It began with a fountain.
A five-tier structure consisting only of colourful, intricate china. Two parent teapots hovered above the ornamental feature, allowing a light red tea to cascade down the sides. I could hardly see it for the sun’s overpowering reflection on the window, but a quick glimpse enticed me into the store.
I’m not all too sure what I was expecting at first – perhaps a homage to Trainspotting, or else a small cafe serving brews and buns. But seconds later, our expressions mirrored Belle’s when she first entered the Beast’s library.
There were rows upon rows of tiny orange boxes lining the walls, labelled with every type of tea imaginable. There was a smelling counter, fitted with loose tea leaves for customers to inhale and another table to taste.
It is an Australian firm, branching into Scotland for the first time with the launch of its Glasgow store in the middle of bustling Buchanan Street. It is renowned for its wide range of exotic herbal, fruit, organic, white, black and green teas, and we did not want to ever leave.
But as much as we were in our element in this sea of tea, we had somewhere else to be in 20 minutes time.
As we grudgingly turned to leave, a bubbly girl approached us, a blue teapot in one hand and a brilliant smile on her face. Her hair was a vibrant shade of blue, and her glasses were just beautiful.
“Would you guys like to try some tea today?” she asked, but I’m 100% sure she already knew our answer.
Seconds later, we were standing in front of a wooden table holding mini paper cups, ready to try our first brew. In all honesty, I was preparing myself for the shuddering taste of any other fruit tea I had ever tried. But it didn’t come. As we took our first sip of Jade Mountain, our taste guide told us the ingredients: a hint of chocolate and sweet hazelnut praline.
“It’ll taste just like Ferrero Rocher,” she said, laughing at our wide-eyed expressions when the taste finally hit.
It was slightly warm, with a definite smooth nut taste. Its texture was much like you would expect – a watered down hot chocolate, but every bit as refreshing as a crisp iced tea.
We moved to our next treat: White Rose. A simple name, and an ever simple taste. It was fragrant, light, and made me feel like someone who has a random bike in their living room and has their life sorted. For me, it would be perfect in the sun, or for a calming night. It wasn’t my favourite, but I’ve never been one for floral teas.
Next was a tea that I really wanted to like.
I love lemons: lemon meringue pie, lemon sorbet, lemonade. But when I took a sip of T2’s Lemon Sorbet flavour, I couldn’t help but be a tad disappointed. In all honesty, I wasn’t expecting much – I went right off honey and lemon tea after I drank it for a week straight last year. But nonetheless, our bubbly server enticed me to even give it a go at home, and serve it cold with a dash of lemonade.
When I think of my childhood, I think of those little red and white hard boiled sweets that tasted like milk and strawberries all in one tiny treat. But since the age of nine, I have never been able to match the taste of the sweet treats. Until my trip to T2. Their Strawberries and Cream was a beautifully sweet brew served ice cold, and it transported me straight back to Australia. It reminded me of mountain-top picnics and pool-side chats.
The final tea I can remember tasting was most certainly my favourite. Our tea lady told us what it would taste like before it touched our lips: “You’ll feel like you are eating New York’s best pancakes”. Not only had I never been to New York, I wasn’t sure I believed her, much less that I would like the tea. But when the cinnamon met the vanilla in this tiny cup of perfection, I knew I was sold. The New York Breakfast tea felt as though I was drinking a deliciously warm blended pancake (I could have probably described this a little more eloquently). It was fantastic.
Perhaps it was because I was on my seventh shot of tea, but I had to physically stop myself from buying several boxes of the New York Breakfast and Strawberries and Cream – payday was still a few weeks away, after all.
My experience in T2 completely changed my perspective on tea – up until now, you would only find a traditional Scottish Blend or a well-brewed Tetley tea bag floating in my cat mug. But now, with a new well-cultured skip in my step, I want to explore the drink more. I want to experiment with iced teas, and even try a few black.
I cannot recommend paying this little store a visit – every clerk was quick to assure me that before I even thought about buying something, I simply had to taste it first to make sure it was perfect. The atmosphere was warm, friendly and, most importantly, completely encased in the gorgeous smell of freshly brewed tea.
Have you visited T2 in Glasgow, or perhaps somewhere else in the world? What do you think your favourite cuppa will be?