I'm attempting to cut down on the drinking at the moment. It may not be going entirely to plan – I spent Friday evening drinking wine and necking shots of Limoncello with my family – but I am at least making a token effort.
Clearly this has left a gaping hole in my life, so when T2 invited me to a masterclass I decided to see if I could drown my sorrows with tea rather than booze. I already love tea – my friend and I took a 4 month supply of Yorkshire Gold teabags with us when we were travelling (because tea is an essential) – but I have to admit I'm pretty lazy when it comes to seeking out new varieties.
T2 is an Australian brand which has recently begun opening stores in the UK. Their Birmingham store opened around 4 months ago, but I'd previously heard of them from my above-mentioned friend who raves about their London store. I have to admit, I'm a sucker for good packaging so even before I tried any tea I was a little bit in love with their branding. To be honest, they could put almost anything in those boxes and I'd be tempted to buy it.
During the masterclass, I was shown how to use their signature Teamaker to brew various teas & iced teas. T2 have around 200 varieties of tea to choose from, so the chances you'll find one you're into are pretty high. My personal recommendations are the Spi Chai – a blend of all the spices that go into standard chai tea, but without the black tea – and the Packs a Peach, a Lipton's Iced Tea-esque blend of peach, papaya, apple and chicory which was served iced. I took a box of the Spi Chai home and it even managed to convert my non-tea-drinking boyfriend.
I also had my first taste of Matcha tea, which is a powder made of the entire tea leaf. Matcha seems to be everywhere at the moment, hailed as the next saviour of our planet, healer of diseases, instant youth restorer etc etc. All this marketing hype has had the entirely opposite effect as intended for me – I have avoided it like the plague. Hipster health trends just ain't my thing. My first taste of the Matcha, made with 80 degree water, didn't do much to change my mind. Let's just say that it definitely tasted like it was good for you.
All was not lost though; next we used the cinnamon matcha to make a matcha latte. After whisking the matcha in a tiny bit of water, we whisked with soya milk until frothy and add a little bit of honey. This was a game changer; consider me a matcha convert. Next time you see me, I may have transformed into a 6 foot supermodel with zero wrinkles. That, or I'll just be sipping a matcha latte. At £24 a tin, it's not cheap, but I loved it so much I couldn't help myself. I now have a tin of matcha in my cupboard; WHO AM I?!
Throughout the tea masterclass, the staff were incredible enthusiastic and knowledgeable. They passed on lots of information such as perfect brew times for different teas and facts about how the different teas were made. Even if you're not booked in for a masterclass, you can pop into the store and they'll be on hand to answer questions and make you up a sample if there's any flavours you want to try. I'll definitely be back at T2 very soon – I've got a kitchen cupboard crying out to be filled with little orange boxes!
Thanks to T2 for inviting me to take part in their complimentary masterclass. Their Birmingham store can be found in Upper Mall West, Bullring.