Historically, I have not personally been the biggest fan of T2. There are just other brands whose teas I enjoy more. But it’s still a loss to see yet another tea shop have to shrink operations. Roswell articulated this beautifully, so I’ll just add that places like T2 have an important role. It’s where a close friend discovered rice oolong and sticky chai, which probably wouldn’t have happened otherwise because she’s not a tea nerd. With DavidsTea having shuttered most of its physical stores and Teavana long gone, there just aren’t a lot of intro-level, friendly, physical shops for people to discover tea in. I love my local and specialty shops, but I also recognize that they can sometimes be intimidating for beginners, or people can just walk right by thinking that these shops aren’t for them. And not every place has a local specialty shop. The shiny, welcoming mall store served an important role in introducing non-tea people to tea, and now fewer people are going to have that experience. I’m not an economist but it’s hard to imagine that there won’t be a knock-on effect for the industry from these collective closures. (Admittedly, I could just be a dinosaur who doesn’t understand the internet economy because I bought my first loose leaf at a Teavana store, but to my mind there’s something physical about that first tea discovery that doesn’t translate to a screen).
So, with all that said! Yes of course I made a big purchase from T2’s closing sale! This was the only oolong I got; the oolong selection was slim. The last mint oolong I had was Butiki’s, which was of course sublime. Let’s stipulate up front that Stacy’s was better. This one has its merits as a migraine tea, which is what I made it for. It’s a very light oolong mixed with a very strong spearmint. The aroma of the spearmint is actually so strong that it made my partner a little nauseous even though he likes spearmint just fine. He literally had to leave the room, which only sort of helped because the smell wafted through the whole place. It just smells like mint gum to me. For a migraine, though, it’s great. The spearmint is really strong, which helps break through the migraine fog a bit, and it does double duty as a caffeine delivery system. The oolong itself is tightly rolled but quickly unfurls into fairly small, torn leaves. It’s just kind of light and nondescript relative to the spearmint. I’m inclined to try this again when I don’t have a migraine, just to see if my impressions are different. This serves a very particular purpose when my head is imploding, but it might hit differently when I’m feeling clear.