I stumbled upon North Tea Power quite recently, when I was shopping in the Northern Quarter with my sister. I spotted a chalkboard sign with 'N T P' scrawled above a picture of a coffee cup. Curious, as you can imagine, I popped in.
With a name like NTP I was expecting a coffee shop, but I didn't expect to find a huge range of tea. They have the largest range of loose leaf tea in Manchester; black, white, green, and herbal tea is on offer, and I was faced with a choice of Assam, Ceylon, Darjeeling, Early Grey, Pu-Erh. From what I can remember they have about twenty-five varieties on the back wall in large glass jars.
It's small, but more than well formed, with an almost scruffy, unkempt look, which only adds to its charm. Wooden floors, steel pillars, as well as what seems to be the obligatory blackboard menu boards, wooden tables, plenty of glasses, vintage penguin books. It has an air of Yorks Bakery about it because they sell the same stuff (V60 Drip Decanter - coffee maker), but it is distinctly different. There are fifteen hand-sketched pictures on the wall, which are based on the Michelin man; North Tea Power is whimsical, yet charming at the same time, and my cuppa was fantastic.
I opted for the Jasmine Phoenix Pearl green tea (£3.80), which was served in a filter coffee jug, on a small wooden tray with a china tea cup. They have four green tea's, ten black, and eight herbal, but I was happy with the Jasmine - which I don't normally like - my cup was mild, hydrating, and subtly scented with Jasmine, as it should be.
The food is great too. I could smell grilled cheese as I walked in, which was doing some serious stuff to my mouth. After choosing my tea, I placed an order for the grilled cheese sandwich - it looked too good to resist.
My sandwich was well-flavoured, and more than just a bit of cheese between two slices of bread. Chilli, thyme, and garlic flavoured my sarnei beautifully, and I even ate the crusts, which I normally leave.
Moving on from the savouries, on top of the cabinet of sandwiches are the tray baked desserts. Large alcoholic truffles, and brownies look temptingly good, but their linzer torte, which is a sweet pastry folded, and stuffed with jam, and won my heart in terms of aesthetics.
The service is fantastic; there was one particular barista (Tom), whom I observed pour a mean cup of coffee, with precision, concentration, and only a little flair. He was clearly trained, charismatic, and told me the scents and flavours in every tea leaf blend; Tom, is exactly what a proper tea and coffee shop needs. He bought my cup of tea to my table, and told me where the plugs were, as I searched hapless, eager to plug my laptop charger in. It's the service which sets North Tea Power apart from a lot of the many cafes in Manchester. Firstly, it sells loose-leaf tea. Secondly, there is a cool manner with a lot of coffee shops in Manchester, however, North Tea Power are leading the way with unbeatable service, which will have me back, time and time again.
They are up front and honest about what they sell; they stated what was on offer, I chose, and they let me sniff the jar of 'popcorn green tea', before I made my decision.
Open until 7pm during the week, and 6pm over the weekend, I believe North Tea Power (or NTP, if you're cool) is the achingly current find, which you can nestle in, with a rather humbling cup of tea...and maybe slice of linzer torte, too.