Our tea stories seemed to happen innately and of their own accord. In sitting down with sixty odd teas, there was every intention of giving an apt, literal description for people to instantly understand the flavours which embody the infusion. However, it was quickly decided an ingredient listing does that well enough, and what was missing was an impression of how that particular blend occupies the space in and around your cup.

For over decade we have been selling and drinking a varied and colourful array of teas, and like most people when spoiled for choice, we’ve become quite particular – having finely tuned our instincts to the precise tea for the exact moment. Prior to opening Tour de Tea in New Farm, we would be selling tea at the farmers’ markets, and each time we were asked about a tea, felt a pressure and sense of duty (to both the tea and the customer) to give a rapid fire understanding of how that tea best cultivates an atmosphere: “Oh, you’ve never tried Blue Mountain? It’s such a beautiful rainy day tea – particularly an autumn rainy day where you’re still dancing between a warm note of summer, but sensing a coolness. Like when the breeze courses through your window, bringing with it misty raindrops that fragment through the leaves of a leopard tree.” etc. Well that’s a slight exaggeration. It became an almost impossible and unsustainable task when people purchased multiple teas, and so we rarely managed to successfully illustrate them all. Despite that being understandable, a grave sense of injustice would often befall us if we felt we’d failed to sing the tea’s praises accurately.

This practice which registers subconsciously, (and can only be described as a strongly emotional obligation to the tea) was agreed to be impractical if we were to spend seven days a week in our store, poetically pontificating in a time bound setting. Furthermore, some may just want their packet of tea without 45 seconds of prose on its aura, and well, that’s fair enough.

And so, as we began to describe our teas for our packaging, one atmospheric sentence gave way to a second, and soon a third, which then needed to be finely tuned by a fourth, with several qualifiers and caveats from five to seven, and maybe just round it out to a paragraph to ensure there’s no ambiguity. Sometimes, the stories seem to write themselves, others, we’ll ruminate on an intangible, indescribable atmosphere for months before we feel we’ve distilled an accurate representation. Our latest blend, Hinterland, was ready in March – but the story has just now been finished in late August.

In waiting for the right inspiration to strike, there is a satisfying sigh of relief in knowing wherever that blend travels, it lays silent claim to a romantically insignificant moment of space and time.