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If Agony of the leaves or Bakey and Peak, sound like the names of indie rock bands then you need to visit Chapters and Leaves; the newly opened tea room and bookshop in the Blue Mountains.
As a tea lover, I've been patiently waiting for this place to open, yet still, I was overwhelmed by the choice of loose-leaf tea.
There's over thirty varieties you can order ($5 for a pot of tea) sourced both locally and from around the world. These include black teas (Balmoral, Scottish and Bushfire Breakfast), Darjeeling Vintage Himalaya, China Golden Yunnan, Earl Grey Blue Flower, Red South African Rooibos, as well as green, fruit and herbal blends.
There's many delicious sounding teas to choose from, you'll have a hard time picking just one. Image by Jade Jackson.
With over one hundred different teas to purchase (and take home), make sure you allow sufficient time to peruse them all.
You'll find organic, Australian grown tea, alongside regular English Breakfast Tea. There's blends you've probably never heard of such as Australian Wattle (wattle seed and cinnamon) and Australian Bush Blush Tea (lemon myrtle, hibiscus and quandong).
I also learnt tea terminology such as the agony of the leaves is 'the unfolding of tea leaves in hot water.' Bakey is 'an over-fired tea' whilst Peak refers to 'the moment the liquor enters your mouth or the high point of a cupping experience.'*
*source: Chapters and Leaves Tea Guide
Tea galore at Chapters and Leaves. Image by Jade Jackson.
The owners hope to expand their offering to more than one hundred and fifty different teas, ensuring a single visit will not suffice.
Tourists will fawn over the bush teas, Australian designed travel mugs and Blue Mountains cake plates, whilst coffee lovers aren't ignored either with beans, grinds and plungers on offer. They also serve coffee (but surely even a devout coffee drinker would be curious by the range of tea on offer).
Australian 'bush tea' makes a wonderful gift for overseas visitors. Image by Jade Jackson.
It's impossible to list everything (which is why a visit is the only way to experience it) but you can find a selection of products on their website. Expect to find common teas such as Peppermint alongside unique and hard to find China White Tea.
Organic matcha green tea, grown in Australia can be bought at Chapters and Leaves. Image by Jade Jackson.
I tried the Strawberry Cream tea, which was refreshing and delicately nectarous. Usually, I prefer my fruit teas cold and I was surprised that it was actually sweeter, hot. Accompanied by a date scone, served with fresh whipped cream and raspberry jam was the perfect side treat.
Devonshire Strawberry Cream Tea and Date Scone at Chapters and Leaves. Image by Jade Jackson.
There are also freshly baked cakes ($5, which vary daily), cookies ($4) and banana bread. However for $9 for a scone and a pot of tea it makes for an affordable treat that looks decadent. If there's two of you, add on a second scone for $3 more.
A refreshing cool tea sample awaits your arrival at Chapters and Leaves. Image by Jade Jackson.
As soon as you walk in, acoustic music drowns out the traffic from the highway. A sample jug of cold tea welcomes you and even if you're a tea novice, you can pick up a free handy guide on the front bench with terminology and types so you'll be an expert by the time you leave.
Cups, saucers and teapots galore, an easy gift for any tea lover. Image by Jade Jackson.
If you're after a gift, a wall of beautiful ceramic teapots (including an Alice in Wonderland design) and teacups; along with gorgeous books (some by local authors) provides easy gifts whilst shopping locally. They also issue gift vouchers which I imagine will be popular come Mother's Day.
Kids will love the Chocolate Tea (and as a bonus, it's sugar-free) and will be occupied with the colour-in sheets and pencils. Though they may also pester you for one of the curated kids' books for sale, conveniently displayed at knee height.
A comfy chair and a delightful cup of tea, it doesn't get much better than this. Image by Jade Jackson.
With comfy lounge chairs and plenty of table seating, Chapters and Leaves is the cool respite the Blue Mountains has been missing. Something tea lovers will (quietly) rejoice.
Chapters and Leaves is open:
Tuesday to Friday 10am - 4pm
Saturday 10am - 2pm
Closed Sunday and Monday
You can walk there from Faulconbridge train station and there is free on-street parking out the front. With the new M4 tunnel, you can drive from Sydney to Faulconbridge in an hour, making the Blue Mountains an easy escape from the bustle of Sydney.
Love a Devonshire Tea and this looks like a good place to try.
Heading to Blue Mountains next year (2020) for Yulefest (Christmas in July) with friends, so this will be on our travel agenda.
Have just discovered Chia tea, now replaces my afternoon 'cuppa' of Rooibos.
Can't go wrong with a good HOT cup of Tea, whatever the flavour.