The BullRing in Birmingham is a great little shopping centre, and as the rents are quite high there are quite a few little shops that appear and disappear in the smaller units. One of the newer arrivals (about 3 months ago I'm reliably informed) is T2 - which is an unusual idea - a high end loose tea shop! Of course it's all packaged up for you to buy, and there are gadgets and gizmos and gift sets galore - but non of that matters if you don't like the tea!
So I found one of the entry level tea boxes, in its unassuming yellow box (presumably so it's not in the gift end of things). This was £5 for 10 little individually packaged teabags (I'd wrongly assumed it was all loose tea) with neat little brewing instructions and info on how to add milk or sugar (DON'T is the advice on most of them).
And here are the listed teas. Some duplicates of the more familiar things which is good.
I chose two of the more common ones to review - the Earl Grey (which I tend to drink at home) and the China Jasmine (which I have most days at work).
Here is a very uninformative picture of the Earl Grey. It was nice, not too overpowering and the quality of leaves was good. The 2-3 mins brewing time was probably spot on and I'd left it in for a little longer so it was stronger than I'd have liked but the flavours were good enough that it wasn't an issue. I think you could make a teapot with one of these bags quite happily so it'd be good for cafes.
The China Jasmine was similarly good quality and again I left it in a bit too long, but I do like my green teas strong. I liked that the packed told you to use 80 degree water as often you get people burning the delicate green teas then complaining about the harsh flavour! This lacked the sweetness and subtlety of my usual Jasmine Green (which is 4.5p a bag and not 50p a bag) and I did find myself craving that in this's place. Not something I'd chase down again but as I'm most likely to buy another multipack I'd happily drink it.
So overall I wasn't as impressed as I thought I'd be - but tea is a very personal experience and I think that sometimes it's more about finding brands that fit into those niches that you love. I'm certainly looking forwards to trying the other varieties in the box but I won't be too afraid to give away the flavours that I'm not as big a fan of. This shop is also amazing for gifts for tea drinkers and has so many cool things that I coveted for a few minutes before I made my selection. Maybe I just need to contact the company and get signed up on their tea mastery courses or pick up one of the many brewing gadgets to prevent me from getting called away as my tea brews.