It is said, “If tea can’t fix it, it is a serious problem”
The reason of why oh why I quoted that tea saying earlier on this post is because I have tried to cure my restless Sunday with everything, from comic, foods and of course tea! Today I am acting weird, in between the combination of boredom and exhaustion. They are getting serious, I guess! Lol. I’ve been busy last week by loads of
werk, work and deadlines. In addition, 2 of my friends also just gone back for good to their homeland, Vietnam and Sabah. It feels bad and sad at the same time even I don’t hang often with both of them. Phew.
Okay, enough story telling and let’s bump into Traveling Samovar now! I’m glad that I live in Melbourne and how the enthusiasms towards tea is (said) greater than any other states in this country. Traveling Samovar is located in North Carlton, a convenient commercial suburb nearby Melbourne CBD. I call it commercial since this area is crowded by cafes, boutiques, small interesting shops and now there is a tea place too!
Traveling Samovar is a small tea shop and also tea house with 25-30 seats capacity in a viscous Asian traditional touch all over the place. There are 2 connected rooms, the front and the back ones. I chose to sit in the back room to be close enough to the fire place. Once I stepped my feet in, one of the owner greeted me with a very friendly attitude.
My first impression of this place was “how serene, homy, warm this Tea room is”. And it was actually warm with burning woods inside the fire place. Relaxing music keeps playing over time, it’s kinda self-healing, yoga and relaxation types of music that suits the overall place very well. It gave me the “Oh I could spend my whole day sitting down here” feeling.
The menu album is pretty thick containing wide range of tea selections, derived in four price categories. On the back part of the menu, there are comprehensive information for each tea listed on the menu, from the origins, characters till the steeping directions. It is probably how a tea bible should be crafted.
- * AU$ 4
- ** AU$ 6
- *** AU$ 10
- *** AU$ 18
I decided to ask for recommendation instead of diving into the menu selections and the owner directed me to the tea bar in the front room. I was “invited” to actually see, touch, smell and
eat no kidding I did eat the dry leaves before making the decision! It was weird and interesting at the same time but most importantly, they gave me a new tea experience!
Ultimately I chose Yin Si*, green tea from Yunnan province which is a lightly rolled green tea in 1 bud-2 leaves form. I found the Yin Si is interesting for its savory-soupy aroma and it tastes sweet with mild astringency finish. In Traveling Samovar, customers will have a lot communication with the owners. They come to each table, explain, discuss, give suggestion and in the end, let every customer takes the control to experimenting with different steeping times.
I had another tea, Iron Goddess from Anxi** (Ti Guan Yin) after almost 2.5 hours sit back and relax. The owner explained this tea as “It has all the green tea properties except the bitterness” which is true. It is such a beautiful one and I am kind of growing my fondness with Oolong tea lately. My second choice also through a tough dry leaves tasting before actually steeping it. Lol. Since I was being too vivacious, I had my Iron Goddess steeped in the tea bar with water from the samovar. Interesting! Overall I prefer my second choice, for its floral aroma and sweetness.
My tea were paired with Flour-less Chocolate Cake, served with minced rose petals on top and rose cream. Hmmm luscious and pretty! The cake has the desirable texture of crusty outer and moist inner of chocolate cake. It tastes perfect for me since it’s not too sweet even with the heavenly chocolate paste and rose cream being eaten altogether. The rose cream is aromatically amazing in light sweetness and consistency.
I really love my visit to Traveling Samovar for the tea experience I got from tea discussion, steeping experiments and knowledge sharing. Creating tea experience is very substantial for such a growing industry like this and of course I’m happy to have this tea place in town where I live. I wish to go back here today but I woke up too “early” this afternoon so I won’t make it. It takes me about 55 minutes to reach Carlton and they only open until 5 pm. So have you got the idea of how early I woke up today? Well done.