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Tea as weak as the proverbial – and I swear I didn’t put in too much milk.

My mother would say the tea at Stella Cafe, in Hokitika, was as weak as maiden’s water. Which was a shame, because it was to be my last cup on the Coast, and I had high hopes for it.

We were under time pressure; Stella doesn’t open until 8am, and I had to be at the airport at 8.40am.

Nevertheless, when I heard they used loose-leaf tea, my heart soared, and I was glad we decided it was worth squeezing breakfast in before my flight.

My marks out of 10?

CUP 5:– A real teacup! Okay, it’s a pretty basic one, the kind you can buy in bulk at homeware stores, but it is, at least, a cup made for drinking tea from.

TEA 4: Twining’s English breakfast, made with loose-leaf tea. The trouble with the teapots that hold the tea in a little basket just under the lid is that they don’t draw very well. So if you don’t put in a decent amount of tea , the resulting brew is, well, not brewed.

SETTING 7: Comfortable, stylish cafe in downtown Hokitika, plenty of room and good food, and honey, a delicatessen and cheese room to boot. Pity about the tea.

Stella Cafe, 84 Revell St, Hokitika.

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