T2 not only sells tea — it celebrates it. Walking into the new shop at the Westgate entrance, walls lined with vibrant, cheery boxes (yellow for bags, orange for loose leaf) seem to greet you with a smile, along with a table stacked with tiny bowls of leaves and a collection of pretty teaware. Most will gravitate towards the free samples in the middle of the shop, where a selection of their most popular teas are lined up ready to go in jugs, but it’s also satisfying to wander round, sniffing different types and looking at all the boxes.
If you really love tea, T2 is an obvious haven. The selection of black teas is by no means limited to the usual range of breakfast, assam or darjeeling: black teas fill up almost an entire wall, next to rows and rows of fruit tisanes, oolong, green and white teas. In vogue at the moment are their range of chai teas, which include the new Popcorn Chai and creamier, chocolatey flavours. Their selection of teaware is also lovely: there are pretty teapots and ‘tea for one’ sets, mugs, teacups, and virtually anything else you can think of connected to the ceremony of making tea.
Where T2 shines is in the newer, more interesting types of tea that you wouldn’t find anywhere else
Its main downside is that it’s one of the pricier tea shops. Similar in price to Whittards, you would expect to pay more for a box of tea than you might in a supermarket, so for your daily English breakfast it’s perhaps better to stick to Tesco. Where T2 shines is in the newer, more interesting types of tea that you wouldn’t find anywhere else, and in the sense of ceremony it brings to the tea-drinking experience. Their colourful flasks are fitted with infusers for brewing on the go, and members of the T2 society can have theirs filled up for free on Fridays with any tea of their choosing. It’s a shame that T2 doesn’t have its own café, since it’d make a great place to chill and try out new teas (though they’ll brew up a sample of whatever you ask for in the shop). Paying for tea in a coffee shop can be painful, to say the least, since anyone can add hot water to a teabag — but at T2 the tea is exciting and different enough for the experience to be worthwhile.
For the traditional breakfast tea drinker: New York Breakfast, Sydney Breakfast, Orange Pekoe
For the sweet tooth: Creme Brûlée, Oolong Chocolate Chai, Caramel Brownie
For the adventurous: Apple Crumble, Pumping Pomegranate, Lemon Sorbet
For self-care: Sleep Tight, Toasty Warm, Happy Days