Indulge in Life

Musings from the co-founder of Tielka.

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

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