At Collingwood tea studio Harvest Index, moss-coloured velvet curtains and light jazz combine to effectively set the mood to calm. Together with the marble tea-tasting bar, which is the focal point of the room, light timber panelling and emerald design elements throughout, the room feels a bit like a traditional Japanese teahouse, albeit with a modern edge.
Harvest Index expand and change their offering regularly. When they launched in mid-2019, there were six varieties: matcha, sencha, genmaicha, hojicha, mizudashi cha and wakocha. All tea comes from the one plant, so the variety comes from the process pre- and post-harvest.
There are four grades of matcha alone, starting with the M04 which costs $39 for 30 grams. It’s best for daily drinking, matcha lattes and cooking. It has a slight umami taster, that’s a little more bitter to the tongue. The deluxe grade M01 ($88), meanwhile, is the best of the best – made to be sipped on its own and is a vivid fluorescent green.
In store, ceremony specialists walk four customers at a time through the ritual over a free 30-minute tea tasting. The tea here is all organically certified and sourced from a seventh-generation farm in Wazuka, a small town in the mountainous region of Uji, Kyoto. To complement the take-home tea experience there are tea accessories, including Hario Japan shaker bottles, bamboo spoons, thermometers and Chojin handmade ceramics.