Meeting Liz Steel for Tea

One of the most popular posts on this blog is my Tea Loves interview with Liz Steel. I’m guessing it’s because of all her beautiful tea sketches! (I’ve also written about her on T Ching.)

I finally had to chance to meet her in real life when she swung by Singapore last week and we had a lovely tea tasting session at Tea Bone Zen Mind (TBZM).

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TBZM’s owner, Carrie, was so enchanted by her sketching; she said it was refreshing to look at “art without ego” (I guess she expressed it a lot more poetically than how I yap about Liz’s “happy drawings”). She kindly let us try many special things, including an aged 40-year-old kukicha and an intriguing tea salt infusion!

I’m glad I introduced the two like-minded ladies to each other – both tea lovers and inspiring artists in their own right :)

Tea Loves: Liz Steel

I love how the Internet connects me with fellow tea lovers whose paths I may never have crossed in my everyday life. Today, I’d like you to meet Liz Steel, an architect from Sydney who is an awesome sketcher and of course, loves tea!

Here’s just a sampling of some of her lovely tea sketches – she says she likes to drink tea and sketch at the same time – I think that is a great combination! There’s just something about her sketches that make me very happy when I see them, and don’t you think her love for tea just radiates in these drawings? It makes for such a lovely record too….*suddenly wishes Harry Potter could wave a wand and give me a dose of artsiness*

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Liz also shared with me some of her favourite teas and tea haunts:

What are your favourite teas at the moment?

Well, I have to say Earl Grey. This is my long time favourite tea. I have tried well over 50 varieties of it, but the brand I buy by the kilo bag is Taylors of Harrogate’s Earl Grey.

I drink all kinds of tea – white, green, oolong, pu-erh, herbals…you name it, I will try it. But my other big favourite tea is a green oolong – I am particularly partial to those from Taiwan. I have a Da Yu Mountain tea at the moment which I love. So I have a very varied tea drinking taste and mix both western and eastern tea cultures. In fact I don’t think that there is a tea culture that I would not enjoy.

What are you favourite tea spots in Sydney?

For me, the most important ingredient of a tea spot is not only good tea but its variety! As it is all about the whole experience, I like variety in the selection of tea, the teaware, the food to eat alongside the tea and the views/ variety of sitting positions. All these things are highly sketchable and keep me inspired on repeat visits.

Well, the best teahouse I have ever been to (and I have created my own rating system to compare them) is actually my local one- how special is that? It is the T2 teahouse at Macquarie Centre in North Ryde Sydney. They have an enormous selection of tea – over 150 – and I am working my way through them all…down to the last 50 now! Each time I visit I have a different teacup, saucer, and pot. The staff are amazing, as are the raspberry scones and the interior is so interesting and sketchable! The full selection of my sketches in this tearoom is here.

Another favourite tearoom, is The Tea Cosy by The Rocks (near Harbour Bridge). They have a smaller range of tea but a neverending supply of hand-knitted tea cosies and amazing scones as well…as you can see, it is not just about the tea for me!

There are many teahouses in Sydney that I haven’t explored – I don’t seem to have the time at home to get out and about exploring them as much as when I am travelling…but in terms of quality tea, Dragon Well Chinese Teahouse in Pyrmont is great. Only a small selection of tea, but Lisa, the owner goes to China each season to choose the best tea (that is where I got my Da Yu, which I am now drinking)!

Right now, I am in Port Macquarie having a holiday by the beach. However, just nearby is another tearoom called Tea and Treasures and it has the most amazing selection of china. It is a teacup museum! I get so excited on every visit as the staff and owners choose something special to serve my tea in and then bring me other cups to draw! The cakes are great as well.

Thanks so much for these recommendations, Liz! Will be sure to check them out when it’s my turn to visit your hometown :) 

Images courtesy of Liz Steel 

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