This article first appeared in The Independent Newspaper. Read more about #EverythingEastEnd here
Happiness is sipping hot tea on a cold day with warm people, and you can find such bliss at the Plain T-Loft in Southampton. Plain T is a handcrafted tea company founded and run by an entrepreneurial couple, Tathiana and Alessandro Teixeira, who travel the farthest stretches of the world to bring the finest blends home with them.
Situated in a tucked-away location behind a large, glass garage door lies the naturally lit oasis — a historic ice warehouse with lofted, 16-foot-high ceilings, housing the Teixeiras’ creations. When you enter, you are greeted by white brick walls and the blissful aroma of tea guiding you toward relaxation. The creative decor includes tea in teardrop-shaped hanging glass planters, a wall of blends, with a Ralph Lauren couch and a tasting bar alongside.
The T-Loft is the production facility for Plain-T but also a place to experience and escape. Envision bringing your entire family for a palatable day of worldly wellness education, or a group of friends that includes the health-conscious or non-alcoholic drinker. It’s an idyllic location for those seeking something untraditional, but still offers a cozy, inviting setting.
“Tea tasting is a simple, time-honored ritual, and one that we think you’ll enjoy! Experiment yourself, or invite your circle of friends for an evening tea-tasting party. After all, tea tasting is an art — not a science. Keep it simple!” Tathiana explained. “Whether you are a tea connoisseur or a first-time tea drinker, or your choice is based on flavor, aroma, country of origin, or caffeine content, Plain-T has a tea for you. Choose from orthodox, flavored, special blends, wellness & detox, herbal infusions, or matcha,” she added. Matcha powder, available for tastings and purchase, is powdered green tea leaves with health benefits.
Tea is the second most consumed beverage in the world, following water. Yet, it seems many are unfamiliar with the variety of flavors available to them. An incredibly unique drink is the Lychee nut flower, served in a wine glass. It starts off the size of a chestnut — green tea leaves tied together with a cotton thread — and as the hot water pours over the tea, it opens up like a flower within a minute’s time. It’s an experience for the eyes as much as the tastebuds. The bar has all its blends available for tastings, served in the finest teaware. Other notable flavors include chai, Ceylon mango decaf, apricot, and passion fruit.
Tathiana revealed, “Both Alex and I drink tea throughout the day. My favorite this time of the year is genmaicha (Japanese green tea with roasted and popped rice), and Alex’s is our detox white hibiscus (a Plain-T exclusive blend of white tea, hibiscus, and detox cistus incanus).”