Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Too much to hope for?

My husband and I are safely ensconced back in Melbourne - hooray! - and are getting along with unpacking, organising, blah, blah, ah well it's MOSTLY done (just as well).

Just before we left Canberra, however, we went to Silo bakery for breakfast on a Saturday morning - we would normally get our bread there, but it being so very very busy would rarely sit down to eat. However we decided we would on this particular morning, so my husband enjoyed a hearty breakfast of Welsh rarebit while I had an almond croissant (Silo almond croissants are divine and I shall have to (oh yes, it's necessary) go on a hunt to find an equivalent in Melbourne) with a plunger of Earl Grey (I think from T2). Earl Grey and almond croissants are a totally marvellous combination and one which I have enjoyed at home on previous occasions, as per below:

However, I also discovered that Silo offered a range of other teas, including Gyokuro - which I have never seen on a cafe or other menu before. I was intrigued enough to order some after I'd finished my Earl Grey... how would they brew it? Would it be drinkable??

The short answer is, they brewed it with boiling water in a plunger, the same way they did for other teas, and it was not drinkable at all, precious, no it wasn't. I plunged it as soon as it arrived at the table; the liquid was a cloudy, murky off-green, the taste was extremely bitter (and not in a good way) with no subtlety - it had been burnt beyond recognition... Such a shame. I hadn't really expected it to be properly brewed (though Gyokuro is not easy to brew, as I have found myself), but for such an expensive and rare tea  it really was a sad thing. How are people going to be encouraged to expand their tea horizons if they order something exotic like this and then find that it's not even drinkable? And then no one will order it and it will be taken off the menu so that there isn't even an option and it's back to the same old round of chamomile, peppermint, English Breakfast, Earl Grey, unspecified 'green', lemongrass and ginger. Argh! 

I am not normally this snarky, but I was cranky enough that I wrote a little note on a napkin saying they should brew their Gyokuro at a much lower temperature for only a short amount of time, as it was undrinkable - I imagine this was duly ignored and promptly thrown in the bin, heh, but never mind...

On the plus side I did have an enjoyable pot of white tea at Rubicon the night before we left, following a delicious meal and dessert... so perhaps there is hope yet!


  1. It's too bad they even offer Gyokuro when they don't do it right. I don't envy any restaurant people trying to train staff to brew the perfect cup of different kinds of touchy teas.

  2. No indeed, it must be very confusing - no wonder they normally just stick to the basics that are hard to mess up! If only there were more tea houses in and around Australia that specialised in exotic teas... but they appear difficult to find!

  3. By plunger, you are referring to a French-press type of device, right?

    Well, at least they're trying. The French press alone is a big step up from the typical teabag-in-tepid-water that you most often find in restaurants. At least, in the U.S.

    I'm happy to have found your blog!

  4. Hi Stephen, yes it is a French-press type thing. I agree, it is much better than just a Twinings tea bag or some such in one of those little metal pots that dribble everywhere :)

    Thanks for joining me here!

  5. omg u r awesome! i love your blog!! thank you for being so informative, clear, witty and delightful... i love your taste in teas. havent seen all ur articles, but just thought about ur take on rose teas. are you a fan?
    from an amateur tea lover in malaysia


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