From kombucha to cocktails and camomile, tea is making a comeback

 As well as a good cuppa, there are many other ways to enjoy black and herbal teas at home.

We might be a nation of coffee addicts, but our love affair with tea has been rekindled. The search popularity of “tea” peaked at the start of May in Australia, with twice as many queries about tea as there were in early April, according to Google Trends.

Tea specialist Beau Field, of Tea Drop, says sales of tea have grown since people started spending more time at home because of the COVID-19 situation. “The beauty of tea is you can replicate what you have out and about very easily, whereas good coffee is very difficult to emulate at home,” he says. 

hot water pouring in tea cup
cup of black tea on decorated table
cup of black tea on decorated table

Black tea is by far their most popular brew, but demand for herbal infusions is increasing. In particular, Tea Drop is selling more of its camomile tea and lemongrass with ginger.

Beau says camomile tea is used to aid relaxation and sleep, while lemongrass is considered an immunity booster and popular when winter or illness hits. If you’ve had a pot of tea at the Club, then you’ll be familiar with Tea Drop products.

But what you may not know about is the other clever ways Club staff use tea, including to make kombucha, cocktails and cakes. Healesville Country Club’s Chef de Cuisine Rupert Rose makes his own kombucha, which he says it’s relatively easy - once you get the hang of it.

“It’s alive and tastes amazing,” he says. “I enjoy playing around with the ingredients and natural flavourings in the second fermentation. It’s a healthy alternative to sugary sodas and it actually tastes better.”

He adds flavours such orange juice and hibiscus flowers and says fresh ginger always works well.

At Bourke Street Green, the bar staff have been experimenting with tea cocktails and devised a Tea Mojito especially for Members to try at home. It uses camomile-infused gin, which Bourke Street Green Bar Manager Rob Pierce says it easy to make.

“Just pop five to six camomile tea bags into the gin bottle and store it in the fridge overnight. You can then strain the gin into another bottle, which leaves you with tea-infused gin,” he says.

Healesville Country Club’s Chef de Cuisine Kauri Kondraschek often uses green tea as an ingredient in her jellies and sponge cakes, and says teas such as rosehip, peppermint and Earl Grey tea make great sorbet.

If you’re interested in drinking more tea, Tea Drop recommends English breakfast as a good starting place, while green and berry teas are often an acquired taste.

Beau says drinking tea with a meal is traditional in India and Asia, but yet to be widely practiced in Australia.

“Perhaps that will increase with knowledge and when people decide to make the choice of tea over alcohol,” he says.

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