Coffee is one of my favourite smells in the world. But I’m a tea drinker through and through. Operating in a converted warehouse space in Redfern, The Rabbit Hole Organic Tea Bar focuses on organic loose leaf teas, both pure and flavoured and without a coffee bean in sight.
You can smell their entire selection at one corner of the shop. And there are some gorgeous flavours! Like toffee apple and raspberry and white peach and oh, the list is endless! They’re so beautiful in their kintsugi (the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum) inspired bowls.
You can purchase the loose leaf tea as well as various tea toys at the store, and you can also order them off the menu to enjoy in the seated area with its wooden chairs and concrete tabletops.
The menu for the teas is extensive, and I have a hard time choosing. I end up going with the first tea I sniffed that made me think ‘ooh, yummy!’ and that’s Lime Pie ($5 for a pot): ‘organic white tea, organic coconut flakes, freeze-dried lime, organic natural flavour’.
They take their tea seriously here. Your tea arrives with a tiny hourglass that indicates when the tea is ready, so you can turn the lid on the cup to stop the brewing process.
The description of Lime Pie as a ‘lime and coconut white tea extravaganza’ that’s ‘zingy, meringue, vibrant’ is spot on. It’s delicious — the freeze dried lime gives the tea an extra sour kick that you don’t usually get with just dried lime peel, while the coconut flakes provide a pleasant coconut flavour, without the overwhelmingly dominating taste you get from chewing on coconut flesh. The tea is just like how you’d want a good lime pie to taste like: zesty with subtle coconut notes in the meringue.
A couple of weeks later in late October, I return for the Toffee Apple, ‘organic oolong tea, freeze dried apple, organic natural flavours’. It’s described as being reminiscent of the apples on a stick, smothered in toffee from childhood, and again, it’s spot on. It’s creamy, yet it’s not a latte (these are a separate part of their menu) — its a subtle toffee flavour that gives just enough sweetness without being cloyingly so. The use of freeze dried apples gives an authentic flavour of fresh apples.
On this second visit, they’d seemed to have settled in much better. The wait staff were more attentive even though the cafe was abuzz with customers, and the sweets selection had expanded considerably. N and I eyed the Earl Grey Chocolate Cake ($7).
The earl grey tea is pleasantly infused in the cake and comes through even against the dark chocolate. It’s rich and its dark, the perfect sort of cake for a chocolate lover. You do need to pair the cake with a tea, though, as the cake is deceptively moist in appearances — the crumbs of the cake are dense and somewhat dry. It’s perfect with tea in the same way that scones are perfect with tea. The freeze dried raspberries and the tiny currants cut through some of the richness of the chocolate cake with their subtle sweetness and concentrated punchy sourness.
The teas here are unique, and I’ll have to come back to try out the other flavours I was eyeing.
The Rabbit Hole Organic Tea Bar is located at 146 Abercrombie St, Redfern NSW 2016.