Walking into T2, with its floor-to-ceiling stacks of bright orange boxes, you might wonder if you entered a Nike store by mistake. But those boxes don’t contain sneakers. This new Australian import offers more than 200 kinds of tea—and an entirely new way to enjoy it. “What I hated about tea were all the rules. The tea service, the temperature, the time you drank it… It’s like golf,” laughs founder Maryanne Shearer. “We have no rules here. Drink it warm, drink it cold, mix the flavors. Keep experimenting until you find the one you like!” Much like shopping for footwear, however, browsing can be overwhelming: in addition to tea paraphernalia, such as sifters, teapots, cups and flasks, there are dozens of small open containers of tea leaves. For those at a loss, T2 brews a variety of teas daily for tasting and there are experts on hand to offer guidance. “My goal is to get people drinking white tea,” says Shearer, who personally drinks 20 to 30 cups (“Most of them caffeine-free!”) a day. “It’s the purest of teas.” In a culture where most palates are used to sugary sodas, juices and lattes, Shearer admits white tea is a harder sell. “I’d say it took me about 10 years to get there.” The mantra of T2 may as well be: Just try it.
T2, 67 Prince Street, NY, NY 212-219-1956.