Tea in Brisbane

posted on: Thursday, 31 October 2013

French Earl Grey at Queenies Tea House


Moroccan mint tea at Hamimi in Wooloongabba

Cosily kitsch at Southside Tea Room

Last week I spoke with the fab Robyn McKendry who she said she hasn't drunk coffee since it became fashionable. This got my thinking, Carrie Bradshaw-style, have we Aussies become too obsessed with coffee? What about tea?

London, for example, has tea covered. Earlier this year I paid homage to the great city's multitude of sipping options, the highlight being when a quiet sit down in the Number Sixteen Hotel garden led to chatting to Mrs Barbara Parkins. Apart from being cult-Hollywood royalty, her knowledge of art, film, photography and travel is fascinating. My theory is this wouldn't have happened over a coffee, but somehow tea encourages slowing down and a good old chat.

When I lived in Vietnam a few years back, I practically learned the language by visiting a number of green tea stalls in Hanoi. Once I sat down for a tea, the locals would start asking me questions and my Vietnamese improved dramatically, as did my appreciation of Asian tea ceremony. So, what is the good town of Brisbane offering in the way of tea?

Queenie's Tea House in Nundah is operated in a homely old building that has been standing since 1925. It's a great place to take your granny or mum with its fine bone china, ribbon sandwiches and passionfruit sponge cake. I love their French Earl Grey tea, though they have an exhaustive selection. Some friends and I tried their Christmas Chai blend and it had us relaxed and woozy in less than 10 minutes. Before we knew it, hours had gone by and a great afternoon had been had by all.

For a Moroccan flair, there is Hamimi in Woollongabba serving sweet, mint tea amongst their amazing homewares. It's a glamourous version of the souk atmosphere, replete with jewelled cushions, intricate rugs on the wall, pressed silver and divine Moroccan biscuits. Then there's Southside Tea Room in Morningside, owned by The Grates, which offers a modern kitsch tea room. Think vintage, formica tables and bunting. Like the cafe interior there is lots of colour in the tea range: Earl Grey Blueflower, Gunpowder Green, White Peony, Yunnan Red.

I think it's time to lay off the lattes for a moment and get into the tea!

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