When award winning artisan tea maker, Belinda Hellyer from Brewed By Belinda, first contacted us, I could hardly contain my excitement. I’m the one who is known to have a cuppa whilst my friends are partaking in drinks of the alcoholic persuasion, so the idea of sitting down with a professional tea brewer, and sampling her creations, is my kind of heaven.
Nici and I took the opportunity to sit down with Belinda and it soon became clear that not only did we share a love of tea, but also a love of theatre. Belinda is a producer, performer and arts manager who has combined her two loves: theatre and tea, into the creation of her organic artisan tea brand – Brewed By Belinda. With names such as ‘Opening Night Nerves’, ‘5 Minute Call’ and ‘Standing Ovation,’ it is clear to see where Belinda’s inspiration comes from.
Brewed By Belinda began to take shape when Belinda discovered an extra burst of creativity while she was pregnant. After the birth of her second child, she stumbled across an Australian Tea Masters course which set her on the path to starting her brand in 2015.
There are currently 12 teas in the range and we were lucky to try most of them, including blends that were new to both of our palates.
Given the beautiful sunshine that filtered into Belinda’s garden that afternoon, we started with Jazz Hands – a premium organic loose leaf fruit and herbal tisane containing raspberry leaf, red clover, rosehips, hibiscus, strawberry, elderberry and bilberry pieces. This beautiful tea can be served either iced for the summer months, or hot when the cooler weather sets in.
An Earl Grey lover, I was delighted to sample Belinda’s Director’s Notes which comprises a black tea (camellia sinensis) from Sri Lanka, cornflower petals, mallow flowers and bergamot oil. I loved it so much that when given the choice of a blend to take home, this was definitely my first choice.
Every performer loves a ‘Standing Ovation’ and the aptly named white tea blend of Pai Mu Tan (camellia sinensis) and red rose petals is the perfect celebration tea. Not only does the blend look beautiful, with the visible red rose petals, its delicate taste is one that lingers much like a round of applause. And it was applause that Belinda recently received when her ‘Standing Ovation’ blend won the coveted Gold Medal in the 2017 Golden Leaf Awards for best natural tea blend!
It was evident to both of us that Belinda is extremely passionate about tea. Not only does she want her blends to taste beautiful, but she also wants them to look gorgeous in our homes. The tea is available to purchase in foil lined zip lock upright pouches or in beautiful refillable double sealed hand made Japanese canisters.
Having been drinking tea from around the age of 14, I was interested to learn the finer details of brewing the perfect cup of tea from Belinda. Most black teas are best made with boiling water however, the more delicate teas such as green and white teas are best brewed at 80 degrees.
Whilst Belinda has a clever kettle which has variable temperatures, for those of us who don’t we can still enjoy our more delicate white and green teas at the optimum temperature by boiling the kettle and then leaving the lid open for approximately 5 minutes to allow it to cool a little. Belinda says that even people who have been turned off by the taste of burnt green tea leaves, might be surprised by it’s sweetness when brewed correctly.
Brewing time is also crucial to the perfect cuppa. Have you ever been presented with a cup of tea and it has a distinct bitter taste? This is due to the tea being left stewing in the pot for too long. If you prefer a stronger brew it is best to use more tea ensuring you remove the tea leaves after the recommended time rather than increasing the brewing time.
Belinda has made it easy for her customers by providing the brew time and recommended temperature on the back of all of her packaging to ensure her brews are enjoyed at their optimum.
Did you know that some teas are able to be reused? Brewed By Belinda’s Symphony No 9 is one such tea. It combines hand rolled balls of premium white and green tea which is aromatised with Jasmine. Having a clear teapot is the perfect way to watch the leaves as they unfurl and once the leaves are removed you can rebrew them up to 8 times.
With Mother’s Day around the corner, Belinda is offering 2 ‘Brew In’s’ where attendees are given an introduction to tea, tea tasting and the opportunity to blend your own creation. Having spent an afternoon with Belinda I know you will have a ball exploring and tasting her beautiful teas.
Nici and I wish to thank Belinda for sharing her passion and taking us on a tea discovery journey.
If you want to learn more about Belinda and her Gold Leaf Award winning teas, you can find her here: