Indulge in Life

Musings from the co-founder of Tielka.


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

Lightly Boozy Mulled Christmas Tea

Rebecca Domorev - Wednesday, November 25, 2015

I created this recipe quite by chance just last week. After watching an educational clip on wine tasting with my husband, I had a sudden urge to splurge on a few bottles of wine to teach my taste buds a thing or two about wine and an unscheduled trip to Bundaberg facilitated what I shall call an educational stop-off at the local liquor store.

For those of you who don’t know, we live in the picturesque, but somewhat remote locale of Agnes Water, QLD and while the two local bottle shops aren’t too shabby, it’s not quite the same as what the big smoke has to offer, which is located a meagre 90 minute drive away.

After choosing a selection of curious looking bottles of vino for my basket, I couldn’t help pass the section on fortified wines to add a bottle of port. And what was my logic to add port, I hear you ask? It was only $7.50 and dropped the average bottle price in my basket enough to make me feel good about my entire purchase.

That evening, on brewing some of Tielka’s limited edition Mulled Christmas Black Tea with honey, I looked wistfully at my recent wine purchase, keen to try something new, and with my tea already in front of me, I felt justified to open the port and throw in half a shot. Of course it wasn’t enough, so another half shot followed.

It was nothing short of tea-wine bliss, I tell you. I was thrown back to my travels in Poland where we often enjoyed a glass of Grzaniec (that’s Polish for hot mulled wine) during the heart of winter, but sadly could never quite reproduce the same taste back home. Alexei insisted that I write down the recipe to share with the whole tea world, so here it is. 

For your enjoyment. Indulge in Life!

Lightly Boozy Mulled Christmas Tea

Makes 2 servings (250ml)


8 grams (4 level teaspoons) Mulled Christmas Black Tea
2 shots port
2 small teaspoons honey
400ml boiling water


1. Brew Mulled Christmas Black Tea in boiling water for 3 minutes
2. Pour tea into two fancy cups
3. Add port and honey to each cup
4. Stir well
5. Enjoy!

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

Warm Winter Chai

Rebecca Domorev - Tuesday, July 21, 2015

It's feeling rather frosty here in sunny Queensland. This morning I woke up with what felt like snow biting my nose, not at all impressed my wake up call was what seemed like the next world war breaking out in the kid's bedroom. Someone stole someone's Lego and it all went downhill from there.

My trusty weather app provides no comfort or hope for warmth, proclaiming it is currently 8 degrees outside. Now for those if you in more southerly states, you may be smirking at my Queensland softness right now, so believe me it felt like -5 degrees outside. 

My morning tells me it's time to head down to the Tielka warehouse and get some business action happening but the distinct lack of heating screams "Stay away!!! For the love of your freezing toes, brew some tea, take some pretty pics, post them pics on Instagram and sit on the couch!!!". So this is my blessed attempt to make my morning productive while enjoying the heating of our blissfully warm Queenslander.

South Cloud ChaiSouth Cloud ChaiSouth Cloud ChaiSouth Cloud Chai

The productiveness of this morning's cold-avoidance comes in the form of my old time favourite chai recipe and I thus name it "Warm Winter Chai"! It's simple, delicious and naturally only tastes this good when you brew it with Tielka's South Cloud Chai. Here it is:

Warm Winter Chai 

(makes 300ml)


1 tbspn (6gm approx) South Cloud Chai
1 tspn honey
1 tiny pinch (1.5gm approx) freshly grated ginger
160ml boiling water
150ml frothed milk

1. Scoop South Cloud Chai into brewing vessel (teapot / jug with lid)
2. Add fresh ginger
3. Pour boiling water over chai, cover
4. Brew for 3-4 min
5. Heat and froth milk
6. Measure honey into serving jug
7. Strain chai brew into serving jug, mix with honey
8. Pour over frothed milk
9. Serve and enjoy!

Tea and Butter Biscuits

Rebecca Domorev - Friday, March 27, 2015

A couple of days ago I had an unusual urge to dust off my baking equipment and put a little tea in something, unsure of what the result may be. I googled a recipe for biscuits and decided that adding a dash or two of super-strong brewed Earl Royale Black Tea would be a good idea.

I can tell you the mix before I added the flour what no less than heavenly. A mix of butter cream and egg with a divine whisp of Earl Royale. Yum! I could have finished off the whole lot, but was determined to complete the mix. The flour somewhat lessened the tea kick and I thought to add more tea leaves to the brew next time I baked. Nevertheless, the biscuits were lovely and I think I polished off five or six before I walked away from the tray.
Here's the recipe - enjoy! x

Tea and Butter Biscuits

100gm butter 

1/2 tspn vanilla 

1 egg 

2 cups SR flour 

1/2 cup sugar 

4 tspn Earl Royale Black Tea brewed in 100ml boiling water

1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper. 

2. Brew Earl Royale Black Tea in 100ml of boiling water (covered) for at least 5 minutes (the longer the better!).

3. Using an electric mixer, beat butter, sugar and vanilla in a small bowl until pale and creamy. Add egg, Earl Royale Black Tea brew (no leaves!) and mix until well combined.  

4. Sift flour over butter mixture. 

5. Using 1 heaped tablespoon of mixture at a time, roll mixture into balls. Place on baking trays lined with baking paper. Using the heel of your hand, flatten biscuits slightly (allow room for spreading). 

6. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, swapping trays over in oven after 10 minutes, or until light golden. Allow biscuits to cool on trays for 5 minutes. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely. 

7. Serve with Earl Royale Black Tea and enjoy! 

Order Earl Royale Black Tea now. 

Indulge in Life!

Honey, Lemon & Fresh Mint Iced Green Tea

Rebecca Domorev - Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Homemade for me, thanks!

I’ve never been a fan of those sugary, mass produced, mass marketed bottles of iced tea that are buoyantly advertised on commercial TV with colourful dancing and an endlessly supply of energetic pizazz. 

And while I’ll gratefully accept a half-glass at a party or friend’s place, it’s really not something I hope to be served at a cafe or restaurant.

This week, while enduring what seems like the gazillionth consecutive week of Queensland’s blissful, non-stop hot summer weather, waiting impatiently for the cooler weather to really enjoy a hot cup of tea, I decided to bite the bullet and finally brew some proper iced tea, homemade style.

Some of my favourite ingredients were close at hand - Jade Mist Green Tea (of course!), fresh mint from the herb and salad farm just out of town, a zingy lemon and some locally made honey. It’s hardly surprising, really - beautiful ingredients treated with the right care will almost always produce a beautiful final product. Enjoy!

Honey, Lemon & Fresh Mint Iced Green Tea

2 teaspoons Jade Mist Green Tea
2 tablespoons honey
3 slices of lemon
200ml hot water (70 degrees)
2 sprigs of fresh mint, torn

1. Place Jade Mist Green Tea, honey, mint leaves and lemon slices in jug.
2. Add hot water (70 degrees).
3. Brew for 3 minutes (it can help to poke the lemon slices for a little extra zing). 
4. Add ice to double water quantity.
5. Allow to stand until brew is icy cold.
6. Pour through strainer into cup.
7. Serve with ice.
8. Enjoy!

Order Jade Mist Green Tea now

Is that a teabag?

Rebecca Domorev - Friday, September 05, 2014

My husband and I were recently out for lunch at one of our favourite local cafes. It was the sort of cafe that was busting with delicious local produce, beautifully made homemade cakes, Good Food Guide recommendations, coffee and of course, Tielka Fairtrade organic tea. The tables were gorgeously displayed with our new Tea Tasting Notes and I felt a surge of pride when I saw our very own tea tins displayed behind the counter.

We had not long sat down to eat when two older couples sat down in the table alongside us. No doubt escaping the cold south to soak up the Queensland sun, who could blame these cheery grey nomads, as they call them up this way?

I wasn't paying particular attention to what our grey neighbours were up to until something startled me. A moment after they were served, one of the ladies reached into her handbag, pulled out a scrunched up teabag and dropped it into the pot of plain hot water she had requested. I let out an audible gasp and immediately felt embarrassed, wondering if they had not heard me but secretly hoping they had. 

Now before I jump up on my high horse and proclaim that I have never done such a terrible unsightly thing, I must admit I have been guilty many a time of brewing Tielka tea in a cup of hot water at McDonald's (I'm not excited about paying for supermarket variety Lipton teabags when at a cafe). 

Nevertheless, it took me a moment to gather my thoughts and understand the inner turmoil I was feeling. For the last five our six years I have been dedicating my time opening up a new world of tea to everyone I meet. I have loved watching the faces of people as they have experienced Tielka specialty teas for the first time and sensing they finally understood what they have been missing all these years; that the sacred teabag is nothing more than the equivalent of a cup of instant coffee and a world of tea is yet to be experienced. And if brewing loose leaf tea at home was daunting, at the very least, people could begin to experience this in a cafe setting.

And as I sat there, I sat perplexed as to why anyone would choose, in such an environment, a little bag of floor-sweepings when they could have a gorgeous pot of handcrafted tea-bliss. Why, oh why?!

Humpf. Ah well. I promptly got over myself, left, vowed I would write about this little experience and later regretted not ordering a pot of Tielka tea for our lovely neighbour.

Next time I see someone brewing their own teabag in a cafe, I promise to put things right.

Indulge in Life!

Rebecca Domorev

TEA PAIRING: English Breakfast

Rebecca Domorev - Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Fairtrade organic English Breakfast Tea

Every time I brew this beautiful breakfast blend I find myself wondering why I’m not drinking it by the bucket. And here I am once again drinking it straight out of my glass jug (one teacup is never enough!), after all a glass jug is much more fancy than a bucket and there’s no such thing as too much tea. But there’s something missing to finish off this smooth moment and my tastebuds are searching…

Tielka’s Fairtrade organic English Breakfast is quite unique – a keemun congou style black tea from the Hubei Province in China, these unique flavours can be enhanced and brought out with some clever pairing.

So what should you serve it with? 

It’s an obvious choice to serve this with any breakfast (no milk please, this one’s too delicate!), but here are a couple of other ideas you may not have considered:

Cheesecake + English Breakfast

This one is a match made in heaven, nothing can possibly go wrong. I’m itching to get into the kitchen to see what cheesecakey goodness I throw together. Again, no milk – there’s enough milky goodness in the cheesecake to balance these flavours.

Vanilla + English Breakfast

Let’s take this a step further and throw in some fresh vanilla bean. Vanilla bean cheesecake, or how about a vanilla bean crème brulee? Happy times!

What else would you like to pair? Let us know and we’ll get some ideas brewing.

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.

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