At just 24 years old, Sarah de Witt is already a tea connoisseur. Having trained as a tea sommelier with the Australian Tea Masters association as well as travelling to France to learn about sensory training, she has poured all her expertise into Impala + Peacock, a flagship tea store that offers a unique range of blends.
Walking into the teahouse off Brunswick’s bustling Sydney Road is like a breath of fresh air. Tiny hanging terrariums are filled with buds and blossoms, while exposed brickwork is contrasted by a huge, glittering chandelier that hangs in the bright and open space. The Impala of the name, an African deer, is representative of the origins of the tea plant, and the labour and land essential to its growth. The Peacock reflects the glamorous sophistication of centuries-old tea rituals and ceremonies.
Here you can taste hand-crafted teas and explore flavours and aromas from around the globe. Sarah and her team will be happy to explain the difference between hand-picked and CTC (cut tear curl), and teach you how to tell your teas from your tisanes.
‘Walking into the teahouse off Brunswick’s bustling Sydney Road is like a breath of fresh air.’
Alongside high-quality favourites such as white, green, oolong, black and Pu-erh, Impala + Peacock offers a wide range of caffeine-free herbal teas and tisanes. To ease yourself into the day, sip on the Invigorate blend, a golden tisane combining greenbosch, wild orange, cinnamon, cardamom, pink peppercorns and mango. For an afternoon pep-up, go for the refreshing lemongrass and ginger, with notes of native lemon myrtle and calendula.
“In ancient China, blended teas were commonly tea leaves mixed with onions or, for special occasions, citrus peel. But now, with so much variety in herbs, spices and flowers, there really is no limit to blending – the crazier the experiments, the be er the flavour,” Sarah says. If you feel like having a go at making your own mix, Impala + Peacock runs tea blending courses to help you create the perfect cuppa.
For the full experience book into high tea, where you’ll sip on artisanal teas whilst munching on delectable treats. Local produce is used to create ideal food pairings, with a focus on raw, organic and nutritious snacks. You might find morsels such as hazelnut and cranberry meringues, matcha chocolate mousse, vegetarian quiches and quinoa- stuffed mushrooms, all served up on tiered platters. Or you can book out the space for events – the combination of house-blended teas with fresh scones, organic jam and cream is sure to please your guests.
Sarah says of her mission, “Tea is my passion, and my vision is to connect exceptional tea with tea lovers. It is steeped in a tradition of connection, community and wellbeing.” With cafe and boutique stockists around Melbourne, Sarah is well on her way to reigniting the city’s love of tea.