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.
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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