tea appreciation deficiencies. (You know it's only a matter of time before we turn you around.)

Indulge in Life.

Rebecca Domorev

Harvest to harvest

Rebecca Domorev - Sunday, August 12, 2012

One of the things I love about Tielka is that we get to experience the change in flavour and appearance of each organic tea from harvest to harvest.

As I have observed, in contrast, large tea companies employ people with the intent purpose of tasting the new harvest teas from various tea regions to work out which blend will product the exact same flavour from the previous year and the year before that, so in essence, the flavour never changes. Great for someone who likes the same hum drum every day of their life, but for me it gets a little tiresome.

One of the perks of working with small holder Fairtrade tea farmers in China, is that that our tea comes from a limited area, the tea is organic and so the blending across regions doesn't happen. The result - the same organic tea produced in a different harvest can often produce a range of changing flavours.

The most fascinating change has been our most recent harvest of our Fairtrade organic Moonlight White Tea. In the past, this striking organic tea has had a distinct sweet, honey feel with the brew improving and peaking at the 3rd brew. Our 2012 Fairtrade organic Moonlight White Tea reveals itself much sooner and the fresh nutty notes I would have sooner associated with an organic Silver Needle White Tea appear in this silky white tea, with flavours peaking in the 2nd brew.

And if you brew it too long... you're still in for a treat, I haven't had an astringent brew yet.

Indulge in Life!

Rebecca Domorev

The end of one brings life to another

Rebecca Domorev - Wednesday, August 08, 2012

We just ran out of our 2011 Fairtrade organic Jade Mist Green Tea and the 2012 harvest hasn't arrived yet. I'm devastated and searching for a pillow to cry into. And although it won't be long before I'm reunited with the tea love of my life, there's an ever-present gaping hole that can only be filled by that sweet, light, silky feel that is Tielka's Fairtrade organic Jade Mist Green Tea.

BUT... 'tis a sad world without tea, so the tea void had to be filled by another, or two. It started with the Fairtrade organic Rose Moscato Green Tea and while my fixation was almost completely transferred to this newcomer, my darling husband brewed a pot of our Fairtrade organic English Breakfast and had me shocked once again why I'm not drinking the stuff from the moment I wake.

So let's drink to the "end", because when something good finishes, it doesn't take long for something (maybe) even better to take it's place.

Time for another trip to the Fairtrade organic tea cupboard to see what awaits!

Indulge in Life!

Rebecca Domorev

What's in a name? The origins of "Tielka".

Rebecca Domorev - Monday, July 23, 2012

"Tea in a Cup." That's the name we originally gave our Fairtrade organic tea business. And thank goodness our creative thinking didn't stop there, or we may have joined the mass of generically named businesses that disappear into the "Google and beyond" abyss the moment they appear. 

When people come across Tielka, the first question they often ask is "what does Tielka mean?". And while I'm constantly bombarded by the advice of world class marketers (via technologically advanced, marketing savvy husband) that say I should really have a beautiful and mystical story behind the meaning of the word "Tielka", the fact of the matter is... it's a made-up word.  At least, that's what we thought when we chose it.

Realising that "Tea in a Cup" just wasn't going to cut it, after all we were one day going to become a world class success and I couldn't think of one world class business that used the name of the product in their brand (Ikea, Mercedes, Apple... - yep, we'd be in there sooner or later!), Alexei and I started to write a bunch of random words that had no inherent meaning, but still felt like it could be connected somehow to tea. It had to be a word that we could give our own meaning to it - that when people heard the name, they would automatically think of awesome, superb boutique style Fairtrade organic loose leaf tea, it had to sound intriguing - and it had to be available (domain name, 1300 number, FB / Twitter names etc).

Lo and behold, amongst those random, made-up words was the word "Tielka". It ticked all the right boxes, it sounded kind of cute and so we chose it. And I'll admit it, Alexei thought it up.

In the months that followed, we were quite amused to find out some of the other meanings of Tielka...

In Slovakian, Tielka means "singlet" (ever wondered why there are scattered images gorgeous models in fitted tops amongst all the gorgeous tea when you do a Google image search for "Tielka"?).

In Ukranian, Tielka means "cow" (hmmmm, not sure I'm excited about this one).

In Russian, it sounds similar to the slang word for a young girl (now with Alexei's Russian heritage, we could claim that one for something!).

And in Africa, there's a little town in the country Burkina Faso called "Tielka" - so remote that Google maps can barely get a long distance shot in focus (I'm sure we could have made up some romantic story about visiting this place and falling in love with the area, the people... but no, I'm a sucker for ethical so that option was out).

But now, if you Google the word "Tielka", you'll be bombarded by... awesome, superb boutique style Fairtrade organic loose leaf tea (and stylish teaware of course). And while there's probably still a few years before we're in every fair trade, organic loving, discerning tea connoisseur's kitchen, at least Google knows the real meaning of Tielka.

Time for a quick cup of caffeine-free Earl Rouge Rooibos and it's off to bed for me.

Indulge in Life!

Rebecca Domorev


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