The Rabbit Hole Organic Tea Bar, Redfern

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.