With all the buzz around coffee these days, tea sometimes gets neglected. And while New York’s experiencing a coffee revolution, there are just as exciting things happening in the world of tea. We can’t help but notice several new tea spots determined to change the way we see and sip tea. There’s the French-inspired Bosie Tea Parlor with a Bouley-trained pastry chef turning out killer macaroons and one-of-a-kind David’s Teas made with everything from popcorn to chili and chocolate. Here’s a few of our favorites…
Address: 275 Bleecker St., btwn. Jones and Cornelia Sts. (multiple locations)
Phone: (212) 414-8599
We can thank Canada for this exciting, new tea shop, which just recently opened in Manhattan. David’s Tea (pictured above) ups the ante with one-of-a-kind blends that will change the way you think about tea. Think we’re exaggerating? How about a hot cup of “Forever Nuts” with real apples, cinnamon and almonds or “chocolate chili chai” with all of the above. ”Movie night” has real popcorn in it and dulce banana has caramelized banana bits, coconut and rooibos. There’s hundreds (yes hundreds) of loose-leaf teas in stock, organized by category – black, green, herbal, oolong, rooibos, white, mate, pu’reh. Don’t get intimidated. The staff is beyond helpful even with the most high maintenance customer and let you smell and any of the teas. You can buy a few to-go and get a cup hot or cold right in the store. And with Valentines Day fast approaching, try a cup of “Read my lips” with a sexy combination of vanilla, peppermint, chocolate bits, spicy red peppercorns, and most notably, little red candy-lip sprinkles.
Address: 231 E. 5th St., btwn. Bowery & 2nd Avenue
Phone: (212) 677-7722
If you weren’t looking for it, you might miss this off-the-beaten path spot in the East Village and that would be ashamed because it’s worth seeking out. Podunk’s mismatched furniture and iced tea served in Mason Jars set a cozy, bed and breakfast-like scene. While there’s a laundry list of traditional teas to choose from, we recommend one of the ‘pot chocolates,’ which comes with cookies and cream. The delicious and unique ‘pot chocolates’ offerings include Earl Grey-infused dark chocolate, classic milk chocolate, rose and chili chocolate, chai-infused chocolate, and black apricot tea-infused chocolate. There’s even homemade chai teas, like coconut and Vietnamese vanilla or the cardamom and black pepper.
Bosie Tea Parlor
Address: 10 Morton Street between Bleecker and 7th Avenue
Phone: (212) 352-9900
Finally, tea gets its due at this new French tea parlor, which just recently opened in the West Village. This sleek spot(pictured right) not only boasts 80 varieties of tea, but also a pedigreed pastry chef, Damien Hergott, who worked at Bouley Bakery. The result is tea sandwiches made-to-order, including egg salad with thyme blossoms and chicken with curried mayo, quiche lorraine and plenty of other French classics. If that doesn’t convince you of its merits, then one bite of the lemon teacake or the salted caramel macaroon surely will.
Alice’s Tea Cup
Address: 102 W. 73rd Street & Columbus Avenue (multiple locations)
Phone: (212) 799-3006
Imagine stepping into one of Alice in Wonderland’s tea parties and you’ve got the idea. The perfect afternoon respite, this whimsical tea parlor with both an upper west and east side location has a lot more going for it than merely tea. Their baked goods rival some of the best in the city, including their fresh baked biscuit and spiced pumpkin scones. We’re even more excited about their health conscious tea selection with a remedy for whatever ails you. With cold season upon us, there’s ginger orange peach, an organic Indian black tea with ginger root, orange peel and ginger pieces. Or try the herbal detox blend with alphalpha, dandelion, nettle bush, plantain, red clover and mint. Our favorite option is the hard-to-find, gyokuro green tea, touted as the most superior or all Japanese green teas.
Radiance Tea House and Books
Address: 158 W. 55th St., between 6th and 7th Aves.
Phone: (212) 217-0442
This serene tea house in midtown feels like it’s anywhere but midtown Manhattan. In fact, Radiance Tea House (pictured right) is a veritable mecca for tea culture with its own book store dedicated to English and Chinese tea studies and over 100 teas to choose from. In keeping with the traditional Chinese and Taiwanese tea ceremony, Radiance uses clay tea ware, bamboo tea tools and mineral-infused water. The one-hour ceremony includes tea tasting, ceremony performance, and three teas off of the traditional and herbal menu. There’s homemade dumplings, wontons and freshly baked Asian pastries to complement your brew.
Two for the Pot
Address: 200 Clinton St., btwn. State Street & Atlantic Avenue
Phone: (718) 855-8173
Tucked away along the border of Brooklyn Heights and Cobble Hill is Two for the Pot, a local mainstay and mom-and-pop style tea shop that boasts superior knowledge and friendly service. There’s a stellar selection of teas, but what’s more, there’s an equally impressive stock of tea accessories, from pots to brewing equipment. There’s more than tea – although the selection of loose-leaf teas is quite impressive – there’s also roasted coffee, spices, exotic chocolates, local honey, and a variety of British treats.
Tea and Sympathy
Address: 108 Greenwich Ave., btwn. 12th and 13th Sts.
Phone: (212) 989-9735
If you’re on the hunt for quintessential British tea service, you need look no further than Tea and Sympathy in Greenwich Village. With a menu built on British classics, the likes of Yorkshire pudding and bangers and mash, it’s no surprise to find proper afternoon tea here, too. Aternoon tea here includes assorted finger sandwiches, scones with clotted cream, a selection of cakes, and of course, a steaming hot pot of tea. Tea and Sympathy also carries their own line of teas, available for dining in or taking home retail.
Lady Mendl’s Tea Salon
Address: 56 Irving Place between 17th and 18th Streets
Phone: (212) 533-4466
If you want to experience afternoon tea the way Englishwomen did centuries ago, you’ll want to visit Lady Mendl’s Tea Salon at the Inn at Irving Place. Set in a landmark townhouse built in 1834, the Victorian-style tea salon plays the part right down to the tea cups and tablecloths. This isn’t your typical afternoon tea. It’s a traditional tea service with five-courses, which includes classic finger sandwiches, fresh baked scones, a clotted cream, and yes, a fine selection of teas.
RG Writer: Ali Baker