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New Stock this Year!

We’re thrilled to announce these new additions to our collection- we now stock vintage dinner plates, three-tiered butler stands and solid stemmed crystal champagne coupes (vintage champagne saucers)!

Just in time for your next soirée… Head across to our Facebook page to take advantage of our current offer- 20% off all orders placed before the end of March. A little party never killed nobody…

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Tasting Alert! Brewtown Newtown

Have some professionals take you through a guided session brewing single estate and aged teas. Get yourselves to Brewtown, Newtown this Thursday evening, May 2nd, for a tasting of Tea Craft tea.

Kerthyasa and Tong of Tea Craft are supplying leaf wholesale across the hospitality scene. The duo attempt to educate and encourage establishments to honour looseleaf tea at every level. A series of Tea Craft tins on a self is a comforting sight. It indicates professionally assisted curation of a selection. Meaning: tea to aptly complement a menu. It also means those brewing your tea have been consulted in the proper brewing methods. Keep an eye out!

All details can be found on the Tea Craft facebook page. Message them to book your timeslot. Find Brewtown on O’Connell St, Newtown.

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Local Tea! Local Tea! Kettle Town Sydney!

If you were thinking of expanding your tea collection, who better for us to introduce than Kettle Town! Head to to check out the delicious leaf options, and to celebrate the launch of the official website, Kettle Town is offering free shipping! Cups & Saucers thought what better way to find out more than send in the Knave for an interview and a cuppa with Kettle Town…

How would you describe the core values held by Kettle Town?

Kettle Town is built on the premise of creating unique experiences. We aim to retain an element of surprise and do each thing in an exceptional manner. Our ethos is to create, share and indulge; embracing life experiences. We’ve seen so much generosity in our customers’ support and the people we’ve met along the way and we believe this is definitely one of our core values. We hope to give our customers something to accompany them in their day to day moments.

We want to make tea cool.

Is a stand-out favourite emerging among the Kettle Town customer base?

Currently our Zanzibari Chai is favourite amongst customers. People are returning to purchase this on a fortnightly basis at the markets! The combination of spices and infusion of coconut gives Zanzibari chai multiple layers of spicy flavours with refreshing coconut notes at the end. We recommend all serious Chai lovers to try it… It could be your next indulgent addiction.

Could you recommend a food-pairing option to our readers for a couple of Kettle Town’s blends?

Our favourite dessert and tea combination is Mintilla paired with a panna cotta or cheese cake. The vanilla and peppermint in our Mintilla blend works really well to accentuate the creaminess of the cheese cake. First the rich cream taste of the dessert contrasts with the refreshing peppermint and is finished off with a indulgent after taste of these two flavours inter-mingling.

After stalking the website, I was pleased to learn that herbal options will be entering the range. Is there a particular intention or theme influencing what will be included in this category? (And could you offer any sneaky hints? Or is it super secret and we’ll find out at the release date?)

That’s a good question! We are still working away on these blends to ensure they are different to your typical chamomile tea. Let’s face it. We don’t need another lavender and chamomile blend do we? At Kettle Town we aim to focus on flavour and indulgence rather than the health benefits of the tea. Herbal doesn’t mean boring, it will be just as exciting and creative!

Of the current range, do the Kettle Town founders have a stand-out blend? Or is it a little like choosing a favourite child?

Well, our favourite blends tend to change over time, about a month ago my (Vincent) favourite was Mintilla but currently it’s Zanzibari Chai, whilst Lily enjoys Golden Indulgence and previously loved New Paradise. I assume it’s little like choosing a favourite child only that we keep changing them around so they end up receiving and equal amount of attention. We try to be
good parents, haha!

Do you believe any specific philosophies or flavour profiles are trending in the current Australian tea culture/community?

There is a lot of English influence we’ve noticed in the way the Australian tea community enjoys their cuppa. A lot of traditional English Breakfast or Orange pekoe drinkers.

We are however, seeing an increasing number of people purchasing flavoured teas such as the French Earl grey or the Vanilla black or rooibos teas. We believe this category is still lacking in variety with only a handful of big players offering very similar blends so we aim to extend the palate of tea drinkers by offering unique flavoured teas.

The classic question: If you were stranded on a deserted island, and had one tea with you, from anywhere in the world (with no cost limit or other complications) , which tea would you hope to have? (How you managed to get the tea there with you unscathed, I know not.)

I would hope to have the traditional Zanzibari Chai – It’s also quite filling so I won’t have the problem of searching for food in the deserted island.

And finally…What does the future of tea culture in Australia look like to Kettle Town?

I think the future of the tea culture could very likely emulate that of its close substitute- coffee. We’ve seen coffee grow ten folds in the last century, and in places like the US. Now, tea is closely following that growth pattern. We believe that the experience of tea drinking will evolve over time, away from the traditional English tea houses towards more contemporary tea experiences such as tea in bars, tea being incorporated with creative activities such as art, fashion and literature. It’s a great time to be within this industry and the future has so much to offer that sometimes we don’t know where to begin.

Thanks, Vincent and Lily, for enlightening us about the heart and soul of Kettle Town.

Cups & Saucers brewsters can connect by liking:

Find Kettle Town Tea at various stockists [listed on] as well as the pop-up “Salts, Meats, Cheese” store in the MLC Centre in Martin Place, Sydney. Market days are as follows: The Beaches Market: 2nd, 3rd and 4th Friday of every month. SMH Growers Market: 1st Saturday of every month. Bondi Markets: 2nd, 3rd and 4th Saturday of every month.

Don’t forget to partake in an order from the website while the celebratory free shipping is on offer!

knave of cups x

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Tea Sub-whatnow?

Sometimes it can be hard deciding what you’re looking for in a new tea.

The scenario goes like this: You’ve settled on your favourite teas. Your cupboards are abundant with familiar flavours. You’ve been drinking them for ages. You’ve unfortunately become bored. and can’t even look at your regulars.

What do you do now?

Hopping into a shop and getting someone to recommend something for you is a fantastic idea. Often, somebody else’s habitual brews will be the spark to ignite our enthusiasm for the unknown.

Need variety and need it now? Mixed packs could have you on your way to developing a new favourite. They’ll often be chosen around a style of tea, or around a particular theme. P & T out of Berlin have some great triple packs showcasing famous, delicate and always premium grade leaf styles. (Hint, make sure you’re on the English version of the site).

A newer idea gaining prevalence is that of the TEA SUBSCRIPTION. Professionals will carefully curate packs for you and conveniently ship exciting and sometimes rare and singular tea to your home.

Tomte, based in Mosman, do varied lengths of tea subscriptions. When they send the leaf to you, it will be accompanied with a detailed description of where and how the tea is grown, harvested and processed. You sip, hydrate and learn too!

Keep your eyes peeled for a subscription by Teasense – a budding company in the early stages of planning how their subscriptions are going to look. I’ll be sure to keep you posted.

Steepster Select can sort you out if you’re in the U.S, but also have definite plans to take their subscriptions worldwide. Don’t worry – they have a notification system you can join, so, the moment the subscriptions can be sent to your corner of the globe, they’ll drop you a line. Steepster Select has grown from a user-generated-content tea reviewing platform.

Your homework this week?

Go out and try a tea you’ve never heard of – get someone to recommend something wacky!

Knave of cups x

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Hula Hooping with Miss Phoebe Linguini

It’s been a while since we’ve posted and there are many exciting things to tell you about.. Our collection has continued to grow to over 200 beautiful tea trios, and the Knave of Cups is back with some wicked tea know-how to share with you this year!

We’re so lucky to be busy organising lovely china for many baby showers, hens parties and weddings right now, and we hear lots of great ideas for making these events unique and memorable. What I’m wanting to do this year is start sharing some of these as inspiration for you!

So here we go.. if you’re wanting a hens party that is colourful and quirky (and, let’s be honest, less focused on male genitalia) how about some hula-hooping to work off those delicious cup cakes?

ENTER Phoebe Linguini

We’ve seen her in action and she is incredible – not only at performing, but at creating a fun atmosphere for your group to learn the basics and start spinning!

For those of you who like the details, Phoebe is a Professional hoop dancer and Australian Sports Commission accredited coach. Her group packages are interactive, tailored to your needs, set to the music of your choice and all hoops are provided!

This is a lot of fun and will guarantee a giggle or three. Great if you’re setting up outside too!

More ideas and info to come… Kx

Miss Phoebe Linguini
Miss Phoebe Linguini




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Sherbert Birdie Vintage Pin-Up Photography

It’s about time we publicly declare our adoration for Sydney-based photographer Sherbet Birdie and her incredible vintage style pin-up photography! Not only is her work absolutely drop-dead gorgeous, but she has a glimmering personality that lights up the room and the ability to make her clients feel like a million dollars.

Her fabulous make-up artist Lucy also deserves a big shout-out too! You’d be hard-pressed to find a lovelier lady and her beautiful hair and make-up leaves you feeling like more of a vixen than ever before.

Whether you’re voluptuous, leggy, hippy or lippy, Sherbet Birdie believes in promoting a positive body image for all women. With a huge array of costumes to cater for all shapes and sizes, Miss Sherbet creates the perfect look for each of her clients. She treats you like a goddess, special and unique rather than as a client or a job. It really is an experience you won’t forget.

It’s normal to feel a little camera-shy at first, but within minutes you will not believe how incredibly comfortable these women will make you feel in the studio. Our shoot with them was so much FUN we just want to go back as soon as possible!

Not only does a shoot with Sherbet Birdie leave you with a collection of amazingly beautiful images to treasure forever, but the experience will be unforgettable. The studio itself is a vintage lover’s dream- adorned with costumes and beautiful vintage styling- while you dine on your high-tea and sip your complimentary champagne.

Best of all, you can choose any theme for the shoot that you want! Miss Sherbet loves a challenge and is always creating new props and sets for her shoots. Head to her website at to have a look around, or call 0405 429 262 for more information.

A Sherbet Birdie shoot makes for a perfect gift for your boy, your girl, yourself, or anyone really! Besides, why should Dita von Teese get all the fun?

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Just what are the rules?

There are strong traditions in the tea drinking world. Us theics can be very loyal to what we deem the “proper” way to have a cuppa. Check out the strong opinions of one most passionate tea-drinker, George Orwell.

“If you look up ‘tea’ in the first cookery book that comes to hand you will probably find that it is unmentioned; or at most you will find a few lines of sketchy instructions which give no ruling on several of the most important points.

This is curious, not only because tea is one of the main stays of civilization in this country, as well as in Eire, Australia and New Zealand, but because the best manner of making it is the subject of violent disputes.

When I look through my own recipe for the perfect cup of tea, I find no fewer than eleven outstanding points. On perhaps two of them there would be pretty general agreement, but at least four others are acutely controversial. Here are my own eleven rules, every one of which I regard as golden:

First of all, one should use Indian or Ceylonese tea. China tea has virtues which are not to be despised nowadays — it is economical, and one can drink it without milk — but there is not much stimulation in it. One does not feel wiser, braver or more optimistic after drinking it. Anyone who has used that comforting phrase ‘a nice cup of tea’ invariably means Indian tea.

Secondly, tea should be made in small quantities — that is, in a teapot. Tea out of an urn is always tasteless, while army tea, made in a cauldron, tastes of grease and whitewash. The teapot should be made of china or earthenware. Silver or Britannia ware teapots produce inferior tea and enamel pots are worse; though curiously enough a pewter teapot (a rarity nowadays) is not so bad.

Thirdly, the pot should be warmed beforehand. This is better done by placing it on the hob than by the usual method of swilling it out with hot water.

Fourthly, the tea should be strong. For a pot holding a quart, if you are going to fill it nearly to the brim, six heaped teaspoons would be about right. In a time of rationing, this is not an idea that can be realized on every day of the week, but I maintain that one strong cup of tea is better than twenty weak ones. All true tea lovers not only like their tea strong, but like it a little stronger with each year that passes — a fact which is recognized in the extra ration issued to old-age pensioners.

Fifthly, the tea should be put straight into the pot. No strainers, muslin bags or other devices to imprison the tea. In some countries teapots are fitted with little dangling baskets under the spout to catch the stray leaves, which are supposed to be harmful. Actually one can swallow tea-leaves in considerable quantities without ill effect, and if the tea is not loose in the pot it never infuses properly.

Sixthly, one should take the teapot to the kettle and not the other way about. The water should be actually boiling at the moment of impact, which means that one should keep it on the flame while one pours. Some people add that one should only use water that has been freshly brought to the boil, but I have never noticed that it makes any difference.

Seventhly, after making the tea, one should stir it, or better, give the pot a good shake, afterwards allowing the leaves to settle.

Eighthly, one should drink out of a good breakfast cup — that is, the cylindrical type of cup, not the flat, shallow type. The breakfast cup holds more, and with the other kind one’s tea is always half cold before one has well started on it.

Ninthly, one should pour the cream off the milk before using it for tea. Milk that is too creamy always gives tea a sickly taste.

Tenthly, one should pour tea into the cup first. This is one of the most controversial points of all; indeed in every family in Britain there are probably two schools of thought on the subject. The milk-first school can bring forward some fairly strong arguments, but I maintain that my own argument is unanswerable. This is that, by putting the tea in first and stirring as one pours, one can exactly regulate the amount of milk whereas one is liable to put in too much milk if one does it the other way round.

Lastly, tea — unless one is drinking it in the Russian style — should be drunk without sugar. I know very well that I am in a minority here. But still, how can you call yourself a true tea-lover if you destroy the flavour of your tea by putting sugar in it? It would be equally reasonable to put in pepper or salt. Tea is meant to be bitter, just as beer is meant to be bitter. If you sweeten it, you are no longer tasting the tea, you are merely tasting the sugar; you could make a very similar drink by dissolving sugar in plain hot water.

Some people would answer that they don’t like tea in itself, that they only drink it in order to be warmed and stimulated, and they need sugar to take the taste away. To those misguided people I would say: Try drinking tea without sugar for, say, a fortnight and it is very unlikely that you will ever want to ruin your tea by sweetening it again.

These are not the only controversial points to arise in connexion with tea drinking, but they are sufficient to show how subtilized the whole business has become. There is also the mysterious social etiquette surrounding the teapot (why is it considered vulgar to drink out of your saucer, for instance?) and much might be written about the subsidiary uses of tea leaves, such as telling fortunes, predicting the arrival of visitors, feeding rabbits, healing burns and sweeping the carpet. It is worth paying attention to such details as warming the pot and using water that is really boiling, so as to make quite sure of wringing out of one’s ration the twenty good, strong cups of that two ounces, properly handled, ought to represent.”

Pretty strong case by Mister Orwell. I’m going to explain some of the reasons the traditions exist and sum up the “correct” way to have your tea.

One might hear mentioned that tea without milk is hardly tea. Some believe tea can only be taken with milk. Milk can be a great way to eliminate the tannic quality perceived in the mouth by a particular fine leaf tea, or even one that is simply astringent in nature. The smoothness of the resulting taste can be hence preferred. Others enjoy the sensation that dries the walls of the mouth and brings a thirst for another sip. In tea cupping (professional tasting of tea), the tea is taken as is. This allows the subtle differences between different tea; taste, texture, aroma etc, to be easily understood.

Orwell does mention the “loose in the pot” method over the straining, or basket, method. There is reason in this. Leaf needs to be able to swim freely in order for thorough representation of flavour to be extracted. The more the leaf can expand and be unfettered in its brewing, the better your tea will extract. Benefit can also be found in a basket-method, however. Have you often come to the end of a teapot, to find the last cup tasted completely different from the first? Even a difference of 30 seconds steep time can impact your tea. Basket and infusers allow greater control of your brewing.

These are just two examples of the strongly held beliefs about tea drinking and brewing. There are other hot topics (plungers? whole leaf versus broken leaf? citrus-scented teas should be had straight?), but in the end, the result comes down to one thing.

The correct way to have your tea is: WHATEVER TASTES GOOD TO YOU. Don’t let people tell you that an earl grey cannot have milk, or that only porcelain cups are allowed. I have before given guidelines of temperatures to brew certain teas. If that isn’t how you like your tea? Ignore it! You may like consistency in your pot of tea from first cup to last. You may enjoy appreciating the difference in taste over time. Choose the free-swimming way, or removable basket, as YOUR preference. Your tea? Your way.

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Worship whence you sip!

Porcelain reaches Europe. (And a quick care guide).

Another closely–held secret of the Chinese (the British already managed to produce and cultivate their own tea outside of China on the soil of their colonies) was the ability to create the fine yet strong, translucent material from which they drank the leafy beverage. Referred to as “china/fine china” by the now tea-mad Dutch and British nations, porcelain showed a craftsmanship beyond anything previously seen for tea drinking vessels and preparatory vessels. Delicate, resonant, light; the lip of a hand-thrown china cup can be produced to be as little as 0.5mm… outrageous.

The code for technique and material was cracked by the Europeans in the early 1700s – notably, by a small team of German chemists (and self-purported alchemists) working out of the state of Saxon. Companies established themselves, their patterns and names. Many older china houses still exist today (Limoges, anyone? The house of Spode made its beginning in 1767.) Beautiful porcelain items poured forth into western social circles.

There is no one “true”, single porcelain recipe. There are, however three recognised types. These have each different make-up, characteristics and production techniques. These are soft-paste, hard paste and bone china categories. Some generally necessary components include kaolin (the secret ingredient the Europeans needed), occasionally alabaster, clays, powdered glass, feldspar and in cases of bone china, bone ash.

Caring for your porcelain:

Porcelain is indeed so highly prized because of its longevity. Your prize pieces love some t.l.c.. China cups love to get wet. USE those glistening beauties and they’ll love you back for it. High tensile strength and superior thermal shock resistance = less cracks, less chips, and the piece lasting hopefully generations (instill an enthusiasm in your younglings now to ensure they don’t sell off your favourite pieces after you’re gone. Morbid suggestion? Maybe. Necessary? Absolutely.)

Soft, non-abrasive cloths are best for washing if even necessary – often times, a gentle rinse will do. (I suggest washing your cups quite soon after finishing your tea, that no tannin staining will even have the opportunity to set in.) Vinegar, lemon juice or bicarbonate of soda are three relatively gentle substances which will remove tannic staining from a porcelain cup. I suggest start with the most neutral (baking soda mixed with water to prevent grainy abrasive texture) and move your way through the ph scale (vinegar next, then lemon) if the stain is stubborn.

Do take pride in your collection. In some Japanese ceremonial tea-drinking situations, the choice of cup made by the guest is a poignant and integral part of the ceremony itself. The options given by your host and tea master will also be chosen very carefully. An aesthetic theme may influence which designs will take part in the ceremony. All options may work well together, yet each may be different in painted pattern or perhaps shape, colouring and technique. Seasonal changes will affect the selection offered at the ceremony.

Your cup is more than a bowl to hold liquid. It is a piece of art. Each time you specifically choose your teacup, you make each instance of tea appreciation purposeful and unique. You make each brew a one-time experience. “Ichigo – ichie” is the concept. It translates to “one time, one meeting”.

Happy sipping x

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Spotlight on Long Jing: also known as ‘Dragonwood Tea’

This has often been referred to as “China’s favourite tea.” Don’t hold me to that as a secure mantel, I’m sure there are competitors, but this is a cultural beauty and true contender for such a title.

Of the eighteen tea growing regions and provinces in China, this tea must be created in the Zhejiang province in a place called Hang zhou. The tea is actually region protected, a new development as of this decade. It enjoys such a prestigious reputation that many faux Long Jing teas – NOT from the dragonwell village – had begun to enter the arena, hence making origin denomination necessary. This can be likened to an Appellation, used in Europe to protect the reputation of regionally produced food products such as cheeses. Holographic seals are often used to identify your Long Jing as the real deal on many packagings. In other cases, the best idea is to get your Long Jing from a source you trust.

The particular processing method is what gives the tea its shape. The shape of the leaf is an elegant long and flat, nutty-green scenario. The tea is tended by hand during its heat-sealing in large woks, to prevent further oxidisation (i.e. it turning into a black tea!). The pressing of the leaves by hand, against the side of the pan, will cause the desired shape in the leaf.

Tasting the tea will yield nutty, roasty, toasty and smooth flavours. Buttery, grassy aromas impress and enchant. Delicious. Lingering, with a not un-notable pungency to finish. People searching for a savoury tea will be pleased with a Long Jing.

It takes true mastery of method to create a Long Jing. Find some immediately, and enjoy.

Extra trivia: the Zhejiang provincial government have actually banned construction and development in the tea-growing areas to protect the future of this famous tea.

Coming soon – the legend of dragonwell.

knave of cups x