Sunday, March 16, 2014

Where can you get the best Chai Tea?...Kettletown | Shopping

Lily Wang and Vincent Maneno, business owners of Kettletown have something brewing, and it’s a bit different. I first met Lily at a workshop that taught us how to make old fashioned calendars from sticky fabric paper (long story, but if you want to read about it, here’s the review) at a pop up store in Darlinghurst, where Kettletown shared the creative space with another business that ran the calendar workshops. Kettletown's display, decorated with plants and herbs, was beautiful with rows of nicely packaged boxes of exotic teas that you would not ordinarily see on a supermarket shelf. I had my young tech savvy cousin tagging along with me at this calendar DIY workshop (in my attempt to give her some work experience as a writer) and when I asked her what the best part of the workshop was, she said ‘The tea and scones were the best!’ (i.e. it had nothing to do with calendar making…sigh).

But secretly, I really did enjoy the tea and scones that day too and took home a packet of the Kettletown’s blend of chai tea, which was gone within a couple of days.

The experience – taste and aroma

The tea that I’m now devoted to is Kettletown’s ‘Zanzibar Chai’. Have you heard or been to Zanzibar? Google it and you will notice stunning white sand, blue water pictures of an East Coast African island, that rivals the shores of Tahiti. It’s just another place to add to my list to visit one day.

Like its name, the taste of the Zanzibar Chai tea blend is exotic. I like my chai tea like my normal English breakfast tea – strong with a splash of milk and no sugar. I prefer to pass on the sugar so that I can really taste the tea blend. The colour and taste of the tea brewed is strong with fragrant presence in aroma and in your mouth, which gives you a wonderful sense of well being after a cup. Zanzibar Chai is a full bodied spicy Kenyan black tea infused with coconut.

What is it about Kettletown’s tea that makes it different?

The main thing that makes Kettletown's tea standout of all tea blends is that the teas are designed to be paired with specific types of desserts. The pairing accentuates the notes of each tea blend.

So, for example, it is recommended that if you have the Zanzibar Chai ($12 per box) then it should be enjoyed with a doughnut or fried bread (in Africa, it's known as 'mandazi', a form of fried bread that originated in Eastern Africa in the Swahili coastal areas of Kenya and Tanzania) or alternatively a ginger bread biscuit.

Strawberry Sunset ($12), an oolong blend with notes of sweet vanilla and jasmine is best enjoyed with fruity tarts and pavlovas.

Summer Rose ($15), a white tea blend with notes of orange enhancing delicate taste of rose, is best paired with rosewater scones or creamy shortbread.

Blueberry Blossoms ($10), a black tea blend with notes of fragrant blueberry and nutty almond, coupled with a natural sweetness of calendular, is best enjoyed with a lemon meringue tart or pancakes with berries.

New Paradise ($10), a citrus flavoured blacktea with notes of sweet caramel finished with a taste of cranberry, is best with white chocolate desserts or sticky date pudding.

Golden Indulgence ($10), a sweet hot chocolate substitute with nutty almond notes, is best enjoyed with raspberry, citrus or banana flavours, perhaps a banana cake or a raspberry mousse.

Mintilla ($10), is a light digestive blacktea with creamy vanilla notes and fresh peppermint, best served after a meal with creamy cheesecake or pannacotta.

What was Kettletown’s inspiration for making their blend of tea?

Starting their business a year ago, Lily and Vincent's inspiration for designing their own tea blend is that they found tea blends just not strong enough compared to those in Africa. I couldn't agree more, which is why I love Kettletown's teas - when you take a sip, you can tell a lot of thought and hard work have gone into making the perfect tea blend.

How do you get the best flavour?

For the black teas, it's best to seep in boiled water at about 80-90 degrees Celsius for about 2-3 minutes.

For white teas, it's best to seep in 70-80 degrees Celsius for 2-3 minutes.

Alternative gift idea

With samples at only $2 per packet, Kettletown's teas make perfect and cost effective bonbonniere gifts for weddings, bridal showers, kitchen tea parties and the like. Not to mention, it gives someone an experience of tasting something different, instead of the normal run of the mill soap, candles or chocolates.

Where to get them?

The simplest way to purchase Kettetown teas is online through their website.

Alternatively, you can meet the talented tea couple at a pop up store or markets throughout Sydney.

Workshop Makery

106 Oxford Street, Darlinghurst 2010

The Sweet Spot

18 Perouse Road, Randwick 2031

Shop 1, 2 Allen St ( Crn Botany Road), Waterloo 2017

Salt Meat and Cheese

MLC Centre Pop-Up
Martin Place
Corner of King St and Castlereagh St
Sydney 2000

The Agrestic Grocer

426 Molong Road, Orange 2800

Market Days

The Beaches Market, Warriewood
2nd, 3rd and 4th Friday of every month

SMH Growers Market, Pyrmont
1st Saturday of every month

Bondi Markets
2nd, 3rd and 4th Saturday of every month


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