Indulge in Life

Musings from the co-founder of Tielka.

Sea Changing Traffic

Rebecca Domorev - Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Mornign Traffic in Agnes Water

10 hours a week. 40 weeks a year. Dedicated to the blessed carpark that was Melbourne traffic. And that was just on school pick ups and drop offs alone. Then there were the daily trips to the post office (5 hours a week), shops, work, friends places, other errands (at least 30 minutes a piece) and the time spent navigating through each space. I struggle to comprehend the amount of life that were whisked away by the "convenience" of living in a big city.

It didn't really dawn on me until a month or two after we'd moved Tielka and the family from Melbourne to Agnes Water, QLD. For those that don't know, Agnes Water is a tiny beach paradise located 5.5 hours north of Brisbane and 1 hour 20 minutes from the bustling beverage locale of Bundaberg. We moved there three years ago.

It dawned on me one morning when I had to make a trip to the local Centrelink office before work. I dropped my son off at school and headed straight there. I was mentally prepared and I knew I had the whole morning available to deal with Centrelink. What a surprise it was. First there was the three minute drive to the local school to drop off my son, followed by a two minute drive to Centrelink (probably only 45 seconds, but there's time spent getting in and out of the car and finding a park). I walked into Centrelink (the office here also provides all the local government services to our small town), went straight to the counter and a friendly face greeted me. She took my wad of documents and asked me to collect them the following day. Two minutes from arriving I was already out the door and three minutes later I was home. 10 minutes total. TEN MINUTES!!! Consider the gravity of these two words. That's a school drop off AND a trip to Centrelink. I was in shock for the rest of the day.

I'd like to take you back a few years earlier for a similar but slightly different experience I had in Melbourne. One morning, I had to make a trip to the local Centrelink office. I dropped my son off at kinder and headed straight there. Luckily there was a car park near the front of the office. I only had to drop off some documents so the 2 hour parking limit would be more than enough. I walked in the door but didn't get far. The queue ended almost where I entered. A friendly face greeted me and asked what I needed. I explained I needed to drop off some documents and she wrote down a few notes and said it wouldn't be too long. I waited. And waited. And waited. Around forty five minutes later I made a query and was assured it wouldn't be too long. Some time after that a lady called out my name and escorted me to her desk. Finally. She could take my documents and I could go on my happy way. But I waited while I was poked and prodded with question after question, trying my best to answer as correctly as possible but feeling like holes were being poked in the honesty of my application. After what felt like a slightly shorter version of eternity, it was over. Frazzled and completely spent, I walked to my car only to find a parking fine stuck to my window. I think I lost it at this point. 4 hours total. FOUR HOURS!!! Consider the gravity of these two words. That's a school drop off and a trip to Centrelink AND a parking fine.

Don't get me wrong, I love Melbourne. I love my friends and family that are still there. I love the cafes, the hustle and bustle of the city, the crazy weather. I love to VISIT.

But there's nothing like home, living and keeping Tielka thriving in Agnes Water. I love my friends and family that are here. I love the five minute round trip to school and back, the 25 minute walk from home along the beach, around the shops and back home again. The 20 minute trip to buy milk at Foodworks because I bump into this friend or that. The six minute drive to 1770 for lagoon swimming paradise in case the palms around our balcony are not enough to remind me the beauty of where we live. And the 20 second walk to the Tielka warehouse. Because in small towns, there's no shortage of space to set up business, live life and enjoy the traffic.



Rebecca Domorev - Thursday, August 11, 2016


I've been writing a few things on what make me happy at the moment. Well here are a few more:

My Keep Calm and Carry On Magnetic Calendar - The Whole Month of August, 2016

Keep calm and carry on calendar

I have this vintage style letterbox-red metal all-purpose any-year calendar that hangs on the wall just above my kettle and Hario Tea Dripper in the kitchen. It's a nifty little device. Every day you move two dark magnetic strips along one spot to coincide with the correct weekday and date of the month. Once a month, you get to move all three, but this is another story of great excitement meant for another day.

As the days of the week start (on this calendar) on a Monday and the date starts with the number one, the day and date almost NEVER line up neatly. And oh the frustration when a month starts on a Tuesday! For the whole month, the date magnet lags just one step behind, almost there and sadly never quite catching up.

But not August 2016! That's right - every day this month, the two little magnetic strips under the day and date line up perfectly. Monday was the 1st, Tuesday was the 2nd, Wednesday the 3rd, Thursday the 4th - you get the idea. On that first Monday, when I realised with great excitement the impending daily unbridled joy of uninterrupted perfectly lined up days and dates for the next 31 days, I called out to my somewhat perfectionist, occasionally OCD son to deliver the news. We high-fived, relishing the thought for a few moments and went on our happy way.

Early Morning Walks with Alison

Sunrise at Agnes Water main beach

I never thought I'd say this, but I like getting up early. Now before your head goes into a spin and you write me off as someone completely untrustworthy to write on the topic of anything-at-all, I'm not talking about that ghastly chasm of eternity that exists somewhere between hearing that first beep of the alarm, realising with great horror that you will have to part ways with the comfort of your cosy pillow and arriving in a foggy haze to the bathroom door. It's what comes after.

I've started morning walks with Alison and I LOVE IT. Three mornings a week, we're up at the crack of dawn, rushing to the beach to make it before the sun pops up, catching a few happy snaps to later post on Facebook (sometimes mulling over the curious thought that we are doing something quite frankly the majority of the population only imagines possible) and enjoying a leisurely stroll home.

But there's much more to it. The buzz lasts a couple of days and I still haven't figured it out. You see, I've tried morning exercise before, in fact I've tried exercise in general, but it has this way of leaving me in a state of painful depletion, of head-throbbing exhaustion while I pathetically try and convince myself that someday I will reap the benefits of hours of relentless pain. Not this time. I arrive home with a bounce in my step and I am ready to take on the world.

New Harvest Cupping

Tea cupping Tielka Fairtrade organic loose leaf Jade Mist green tea

Yesterday a little package of new harvest Fairtrade organic tea samples arrived in the mail. It's hard to believe it's that time of the year again. Now I hesitate to tell you how I am relishing in the blissful new harvest when you have to wait at least another month for it to arrive by sea, but nevertheless, here I am relishing in my cup. Actually I'm sitting on our back deck under a large black umbrella surrounded by hundreds of golden cane palm fronds, blue skies and sunshine, relishing in my cup, but I really don't want to receive hate mail, so let's stick to the brief. The new harvest Fairtrade organic tea samples are fabulous as always. I am not disappointed, but you'll have to wait to hear more on that.

Indulge in Life!

Rebecca Domorev

Joy II

Rebecca Domorev - Friday, August 05, 2016


I woke yesterday morning with an unusual dose of bounce, life and gusto. With great theatrics, I skipped into the kitchen flipped on the kettle, threw a bunch of Jade Mist Green Tea leaves into my brewing vessel, splashed water from a great height and waited my ritual three minutes for a morning dose of joy. With tea, music, headphones and a basket full of sunshine in hand, I ventured out to my little possy on the back deck and considered with great enthusiasm my next blog entry. Only now, realising what was a knowing, mischievous inner voice, a striking thought was thrown into my mind “now what on earth could spoil a day like today!”. Yes. Indeed.
And then the email arrived. And oh how it arrived. A ridonculously time-sensitive super-duper valuable document I had sent a couple of days earlier that had been marked as delivered with a smile, was nowhere to be found. I think my insides resembled a washing machine at that moment.
Ha. So much for my blog entry. So much for any form of productiveness whatsoever. My blog entry was shelved to the following day (that’s today!), my to-do list was seriously revised to remove any creativity-demanding / being-nice-to-people-skills related tasks and replaced with cutting up tea menus and packaging tea. Strangely, I don’t mind packaging tea on occasion. It’s brainless, monotonous and therapeutic.
I know myself well in these circumstances, the usual “the world is coming to an end!” takes over and it’s a downward spiral from there. But this time I decided to take a step back and actually let a little objectivity play a role; after all, I had done everything in my power to solve the problem, I was now playing the waiting game. I thought I might even do something crazy like let wisdom influence the moment. It’s an opportunity in disguise! Or a setback, a chance to stop, to consider my response and take a different path! And what if this moment was specifically orchestrated to prepare me to have the capacity to deal with bigger and more complicated difficulties? A new calm decisiveness started to direct my thoughts and I even managed to enjoy chats with a few clients.
I’m not saying these thoughts stopped my stomach from churning entirely, and certainly the relief when I received the email that the document had been found was indeed, great. But there was a little sense of inner pride when I realised I hadn’t responded too badly, that just because difficulties in the past had sometimes seen me spiral into anxious oblivion, it didn’t mean this would always be the way and perhaps I may even have the capacity to deal with greater things.
And there’s one thing I know for sure, that the road to greater things is always mottled with crisis - and joy if you’re ready.




Rebecca Domorev - Thursday, July 28, 2016

There are a few things I really like at the moment. Actually, I quite like them pretty much all the time. Here they are:

Not having to make dinner

Last night we went to my parent’s place for dinner. As in true grey nomad style, they’re staying up here in Agnes Water for the winter and recently they relocated from their tiny caravan to a spacious residence at the back of the local Baptist church. Mum was pleased to have some space for guests and I was stoked to be invited for dinner. Not just because I quite enjoy their company, even while sitting through a game of Rummy Gummy (I won last night, by the way), but because I didn’t have to make dinner. That’s right. It didn’t just make my evening that much more fabulous. My whole day yesterday was filled with little pockets of joy each time I remembered with great delight that I didn’t have to think about making dinner. It’s like that little space which opened up every couple of hours that usually requires dinner-thinking-then-making-energy got replaced with a big fat ray of sunshine. There’s not much that will beat that.


Meet Bertie

I discovered Bertie a couple of months ago. One day when sitting in my back balcony over my usual morning cuppa and quiet time, I noticed a khaki-coloured cricket sitting on a palm frond near the back railing of our balcony. And then the next day he was there, and the day after and the day after that. In fact, for two weeks, I noticed he was there every single day without moving an inch. After two weeks had past, I put some energy into considering this little fella on my back palm frond and concluded he must be dead and his little spiky legs had fused themselves onto the frond. Not so. One day I actually got up and walked over to Bertie (as I later named him) and as I approached, he moved very slightly. He’s alive! I realised with a pinch of excitement. And ever since then, when I sit down with my cuppa, I glance over to Bertie’s frond and for some reason, seeing him still there warms my heart. It’s nice to drink a cuppa with a friend, especially a friend who’s quite happy to sit quietly without requiring anything of me while I drink tea in my little secret place.


It goes without saying, really. This morning after my fabulous evening of good company, not having to make dinner and winning a game of cards, I brewed another round of Persian Mint Chai and went out to check on Bertie. My new addition chai blend has turned out to be quite the dark horse. Only yesterday I discovered (after creating it last year and releasing it in May) that I like the second brew even better than the first. The brew becomes quite crisp and clean the second time around. The mint and cardamom still keep giving, which is a great quality to have – not unlike good ol’ Bertie and that feeling of not having to make dinner.

Tea Lists :: From The Beginnings of Tielka

Rebecca Domorev - Monday, July 25, 2016

Tielka Fairtrade Organic Tea ListTielka Fairtrade Organic Tea List

I remember very well the first time I fell in love with tea. So well, in fact, that I can still picture with remarkable accuracy the vivid burgundy walls of the little café in Kielce, Poland where my love affair with tea first began. Wesoła Kafka was the name of the little café, a name based on Polish word-play translating to both “happy little coffee” and “happy jackdaw”. For those drawing a blank, a jackdaw is a little black bird from the crow family and while that doesn’t sound particularly appealing in English, I am assured in Polish it’s quite an endearing name.

I digress. You see, it wasn’t just the quaint burgundy walls and tiny little nooks where one could hide with a cuppa and a book of Wesoła Kafka that captured me, it was an exhaustive tea list included in the pages of their menu. The descriptions told stories simply with a brief origin label and list of ingredients. Thinking back, had that tea list not been so thoughtfully presented, I could have been won over by the common latte or flat white, but I wasn’t. In that moment tea captured my attention and it still hasn’t let go.

Tielka Fairtrade Organic Tea ListTielka Fairtrade Organic Tea List

As a result, since Tielka began gracing cafes and retailers across Australia, providing tea menus (or tea lists as we now call them) to cafes and retailers has been such a central part of Tielka tea culture. It was never just about the tea itself, even though this alone is incredible. The taste lasts a few moments, but the story, the origins, the harvest, ingredients all enrich that moment and continue to live on, which is why this is so important to me. And with our new branding refresh and introduction of new tea varieties, I am so pleased to be able to start sending out new customised tea lists to stores and cafes where Tielka is being brewed.

Indulge in Life.

Rebecca Domorev

Tielka Fairtrade Organic Tea List

Secret Place

Rebecca Domorev - Friday, August 28, 2015
Every morning after school drop off is my favourite time. I arrive home, make myself a cup of tea, go to our back balcony, sit under our umbrella, turn on my Spotify playlist and indulge in this life. I call it my secret place. It's my place of safety, where I can hide, where I have permission to allow my heart to feel and wait on that quiet voice that calms every storm.

After a rather tumultuous day yesterday, of a great high and low, this morning I sat again under the umbrella. The first half hour my mind was a flurry of activity, of frustration, of hurt. It clouded some of the best news I had received in quite some time. My plans to put things right, to fight back consumed my mind and I was ready to get into action. Then a little voice inside prompted me not to start work yet but make a cup of tea, sit and gently let things go.

I've been sitting here for almost two hours this morning, a little longer than normal, but that's ok. I'm now at peace and know that everything will work together for good. Those two hours are probably the most valuable time I will spend this day.

Indulge in Life.

Rebecca Domorev

#1 Top Café Serves Tielka Tea

Rebecca Domorev - Thursday, August 14, 2014

In 2013, voted #1 Brisbane’s Ltd Espresso + Brew Bar The World’s Top Cafe.    

Not alone in the top 100 list, #1 cafe Ltd Espresso + Bew Bar brews Tielka tea. 

Perhaps it’s because Tielka tea is becoming known as the best tea around. Perhaps it’s because specialty tea, as well as certified Fairtrade and Organic, are qualities customers want in cafes. Or perhaps, it’s because café owners are finally getting smart with their tea, they understand their tea-drinking customers desires – what tea-drinking customers desperately want the same love & care coffee customers receive every day.

To those cafes that already serve Tielka, congratulations! You’re part of a growing network of recognised cafes that is delivering what tea-drinking customers really want. And us tea-drinking customers love you!

If you have a cafe and you’re not yet serving Tielka at your cafe, take the plunge! Contact us now to find out how you can serve Tielka too.

Indulge in Life!

Rebecca Domorev

The Explosion, The Aftermath and a New Beginning

Rebecca Domorev - Monday, June 23, 2014

Created in 2008, Tielka was the first Australian business to supply a collection of Fairtrade organic loose leaf teas to those passionate about beauty and justice across Australia. Now with over 160 cafes and retailers around Australia stocking and serving Tielka, the founder, Rebecca Domorev gives a small insight into the journey of pain and passion it has taken to bring her small business from near burnout back to life.

I’m sitting in front of my computer, Monday 12th May 2014. Outside is a balmy 25 degrees, the sun is shining; a soft sea breeze blows gently from the Coral Sea through an open door. Behind me, encompassed by four sturdy walls and a newly installed ceiling is finally brought together the pain and joy of the last 6 years – our warehouse, our business.

It’s been a tough journey. The climax started in chilly Melbourne around 12 months ago and peaked three months later in August with several weeks of gruelling, exhausting and exuberant growth. As a sit typing, I am for the hundredth time eternally grateful for being plucked out of that August and transported to the place of rest where I am today.

It’s not an uncommon story for small business – at the beginning of 2013 we started investing heavily into sales and marketing and as a spark to a gas leak, boom! Things started to happen. More and more cafes and retailers became aware of and started stocking and serving Tielka tea. As it was, there had never been an issue convincing a café or shop to sell Tielka once they had tried the tea. The difficulty was in spreading the word.

Growth was wonderful. Finally, after 5 years of pouring hours and hours of long days, late nights, and an abundance of tears, hope and faith invested into this creation, it was beginning to look like it would be worth it. And then the big carrot came. A chain of shops decided to sell Tielka products and placed an order the volume and magnitude I could not have anticipated. For a week I was bouncing off the walls, exploding with joy in this flurry of requisition. Everything I had worked for peaked at this moment.

Then came fulfilment time. I’m not sure if you’ve ever experienced exhaustion like this. What seemed like eternity, but expanded over just a few short weeks, I poured every ounce of energy, time, thought, sleepless night into making this growth a success. Fulfilment was not simple – the prohibitive cost of hiring a larger space in Melbourne with all the necessary fit-outs meant tasks were done in four different locations. The upfront cost of fulfilling this order almost brought things to a halt when a timely family investor offered to help. Life at home was hectic. Dinner became ready-made supermarket meals and when the fridge was empty, I barely had enough energy to drive to our local noodle bar to feed the family.

It was around this time that a small, holiday coastal town called Agnes Water, 550km north of Brisbane came onto our radar. Some friends of ours were planning to move there in 2015 to start a new secondary school. The town of 2000 people had a local primary school, but secondary students were bussed out for a daily 1-2 hour trip to the closest secondary schools. Town growth had always been a major issue – families would leave in droves as soon as their children reached secondary school age.

My husband was struck by this hidden town potential and I too, was intrigued. Tielka was initially birthed from a desire to build a retreat for those affected by burnout. A holiday destination was essential, preferably with temperate weather conditions, an atmosphere of rest and a palatable pricetag. Melbourne surrounds were out. Agnes Water could be the next step in fulfilling the dream of Tielka. We booked flights to check this town out. We would fly there in just three weeks.

As fate would have it, the day after I sealed the final box to be sent to the last of these new Tielka stockists, we flew to Brisbane. I was completely and utterly spent. As I sat in the hire car along the road from Brisbane to Agnes Water, all my energy was focused on relaxing each muscle that seemed permanently tensed. I cast my thoughts over the next four days of rest and anxiety rose. How could I even begin to rejuvenate in such a short time? How would I continue this journey after we get home?

The closer we came to Agnes Water, the more the tension began to settle. As some healing remedy, the approaching atmosphere rested gently above my shoulders and I began to feel some hope that life could be better than what we had left behind.

The little town of Agnes Water captured us within the space of four days. Picture-perfect beaches, glorious sunny days, cool nights and an atmosphere that gently melted away the rush, urgency and stress of life in Melbourne. The recharge was enough to keep me going. A couple of months later, we had sold our house and purchased a new home – a Queenslander – in Agnes Water. In December, we moved our possessions, our businesses and our lives to this new way of living. Tielka would finally have its own space, room to grow and a step taken towards fulfilling the desire it was birthed from.

January we set up. February, March and April were three months of prescribed rest. Tielka chugged along, orders were fulfilled but this was the limit of my tasks.

Now I look back on the last year, once again with deep gratitude. Rested and renewed, I have a rare opportunity to continue building this beautiful business and the promise of a future. I am so thankful for the incredible growth of last August, for the friends that put Agnes Water on the map, for the tenacity of my husband to see this through, for the support of friends and family and for the last three months of rest. Small businesses rarely have this opportunity. Burn out is stock-standard handed out far and wide and too often one step further along the road is more than one can bear.

We’ve been a little quiet on our website, on email, Facebook, Twitter and in print these last 12 months and these are the reasons why. And if you’re reading this now and are going through a similar experience, you’re not alone. Business is an insatiable giant that brings reward only to the rested and the persistent.

See it through. 

Indulge in Life.

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