An infusion of flavour courtesy of Thai milk tea, chrysanthemum, Earl Grey, hojicha and other delicious blends. | Photos: (clockwise from left) Instagram/@epcakebar, @icecreamcookieco and @feliciaaeatss, and dear-nesuto.com
Tea is one of the world’s most consumed beverages, yet did you know that in tea-producing countries, per capita consumption of the drink is relatively low? This is one of the reasons why the United Nations General Assembly has designated 21 May as International Tea Day. It hopes that this will foster collective action towards the sustainable production and consumption of tea, and raise awareness of tea’s importance in fighting hunger and poverty.
Tea can only be produced in very specific agro-ecological conditions, which is why only a handful of countries such as Sri Lanka, India and China produce it. Climate change in the form of temperature and rainfall patterns are already affecting yields, quality and prices. These in turn reduce incomes and threaten rural livelihoods in tea-producing countries.
International Tea Day, therefore, is not only a celebration of the beloved beverage, but also a way to turn our attention to what may seem quotidian to the consumer but is really an important way of life for those involved in its production.
How best to enjoy International Tea Day? For starters, sip your cuppa slowly and appreciate the efforts of every person and thing it took for you to enjoy this very moment. Also, load up on the surfeit of delicious tea-infused delights across town including the following that we’ve picked out for you.
Konichiwa Hojicha ($69) from Nesuto Patisserie
This is a hojicha dessert lover’s dream. The layers of hojicha chiffon sponge are speckled with flecks of the roasted green tea dust and alternated with lush hojicha ganache and hojicha Chantilly. The smooth whipped Chantilly cream envelops this cake and crowns it with beautifully piped dollops. It’s like an elegant hojicha latte in edible form.
English Earl Ice Cream Sandwich ($49.50 for a pack of 10) from The Ice Cream & Cookie Co.
Put your pinkie fingers up ‘cos this uppity tea snack totally channels some tea-in-the-conservatory vibes. Think brightly flavoured lemon zest cookies sandwiching fragrant bergamot-scented English Earl Grey ice cream in the middle. Cue your favourite movie, settle onto your sofa, and unwrap.
Thai Milk Tea Souffle Pancakes ($16.90) from Bangkok Jam
This cha yen number is not only delicious but also good for the ‘Gram. The stack of wobbly souffle pancakes is served with a creamy glob of Thai milk tea pudding, some gleamingly chewy tapioca pearls and a scoop of coconut ice cream. Drizzle over the Thai milk tea sauce and gobble gobble.
Two-Face Burnt Cheesecake ($8.50 per slice) from Keong Saik Bakery
Yes, every bakery and their best friend sells Basque burnt cheesecakes, but that’s also because the dining public quite happily laps it up. This one is pretty awesome – the sweetness of the original cheesecake is tempered by the bitterness of its matcha layer. The entire confection is satiny and just a little molten within. Yum!
Bubble Tea Tarts ($17.10 for a box of three) from Edith Patisserie
An instant hit when they made their debut in early 2019, these elegant tartlets are filled with ganache infused with milk tea, Thai tea and matcha, and topped with freshly cooked tapioca pearls. This popular patisserie also makes some excellent earl grey brownies, matcha blondies and a matcha bubble tea cake.
Chrysanthemum Oolong from Sugartree Gelato
Among the consistently intriguing flavours from this artisanal gelateria is the sophisticated chrysanthemum oolong. We love the ethereal softness and balance of this flavour. Great on its own in a cup or perched on the gelateria’s famous rosemary-scented cones.