Wyndham Tea

The Waterloo Tea sign, hanging outside Wyndham Tea, Waterloo Tea's branch in Cardiff's Wyndham Arcade.Wyndham Tea is the third of Cardiff’s well-respected Waterloo Tea chain. Most unexpectedly for the Coffee Spot, I’ve actually visited them all in the order that they opened, starting with the original out in Pen Y Lan and continuing with Washington Tea in Penarth. Wyndham Tea is Waterloo Tea’s first foray into the city centre and, pleasing enough, is on the Wyndham Arcade, one arcade down from Uncommon Ground and two down from The Plan.

What you get with Wyndham Tea is everything you’ve come to expect from Waterloo Tea: a fantastic range of over 60 excellent loose-leaf teas, superb coffee (espresso and pour-over) from an ever-changing cast of roasters, fabulous food, all prepared on-site and a range of delicious cakes (now all baked on-site in the kitchen upstairs). All of this is in Waterloo Tea’s classiest setting yet, spread over two floors and spilling out into the arcade itself, where the pink and gold sofas make it hard to miss.

Best of all is that Waterloo Tea has now moved to full table service, reinforcing its notion of a “slow setting”, somewhere where you’re encourage to sit and linger; comfort, with a touch of class.

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • Wyndham Tea, the 3rd of Cardiff's Waterloo Teas, is, pleasingly, in the Wyndham Arcade.
  • This is the view approaching from St Mary Street. There's plenty of 'outside' seating.
  • Meanwhile, this is the view coming from the other direction.
  • As well as the usual tables, there are two colourful sofas: this, to the right of the door...
  • ... and this, to the left.
  • I spy an upstairs.
  • The arcade in all its glory.
  • There's a helpful sign, in case you don't know where you are.
  • Talking of helpful, the food menus are posted in the windows.
  • Stepping inside, you arrive at the counter, which is at the right-hand end of Wyndham Tea.
  • The seating (seen here from the far end) streches away to your left.
  • If you missed out on the sofas in the arcade, there are more in here...
  • ... as well as some very comfy-looking chairs at the tables.
  • Both sofa and table have prime spots by the window.
  • The rest of the seating is an interesting mix, including this communal table...
  • ... along with more four-person ones.
  • Green chairs, anyone?
  • There's a line of two-person tables running the width of Wyndham Tea.
  • Another sofa, a smaller one this time, against the back wall.
  • If you can't find anything downstairs, right at the far end, you'll find these stairs...
  • ... at the top of which, there's an interesting set of shelves...
  • ... beyond which is a big, spacious room.
  • Meanwhile, turn to your right and you'll find an even bigger room!
  • The view back towards the first of the two upstairs rooms.
  • Upstairs is also where you'll find the kitchen. All Wyndham Tea's food is prepared here...
  • ... while cakes for all three Waterloo Teas are baked here. These are for the original branch.
  • As ever, interesting facts are written on the walls...
  • ... including this graphic showing the different types of tea.
  • The light-fittings are also quite unusual...
  • This one in particular doesn't look like it's hanging straight!
  • These, however, were my favourites.
  • Aren't they lovely?
  • The walls are also decorated with the work of local artists (which are for sale).
  • You know you are doing something well when the opposition comes in for tea.
  • There are a couple of retail shelves downstairs. This one is for tea and coffee kit...
  • ... while this one has the odd bag of tea for sale!
  • The counter, and the area around it, are delightfully uncluttered.
  • Wyndham Tea has full table service, so you only need to come up here if you're being nosey.
  • All of Waterloo Tea's 60 types of tea are written on the wall, along with the coffee!
  • You know, that's an awful lot of tea.
  • The different boilers are set to different temperatures, depending on the tea.
  • You might also want to come up here to check out the cake.
  • Waterloo Tea has always been known for its cake and Wyndham Tea is no exception.
  • Cake close up.
  • However, enough of this tea stuff. I want coffee!
  • Waterloo Tea rotates roasters on a regular basis. This is what was on offer during my visit.
  • It made for a very lovely flat white!
  • I was particularly impressed with the latte art.
  • However, Wyndham Tea also offers pour-over uisng the Kalita Wave and Aeropress.
  • The filter offering was also a Guatemalan, this time from Workshop.
  • Lovely presentation (I was sharing this one!).
  • I love the big handles on the cups.
  • Finally, I'd strung things out until brunch time: shakshuka - baked eggs in a spicy sauce!
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The hallmark of a good chain, in my opinion, is that each branch is different, but all are instantly recognisable. London’s Beany Green manages it with off-the-wall artwork, while TAP succeeds without even mentioning the name. Closer to home, Bristol-based regional chain, Boston Tea Party, is also a past-master at the art. For Waterloo Tea, the trademark features are the menu of different loose-leaf teas painted on the wall, plus a sense of understated elegance which reaches a pinnacle in Wyndham Tea.

Long and thin, Wyndham Tea has windows overlooking the arcade, where, in addition to the aforementioned sofas, there are more conventional tables. Downstairs, there’s a single, large room, while upstairs has a pair of cosy meeting rooms. Entering at the far right-hand end, you’ll find the counter to your right, slightly detached from the main seating area. This means that there’s plenty of space for those who are just there for takeaway tea/coffee/cake (although, seriously, what are you doing? Slow down, take a seat, enjoy) without encroaching on those sensible folks who have chosen to stay.

These wise customers have an excellent selection of seating, from sofas (one in the window, another at the back), comfy chairs (a small group, also in the window, near the foot of the stairs) and numerous tables. There’s a large, communal table in the centre of the room, several four-person tables (including one in the window) and a row of two-person tables for a slightly more intimate setting.

Wyndham Tea’s incredibly bright, with the arcade flooded with natural light, the generous windows ensuring that most of this makes its way inside. This is aided by the décor: white-painted walls and ceiling, plus light wooden floorboards/furniture, all supplemented by numerous lights.

At the far left-hand end, a flight of stairs runs intriguingly up the left-hand wall, before turning right and depositing you roughly in the middle of the upstairs. The left-hand end contains a large space which can be booked out as a meeting room, while there’s another, small room at the right-hand end. Behind a door marked “staff only” is Wyndham Tea’s large kitchen (roughly above the counter). All the food is prepared here, while the cakes for all three branches are baked here, regular shipments being sent out to Pen Y Lan and Penarth.

Talking of food, Wyndham Tea has full breakfast and lunch menus with some interesting options. Having sampled the cakes on previous visits to the other branches, I decided to go savoury with the shakshuka: baked eggs in a spiced tomato and pepper sauce with coriander and yoghurt, plus toast on the side. It was amazing, tasting every bit as good as it sounds.

And, of course, there’s the coffee. Don’t be fooled by the “Tea” part of the name. Wyndham Tea’s a true multi-roaster, with the sort of dedication to quality that would make many a speciality coffee shop weep with envy. With different roasters every fortnight, there’s an espresso and three to four different options for filter.

I got things going with a washed Guatemalan from Has Bean as a flat white, smooth and well-balanced. I followed this with a V60 (Kalita Wave and Aeropress are also available) of another washed Guatemalan, this time from Workshop, a lovely, rich coffee that was full of body.

December 2016: Wyndham Tea was a runner-up for the 2016 Best Breakfast Award.

31-33 WYNDHAM ARCADE • CARDIFF • CF10 1FH
http://waterlootea.com +44 (0) 29 2037 6249
Monday 08:30 – 18:00 Roaster Guests (espresso + filter)
Tuesday 08:30 – 18:00 Seating Tables, Sofas, Comfy Chairs (Tables, Sofas outside)
Wednesday 08:30 – 18:00 Food Breakfast, Lunch, Cake
Thursday 08:30 – 18:00 Service Table
Friday 08:30 – 18:00 Cards Mastercard, Visa
Saturday 08:30 – 18:00 Wifi Free (with code)
Sunday 10:00 – 17:30 Power Yes
Chain Local Visits 21st September 2015

If you enjoyed this Coffee Spot, check out the rest of Cardiff’s speciality coffee scene with the Coffee Spot Guide to Cardiff.


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