Author Archives: meltheteafreak

tea with a little holiday “spirit”

I love tea. (yeah, I know you know, it’s kinda right there in the blog name.)

I also love a little of the sparkling vino. Bubbles, champers, sparklie, whatever you want to call it, I’m on board.

The big question I never thought I would ever pose is: would I love “prosecco infused tea“?

I may only ever know if I get to an ALDI store in the UK this Christmas, but conceptually? I’m not 100% sure about piping hot prosecco. If I could get my hands on some, I’d have to give it a go of course.

ALDI also has a lovely sounding spiced chai and mulled wine varieties in this festive tea range, which seem like more tea appropriate infusions to me.

Allegedly, the prosecco tea tipple is alcohol free, and sold out in 24hours.

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pic from ALDI.ie

Sunday at the salon: Tea Salon High Tea review

Q: What does a proper tea freak do when they get home from a delicious, decadent, afternoon of high tea?

A: This tea freak makes a cuppa (of course), and gets on with a review post!

after high tea

I didn’t choose the Blog life the Blog life chose me.

As far as I’m concerned, Sunday afternoons are made for pink sparkling wine, fancy finger sandwiches, divine sugary treats and giant pots of tea.

Luckily for me, thats exactly what I got this afternoon, joining a friend for high tea at the Tea Salon: a sweetly lilac and pink festooned chain of tea joints in major shopping precincts in Melbourne and Sydney.

Pretty squarely aimed at the fierce shopper, looking for an afternoon pick-me-up after a big day of retail therapy, or mid-shopping binge lunch, the Westfield Sydney one is right in the middle of the centre, on the 4th floor with all the designer stores I usually just peek in the window of.

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The Tea Salon, Westfield Sydney

We rock up at 1pm, and the place is already packed. Plenty of Mom’s and their little girls, tourists and luxury shoppers around us, chatting excitedly over silver tiered trays piled high with food, and taking the requisite social media snaps on their phones.

We’re seated pretty quickly and are told our bubbly will be over soon, we just have to decide on the scones we’d like to order, and the kind of tea we want. We both pick the white chocolate and cranberry scone.

And now, for the big TEA DECISION! My high-tea companion isn’t a big tea drinker (I know, but look, the world would be dull if we all liked the same things right?), so she chooses an amazing sounding chocolate chai iced tea. I pick the Sweetheart Tea, which is a black ceylon tea, “sweetened with a sprinkling of tiny, pink, heart-shaped sugar candies.” I simply had to.

Our sparkly arrives – delicious – and we giggle over the Wills, Kate and Prince George commemorative plates set in front of us.

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Kate, Wills and George. And a cucumber sandwich.

Then, the tiered tray of sandwiches, cake, tarts, mousse AND scones is placed in front of us and the real work begins – demolishing this food.

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mel the tea freak (i.e. me) and the world’s biggest scones.

Highlights for me? The basil pesto, spinach & creme fraiche ribbon sandwich, the very rich chocolate mousse, with a layer of soft, sticky merengue on the top, and the gigantic white chocolate & cranberry scone, which came with triple berry conserve and cream.

As for my love-heart tea? It was hot, and strong, and delicious. But either the pink hearts melted, or I just got plain tea. I thought I’d open the teapot lid and be tickled at the sight of those tiny little pink hearts, but I didn’t see any. My tea didn’t taste sweet either, but perhaps my taste buds were a little distracted by all the sweet stuff I’d already eaten! Anyway, I didn’t ask, but I didn’t feel too hard done by in the end, because the pot of tea I got was probably just what I needed, as I said, after all those sweet treats.

I believe the chocolate chai iced tea was tasty too, although there is a case to be made for choosing a more refreshing iced tea, to balance the sweetness of everything else.

All in all, it was a perfectly lovely afternoon tea. It feels a little strange at first, out there in the middle of designer store central, shoppers wandering past, muzak playing overhead, but with tasty food and delicious company, its quite a lovely way to spend the afternoon. I can see how it would be a nice resting place for the weary shopper, requiring sustenance, but it was equally fun for an afternoon gossip and catch up, with the added bonus of all the sweet treats you can handle.

My friend had a Red Balloon voucher for this high tea, but if you’re interested, the Winter High Tea with sparkling wine is usually $49.

Tea Tales: all the tea news you can handle 25/05

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HOLD THE PHONES: The Brits aren’t the tea-drinking champs we all think they are. – poor old poms, lost out to Uzbekistan in the We Drink the Most Tea competition.

In cos’ why not news: PG Tips sent a giant green tea monkey down the Thames. – he’s actually pretty cute. does he entice me to drink more green tea? Hmmmm…

The oldest tea in the world on display in a Chinese museum. – found in the 2100-year-old tomb of a Chinese emperor. I bet its still delicious.

Kim Kardashian West used Twinings Earl Grey tea bags to dye her Cannes frock in the hotel bathroom sink. – I 100% never thought I would never, ever find cause to include KKW in a tea blog post… and yet, BOOM! 101 uses for earl grey (that don’t involve drinking it) #1 – dying your nude mesh slip under your posh as Cannes frock.

Well there you go, I learned something today folks.

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guess who’s back, back again…

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Handsome men drinking tea

Because why not.

Liquorice root tea for coughs & colds? Tea Freaks gives it a whirl

One good thing to come out of this awful cold-mageddon (it’s a thing ok?) is – I’M BACK FELLOW TEA FREAKS! Back and posting for real.

Let’s ignore the last couple of months of radio silence (please?) and instead ponder the cold-mageddon – that is, a cold of epic, world ending proportions. Sadly, I am experiencing said epic cold, and currently feeling quite stuffed up and sore throaty and all woe is me.

I’ve tried all kinds of things to tame the nasty virus within – cough medicine, lozenges, large steaming mugs of hot water with honey & lemon, cold & flu tablets, nasal sprays, vicks vaporub on my chest, and even the old wives tale of slathering it on my feet at night, under thick warm socks – verdict? doesn’t do much to stop coughing, but it does make your feet awfully soft. and mentholly.

Anyway, you might be wondering  – why is my tale of cold related woe anywhere near a tea blog?  T2 Liquorice Legs

Well, a tip from my naturopath that “liquorice root can help with a cough” lead me to track down herbal teas with liquorice root. As I rather vehemently dislike liquorice, I was really hunting for a tea that combined it with something lovely enough to distract me from the weird (to me) flavour. Probably not liquorice root tea as pure as naturopathically prescribed, but close enough for this coughing freak to give it a go.

I found T2’s Liquorice Legs. They say “Sweet, smooth and comforting liquorice is blended with fresh peppermint for zing and the sweet aromatics of fennel.” I say: it definitely has a strong liquorice/fennel aroma, but is minty enough to take the edge off the aniseed-y, fennel taste when you drink it.

They say: “its powerful digestive properties make it wonderful to serve after a meal.” I say: just sweet enough for me to drink 2 or 3 small mugs a day, trying to keep the itchy, gnarly cough at bay. anything digestive it achieves is a happy coincidence at this point.

Upshot? Sadly, I’m still coughing. But I’m also still slathered in vicks, trying the nose sprays periodically and taking cold & flu tablets. And I’m also still drinking this weird little new tea. For one, it’s good to mix up the honey & lemons and super strong english breakfast teas with something different. Two? every little bit helps, right?

How do you feel about liquorice? Any other cold remedy hints or tips you want to throw my way? Hit me up.

T Totaler: tea cafe and store, Newtown, Sydney

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T Totaler is a groovy little tea cafe & store in my local area, staffed and run by owners Paul and Amber. On my first visit there – a particularly steamy, sticky Saturday afternoon – I partook in some cold brewed chai tea, and a truly delicious chocolate brownie.

chai and brownie

The cold brewed chai was a gorgeous amber colour, and really smooth and mild on the palate. The requisite spicy flavours were all there, but in a much milder way than a hot chai tea would be.

While I attempted to cool down and also not devour my brownie in record time, one of T Totaler’s owners explained I could make my own cold brew chai at home – and all I’d need was a bottle of filtered water, some chai tea and a fridge – INTRIGUING!

Both Paul and Amber were attentive and informative on my visit, with the DIY Cold Brew tip, and also info on all the different T Totaler blends they made and sold on the premises (and usually online too, though the store is currently on a ‘tea break’ while they’re in China & Japan stocking up ).

I decided to purchase two of T Totaler’s own blends – the Smokey Black and Chai Yoga – which come in these delightful (and reusable) glass apothecary jars. I figured I had to give the cold brew chai a go with T Totaler’s own chai. Stay tuned for how that turned out!

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T Totaler was a really lovely experience, and I’m quite looking forward to another visit soon, especially now its getting cooler, and trying out some other delicious teas! And maybe a chocolate something too.