Paul Bennetts is starting a revolution – a tea revolution – and he’s looking to share his knowledge of the stuff with anyone who wants to know.
“I have done a lot of travelling,” says the founder of the specialty tea website Tomte Life. “I found that in America I went to tea houses and there were all these extraordinary teas you could have. Not high tea style – no milk and sugar – just a huge range of teas that we simply don’t have available to us in Australia.”
So after years of drinking coffee, Bennetts decided it was time to advocate the tea cause. He founded Tomte Life in February 2012 to start reminding people that when we pay attention, tea can be a specialty brew to challenge even the passionately championed third wave of coffee.
“We do coffee really well in Australia, but no one really knows about high-quality tea and how it’s different from what we usually get in cafes here,” he offers. “So what we’re trying to do is change how people think about and consume tea.
“We do tea by the season and rather than get it mass produced and blended, we get it direct from farms. The tea we have now was selected after going through over 200 teas to choose five from the season just finished.”
Currently, Tomte Life has one tea available, chosen as a select specialty out of hundreds of varieties. But more are on the way shortly and Bennetts is planning to set up tea gatherings in the near future, where people can come together and learn about single origin, first flush teas.