Back in July, I visited New York City for a short trip! Some of my tea friends were meeting up to do an informal tea tour, so I tag along!
New York City is a place I have visited in the past but it was before I developed my interest in tea. Therefore, I didn’t visit a single tea shop when I was there! Ever since then, I have wanted to go back because of the rich tea culture. It just so happened that Rachel (I Heart Teas) had already planned to visit, so I went along for the ride.
It was great to see and hang out with some of the tea friends I had just met for the first time at the World Tea Expo back in June! I saw Sara (Tea Happiness), Jo (Scandalous Tea), and Nicole (Tea for Me Please), again! I even made a new friend, Verna (msvlh)!
I am really grateful that Sara and Jo who planned a weekend excursion for Rachel, and I was able to take part in some of it. Despite only being in New York City for 5 days, I visited a grand total of 10 tea shops and attended 1 tea event! While I wish I could write about all of the places, I decided to dive into my key 5 highlights while in New York City.
My favourite places were (in the order I visited them): Setsugekka East Village, Baccarat Hotel (Aged Tea and Chocolate Pairing event with Mansa Tea and Gabriel Kreuther), 29B Teahouse, Té Company Tea, T shop and Harney’s & Sons Soho.
Now with an ‘itinerary” in hand, let’s go!
Setsugekka East Village
I have a strong fondness for Japan after living there for a few months last year. Therefore, whenever the chance arises, I always try to visit a Japanese tea shop. Setsugekka is a small narrow shop and my friends and I showed up right before closing. We were lucky enough that the staff was kind enough to still serve us.
We ended up getting a Matcha tasting which included 3 teas from Uji, Kyoto: House Matcha, Senjunomukashi and House Ground. It was a lovely variety of teas ranging from grassy to delicate. I really enjoyed my time there, even if it was short!
Setsugekka also grinds fresh matcha once a week and offers sweets and desserts. They also have specials like iced watermelon matcha and workshops on how to make matcha. I tried to go back another day while I was in NYC but it was sadly closed. That being said, I would still definitely like to go back to see the matcha being grounded!
Company: Setsugekka East Village
Address: 74 E 7th St, New York, NY 10003, United States
Baccarat Hotel x Mansa Tea x Kreuther Chocolate
While the Baccarat Hotel does have a tea lounge (which was beautiful), I was lucky enough to take part in Mansa Tea and Kreuther Chocolate’s Aged Tea and Chocolate pairing event the hotel was hosting! It was such a treat and an overall lovely and relaxing educational experience.
The guests were all introduced to an aged tea and then the corresponding two chocolate paring. There were three teas: Bulang ra pu’er, old tea ripe pu’er and golden flower brick. The pairings I enjoyed the most was the Menghai 2009 tea with the Oatmeal Cookie praline and Anhua 2013 with the French Baguette chocolate! Since I had some chocolate leftover (I was savouring it), I was given a little pouch to take it home in. Talk about fancy! I found the experience really fun and learned more about aged teas and chocolate pairing. I want to go to more tea pairing events in the future!
Address: 28 W 53rd St, New York, NY 10019, United States
In comparison to the traditional feel of Setsugekka or the glamourous vibes of the Baccarat, 29B Teahouse had a very modern feel to it that I quite enjoyed. It would make a great place to sit down and relax which is what my tea friends and I did!
Jo strongly suggested the Sparkling Darjeeling which sounded perfect. I was happy when it was all the lovely things about Darjeeling: malt, sweet, cocoa tasting, with a hint so fizz and no astringency. Pairing it with cheese, flatbread, and honeyed nuts was fantastic!
Company: 29B Teahouse
Address: 29 Avenue B, New York, NY 10009, United States
Té Company Tea
I had heard a lot of good things about Té Company, so I ended up going in the morning right as the shop opened. The shop is very small and narrow with only seating for 10 or so people (if even). I ended up drinking a flight of Taiwanese oolongs: #2028, Oriental Beauty, and Tieguanyin. The flavours went from sweet and vegetal from #2028 to some sweet malt and floral notes via the Oriental Beauty and ending off with the dark charcoal of the Tieguanyin.
I paired the teas with the Blueberry Linzer and the famed Pineapple Linzer. I also ordered some Medjool dates and walnuts. While I know everyone loves the pineapple linzer, I admit I enjoyed the blueberry one and the walnuts slight more! I was also able to taste cheesecake which was delicious as well! This tea shop is worth a visit if you like Taiwanese teas! Just make sure to go early since the shop is rather small.
Company: Té Company Tea
Address: 163 W 10th St, New York, NY 10014, United States
When I entered the shop, I was rather surprised that it had a nice open space in the middle with tables lining the walls. Since it was quiet, I decided to sit at the counter for a guided tasting and chatted with the staff, Huyn. I tried the Da Yu Ling oolong and Red Water oolong. I found they had a nice contrast between them. Whereas the Da Yu Ling leaned more vegetal, the Red Water was matty and sweet with a charcoal flavour coming through.
However, what I really enjoyed about T Shop was Huyn, who was patient with me as I asked questions, wrote notes and took pictures. I found the experience very educational and I never felt rushed or hurried. However, there are events such as Marker Monday where people brew and share tea or Mysterious Tea Tasting which seem more upbeat! I find Mystery tastings very informative so, I will have to come back again for that!
Company: T Shop
Address: 247 Elizabeth St, New York, NY 10012, United States
Harney & Sons SoHo
I’ve heard of Harney & Sons but admittedly didn’t know much about the company so, I decided to give the SoHo shop a quick visit! From what I had seen, everything had a rather traditional feel, so I was pleasantly surprised when I walked into the shop and it was modern meets traditional. While the tin boxes had a classic-ness to them, the rest of the shop was open and bright.
The staff was friendly, sweet and attentive. I was quickly offered samples and told that I could try a cup of any of the tea and also take a sample tea home during each visit (after check in online). I opted for “SoHo” which seemed only fitting. I had expected the sample to be enough for one cup, but I was given a little pouch that had enough for a few! I really enjoyed that because I know even for myself, it is easy to brew incorrectly. This means that someone can really hone in on if they like tea or not. I am excited to try some SoHo and reminisce about my trip!
Company: Harney & Sons SoHo
Honourable Mention: Floating Mountain Tea House
I want to first say, thank you to Sara and Jo for selecting all these tea shops! I had such a blast during my trip. As cheesy as it sounds, it was nice to hang out with friends and chat about tea. While I arrived at Té Company on my own, but everything became so much more fun when all my tea friends showed up! I can’t wait to go back!
Sara has a list of her NYC Tea Recommendations and her reviews on them!
Nicole has also visited these shops (and more), so make sure to check out all the tea places she has visited!
The question of the post: Have you been to NYC before?