Sometimes, the white washed appearance of a cafe in an area of low foot traffic can be deceptive. Like Haven — always walking on the train station side of Chalmers Street meant I missed the opportunity to peer inside its windows to see the quaint cafe hidden inside. K, however, assured me they did great coffee. A quick flip through their menu, however, showed they were just a serious about their teas as they were about their coffees. They even have an oolong latte, which I was curious about but passed on having already had far too much lactose that day.
Their teas (and their coffees) come with a teapot and an hourglass to time the steep. Once the steeping time is up, you can pour half the tea into the small ceramic jug to prevent oversteeping.
You can then pour the tea from the ceramic jug (or the remaining tea in the teapot) into the shallow cup to drink. The attention to the detail, to creating an experience is impeccable at Haven.
After some deliberation, I go for the Baya Bomba ($5), a berry and coconut infusion. The tasting note accompanies the tea.
Baya Bomba is weaker than the overly punchy berry flavours I’m used to (cranberry and raspberry teas in the Twinings collections are super acidic), and it’s something I can appreciate. The vanilla notes here counter the acidity of the berry flavours to create a mellower flavour without overwhelming. It’s a gentle tea that’s perfectly balanced in sweetness and acidity as promised. The only disappointing note was the flavour of coconut — while I could see the coconut in the infusion, I couldn’t taste it.
Haven is located at 30 – 34 Chalmers St, Surry Hills NSW 2010.