There is nothing better than sitting down with a perfectly brewed tea and a good book- the ideal Sunday afternoon. Nowadays, tea appears to be making its mark and we are stemming away from the generic supermarket mixes and seeking out the unique, stand-alone tea shops boasting a variety of unusual and healthy blends. Discovering the different concoctions they are brewing and finding your new ‘fave’ is always very exciting.
I was lucky enough to sit down with Amber, founder of the latest boutique tea hotspot T Totatler, over a cup of beautifully brewed tea to learn all about achieving the perfect balancing act between taste, smell, colour and nutrition in one cup of tea. Not only can T Totaler tea mixes be used to make the perfect cup, but they can also used to enhance the flavour of a dish, or put in the garden to help your plants grow.
How would you describe what T Totaler is in one sentence?
Loose leaf tea and herbal blends that are sustainably produced, healthy and unique.
How was T Totaler born?
T Totaler was established in 2012 by Amber Hudson in Sydney- born from a love of tea, creativity and experimentation.
How is your product different from all the other tea products on the market?
We have a range of teas and herbal blends that are grown in Australia and have a relationship with the farmers that grow them. Our tea and herbal blends also come in beautiful reusable amber glass jars.
Where do you source your ingredients from?
We source the tea and herbs from Australia where possible. We want to keep the footprint of our tea low and make sure our tea and herbs are of the highest quality.
How do you accomplish the perfect blend?
It starts with an idea then we create an initial batch which we call the base batch. From here we slightly increase and decrease the separate ingredients until we reach the optimum flavour. It involves a lot of taste testing and is a balancing act between flavour, smell, colour and nutritional properties.
Which blend has surprised you the most?
We just made a blend that is really interesting for David Chang’s restaurant Momofuku which has Kombu (kelp) in it. The blend also is a mix of Australian grown roasted sencha, barley and calendula. Kombu is not traditionally an ingredient people would find in tea in Australia so it surprises them.
Which is your best seller?
Our best seller would have to be Australian grown Unwind. It is a herbal blend of lavender, lemongrass, peppermint, lemon myrtle and passionflower. People like to have a cup of tea and just relax.
Can you tell me a little about the tea brewing process?
There is a real relationship with how the leaf is processed to how you brew your tea. Green tea for example is less processed than black, so it requires a lower brewing temperature of 80 degrees as the leaves are so delicate.
It is also important to brew your tea for the right time as over brewing can sometimes cause astringency.
What is next for T Totaler?
We are in the process of opening up a tea bar in Newtown, Sydney. You will be able to blend your own tea there, sit down and have a cup of tea with matched cakes and also be able to purchase our beautiful retail jars of tea. It will be a full tea experience.
T Totaler really does have the right blend for everyone, whether it be a strong, bold, black tea to give you your morning caffeine kick; a refreshing green Shin-cha; or a herbal blend of lemongrass, peppermint, passionflower, lemon myrtle and lavender ideal to help you unwind after a long day.
Soon you will be able to experience the tea emporium for yourself with their new store set to open in Newtown.
In the meantime, you’ll find T Totaler at Marrickville Organic Markets every Sunday from 8am to 2:30pm; or if you want to learn the ins and outs of the Alchemy of tea and blending, check out T Totaler private workshops