Hannah Dupree tells me that after water, tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world.
Dupree is the founder and owner of Storm in a Teacup, a calm, tea-focused cafe and bar on Smith Street that for three years has been selling 35–40 types of tea, alongside a food menu and booze.
But on May 31, Dupree closed the Smith Street spot and will reopen a tea-focused education and tasting hub in Westgarth in September. She’s leaving the hospo business behind for her real passion.
“My heart is in the business of tea and education,” she says.
During its time in Fitzroy, Storm has also run five-course tea degustations, matching tea and food; a tea-and-beer-matching event for Good Beer Week; and Japanese tea ceremony education among many other events.
Dupree will continue to run events like these at her new location on High Street, Northcote in a space behind Lupa. But the main game will be a tasting room where people can join her to learn about teas they are interested in, and then buy teas to take home. “I want everyone to be able to come in with whatever level of understanding they have and go away understanding what they’ve bought,” says Dupree.
Dupree will continue to source teas the same way she always has and run her tea wholesale business and online store. Fifty per cent of the teas Storm imports come via direct trade with people who grow and pick and make the tea in Taiwan, China, India and Hawaii. “Forty per cent comes from little companies that have relationships with tribal people who make tribal tea and micro lots and tiny mums and dads operations.” The last 10 per cent she gets via brokers.
“I want to spread tea throughout Melbourne, and hopefully Australia. To share how amazing it is with as many people as possible.”
Storm in a Teacup’s new tasting room will be open to the public from Tue to Fri 12pm–3pm from September and at other times by appointment. It closed its Fitzroy location until May 31. Storm in a Teacup tea can be bought online at storminateacup.com.au.