CHINESE tea growers shudder when Keith Archer adds milk to his tea on buying trips.
“But it’s how I like it, so why not,” he says.
Last year he imported a tonne of leaves and all of it was sold from his Maylands cafe, Chapels on Whatley, by the pot or to take home.
Tea is the most consumed beverage in the world, but despite exciting hoo-ha such as how hot water should be, and whether it’s milk in first, it’s still often seen as “boring”.
“Tea has been around for centuries and anyone claiming to know the right or wrong way to drink it doesn’t understand what it’s truly about,” Mr Archer says.
In America, tea is making a comeback: “[Coffee] has gone off. In [US] shopping centres every fifth shop is a tea shop.”
Surrounded by glass tea pots and delicate china we quaffed a variety of brews as if tasting wine, but without the spitting.
The trendy matcha latte wasn’t for me, the green tea steeped in milk and spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg, was too sweet and creamy.
Chapels’ silk oolong was clearly my cup. Milkless, it carried a subtle peach flavour, and I was surprised to learn the taste came purely from the leaves.
It’s called diet tea, because it’s said to increase the body’s metabolism by up to 10 per cent: “[Diet] tea is only oolong and you pay a fortune,” Mr Archer says.
And unlike other green teas, it doesn’t get bitter with prolonged brewing.
Chapels is marketing a range of teas in sexy packaging for a younger clientele, including the Skinny Bitch range, which the silky oolong belongs to.
Green or black, all teas come from the camellia sinensis, the difference being when it’s picked.
Green tea is picked in four stages over the initial eight weeks of new growth, each having a different flavour.
The stronger-flavoured black tea follows: unlike green tea, which loses its flavour within a year, black keeps its flavour for several years, which is no doubt why it accounts for more than 90 per cent of all tea sold in developed countries.
Drop in to Chapels and find your favourite, and enjoy it with delicious food from a menu as expansive as the blends.
For a mere $5.50 you can sample as many as you can over two hours. Try doing that with coffee.
by JENNY D’ANGER
Chapels on Whatley
Whatley Street, Maylands
open Sun–Wed 8am–4pm,