How and why we began this journey...
Established in 2008, the founding of Waterloo Gardens Teahouse came about after a series of fortunate events. When the local butcher decided to close his doors it was a loss to the community. We then thought that it would be nice to create a place that could act as a hub for the area.
The main objective was to have a venue of outstanding quality which was welcoming to people from all backgrounds. No airs, graces or pretence – just a relaxed atmosphere with something different to offer from the norm.
A coffee shop seemed like the obvious thing to open up, but it didn't feel pioneering as good coffee shops has already been created by others.
However, it always surprised us that whenever we used to go out, and ask for tea, we would invariably be served something that was close to undrinkable.
As the saying goes, ‘Drink tea at home and coffee when you go out’.
So a Teahouse it would be…
We tracked down the best teas that we could get our hands on, involving many hours of research, meetings, travel and tastings – research which is still ongoing. Our list of teas would, we hoped, offer something for everyone. Every single tea selected to go on our list was carefully tasted and compared against other similar teas, to ensure that we stocked only the best that is available. (If you aren’t able to pop in to see us then you can buy the tea online and we will post it out to you.)
In the café, we didn’t expect everybody to suddenly drop coffee in favour of tea, so we ensured that the coffees served were as good as you could get. The beans are always used between one and three weeks of roasting. We change the coffee that we serve regularly, to allow our regulars to appreciate the nuances between coffee of different origin, processing method and roast style. If you normally drink coffee in one of the large coffee chains, then we’d like to show you to how coffee should taste…
Along with a cup of tea or coffee, we liked the idea of having delicious cakes. Not the cakes we are so used to seeing in all the chains – frozen, bland, pre-packaged, generic. All of our cakes are now made in house, at Wyndham Arcade. When you try them, you will see what all the fuss is about!
Our theme colour was chosen to be orange. Why Orange? Well, in the olden days, tea was exported from the East to the West, via Holland. If a tea was deemed good enough, it would go to the Dutch Royal Family, hence being graded as ‘orange’. It is from this that the term ‘orange pekoe’ is derived, which is a grading of tea.
There were a million artists living a stones throw away from our original Teahouse, so we thought it be a good idea to have a place where they could exhibit their work. Along with established and internationally renowned artists, we wanted to provide the opportunity to artists who had never had a chance to be exhibited before.
We now have galleries in all three stores,underlining our commitment to the arts.
Instead of taking hefty commissions, we suggest that 20% of all sales should go to the artists charity of choice.
Combining all of the above resulted in "Waterloo Gardens Teahouse". Our baby, and a project that we poured our hard work and love into. Regulars may notice that we continuously tweak what we offer. The cafe sector is fast moving and we aim to offer what is current as well as setting new benchmarks within the industry.
In in the Spring of 2011 we thought it would be nice to dip our toe into the world of wholesale tea. Waterloo Tea can now be found in Dublin, Edinburgh, Paris, Amsterdam, Adelaide, London, Berlin, Budapest and Dubai. Having gained knowledge on the ‘front line’ we feel we are well placed to offer advice on areas such as tea menus, equipment and service.
In the Summer of 2013 we opened our second teahouse - "Washington Tea" in Penarth.
Summer 2014 saw "Wyndham Tea" open in Cardiff city centre.
Our drive behind these was to deliver what we are passionate about, in buildings of character.
Please see the specific pages for more details on our teahouses.