The Hot List: Coffee and tea get next-gen upgrades

Tapioca coffee: It's the only bubble cup cold drip coffee in town.
Tapioca coffee: It's the only bubble cup cold drip coffee in town. Photo: Melanie Desa

We're drinking… TAPIOCA COFFEE

Bubble tea and caffeine fans in Melbourne can now kill two cravings with one cup at Industry Beans in Fitzroy. The baristas are pouring single origin cold drip coffee (the estate rotates every fortnight) over soy and condensed milk with chewy, coffee-soaked tapioca balls at the bottom. It's the only bubble cup cold drip coffee in town.

Cute award: Sweet rooster buns from Din Tai Fung.

Cute award: Sweet rooster buns from Din Tai Fung. Photo: Charlie Sugiri

We're eating… CUTE BUNS

Those familiar with the Chinese Zodiac know that January 28 marks the Year of the Rooster. To celebrate, Din Tai Fung stores across Sydney and Melbourne have created these adorable bao filled with blueberry cream cheese. They're available until February 20 and 28 in the restaurants and cafe courts respectively. For the rest of the year, you can find adorable buns at Sydney's Chef Gallery, where they're shaped like little pigs and Gudetama (the lethargic Japanese egg cartoon).

Butterfly pea flower gives its distinctive colour to blue chai.

Butterfly pea flower gives its distinctive colour to blue chai. Photo: Supplied

We can't believe… THE COLOUR OF THIS TEA

Our instincts usually tell us to steer clear of eating anything blue in the natural world, but the indigo-blue butterfly pea flower is an exception. Its colour protects it from UV rays and it's completely safe to eat. When dried and made into tea it dyes water bright blue. Add a few drops of lemon or lime and the pH level changes, turning it purple. You can buy it online from bluechai.com. Try one of their tisanes, chai mix or buy the powder and experiment at home.

We're obsessed with... BATH BREW

Ever wished you could soak in a tub of tea? Bath Brew is the bath bomb of 2017, a comically oversized tea bag that turns a tub into a wellness tonic ($14.95 each). Each is blended and packed in Australia using local and organic ingredients where possible, ranging from citrus and seaweed to clay and essential oils. Choose from milk bath, green tea, riverstone or deep sea. pagethirtythree.com/collection/bath-brew

Take advantage of seasonal bounty and make some peach dumplings.

Take advantage of seasonal bounty and make some peach dumplings. Photo: Supplied

We're craving… PEACH DUMPLINGS

Peaches are in season and easy to turn into dessert. Try our take on this recipe from The Pioneer Woman: cut frozen shortcrust pastry into triangles, about a third of a pizza slice wide, then roll around individual, peeled peach segments. Pack the parcels tightly together in a buttered baking dish. Mix together a cup of melted butter, 1½ cups of sugar and one teaspoon of vanilla essence, then pour the mixture over the dumplings, alongside half a can of Sprite. Sprinkle with cinnamon and bake at 175C for 30 minutes, or until browned. Serve with vanilla ice-cream.

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We're reading… THE ETHICAL CARNIVORE

Author Louise Gray only ate animals she killed for a year and wrote a book about it. In an exploration of reconnecting with the natural world, she starts small and shucks her own oysters, feels dreadful when she thinks she's injured and not killed a rabbit, before eventually moving up to a stag. Gray also looks into meat processing, halal slaughter, abattoirs and even sourcing road kill to eat. If you're not willing to do it yourself, the least you can do is read about it.

Each of Karen Morton's Kaz ceramics is unique.

Each of Karen Morton's Kaz ceramics is unique. Photo: Supplied

We're buying… KAZ CERAMICS

Based on Victoria's Mornington Peninsula, Karen Morton has a way with clay. She sells her craft under the name of Kaz, each piece made by hand and therefore unique. We love the Eclipse platter, with rough black and salmon brush strokes over faint blue, the speckle bowls and ceramic bowl sets with gold scalloped edges. Keep an eye out for workshops across Australia, no experience required. kazmorton.com.au

We're watching… BIRTH OF SAKE

After an exhausting process, director Erik Shirai, also the cinematographer for Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations, was granted access to Tedorigawa Yoshida sake brewery in Northern Japan. The result is a breathtakingly beautiful insight into a 2000-year old tradition and the characters behind it – from the masters through to the sixth generation and what happens when they spend six months of the year working together through winter. Available on Netflix: birthofsake.co