Craave Tea Cocoa (formerly Bean & Leaf), Burleigh Heads

JUNE 2014: Craave Tea Cocoa (formerly Bean & Leaf) changed locations in 2013. Please note the new address – 2B/9 Ern Harleigh Drive, Burleigh

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I’ve stopped in at Burleigh Heads to talk to the master of bean and leaf, well actually to one of the ‘knowledge banks’ of coffee, tea and chocolate on the Gold Coast – Peter Mangler.

Wine connoisseurs have long known the importance of terroir. The elements of terroir, such as geography, geology and climate, have great bearing on the quality and distinctive characteristics of wine, which is why terroir is the basis for the French appellation system, Appellation d’origine controllée (AOC).

In a similar way to AOC, Chinese classify their peurh tea by vintage year, region, cultivation method, season and grading. In any reputable tea house in the East you will  encounter not only a myriad of tea choices, varieties which are beneficial for different health purposes, teas from different regions and varying in age including century old large black ‘bricks’ of tea, but also the hospitality of the tea ceremony itself, an age-old tradition of service. On such a visit, we cannot help but remark how pedestrian and philistine most Australians are in our knowledge and choice of beverage!

Bean&Leaf1Peter aims to change that. Craave Tea Cocoa is really a showroom that he works out of, rather than within. He talks to me about ‘origin’ coffee, tea and chocolate in the same way that we talk about wine by region or maker. His shelves are packed with coffee from Guatemala, South America, Asia and Africa, mostly organic and Fair Trade.  Teas originate in Ceylon, India, China, Taiwan and Japan. There’s a sign in the shop, “If we don’t have it we will find it.”

As we chat, he pours tea into china cups for us to share and tells me about his wholesale business and the rising knowledge and awareness of coffee origins on the Gold Coast. Australians, he notes, are becoming aware not only or ‘origin’ but also of raw products, such as raw cacao and chocolate. It seems that we are beginning to come of age at last! I gaze around at the organic coffee syrups, the range of chai teas and the myriad variety of products available in this shop.

I taste the origin chocolate after I leave, its dark smoothness devoid of the milkiness of Belgian chocolate, melting over my tongue, washed down with an equally smooth organic iced coffee. It’s a new sensation, and I realise that as a result of this meeting, my tastes have changed. I’ve turned a corner and am on a different road to understanding.

2B/9 Ern Harley Drive, Burleigh Heads, Queensland 4220

Phone/Fax: 5520 1983 Mob: 0417 797 770

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