REVIEW: Tea Sutra, Newcastle

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You can’t go wrong with a cuppa.

But you can be spoilt for choice.

Tea Sutra teahouse, in Newcastle, has more than 100 different varieties of tea to choose from.

Fans of modern coffee chains may be disappointed with the lack of wifi and drinks of the “super-mocha-choc-hold-the-whip”.

 But if you’re seeking an oasis of calm from the busy city centre, trekking up two flights of stairs to Tea Sutra’s relaxed, Buddha-decked interior might be just your cuppa.

 You’ll need to apply a little Zen-like calm to wade through a menu packed with black, green, white, yellow tea and more.

 Each is accompanied by a tastebud-tempting description, which eventually led me to settle on a cup of marzipan rooibos.

 My two tea-testing friends went for an Earl Grey and a green tea respectively, floundering a little out of their coffee comfort zones.

 No teabags here – the tea arrives loose leaf and with its own strainers and pots, some arriving at your table in the guise of elephants or camels.

 Food also takes a backseat at Tea Sutra, though there is a selection of wraps, homemade soup and all-day meals chalked up on a board at the back of the first-floor cafe.

 The teahouse is a haven for vegetarians and vegans and offers a selection of ethically-lovely cakes and raw food snacks, including tiny “cheese” cakes and lemon drizzle.

 I treated myself to sweet potato soup – served with wholemeal bread – and a miniature raw coconut macaroon.

 The soup took a while to arrive and could have been warmer, but the macaroon was a sweet, yet guilt-free, nibble while I was waiting.

 My tea was deliciously different, infused with the rich flavour of almonds, as well as packing a heavenly smell.

 It’s worth checking Tea Sutra out just for the sight and smell of teas stacked up on wooden shelves like an old-fashioned chemist’s.

 If supping tea isn’t enough to relax you, Tea Sutra also offers a range of alternative therapies, including massages and herbal medicine.

 But not much change from a tenner for a cuppa, soup and a snack was the less relaxing sting in the tail.

Jane O’Neill