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Amazing flavors and unique varieties: 14 places to try tea in New York

'30.03.2023'

Nadezhda Verbitskaya

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No matter what kind of tea you prefer, there are places in New York where you can relax with a book or chat with friends over a cup of tea. Ny eater.

But first things first: tea leaves come from the same plant, Camellia sinensis. It grows on the highest mountains of Taiwan, in the humid valleys of Assam (India), in the shady bushes of Japan and on the volcanic soils of equatorial Kenya.

After being plucked, the tea leaves are immediately heated to produce green tea. Or left to oxidize into black tea. White tea is made from new buds still covered in fine white hairs, and pu-erhs have been fermented for decades. Herbal teas, or tisanes, are not made from tea leaves, but from the fruits and roots of other plants.

Here are the best New York establishments for tea lovers.

Cuppa Tea

This small shop specializes in strong and hot Hong Kong-style milk tea. At the ever-crowded Cuppa Tea at Tangram Mall, you can see spectacular jets of hot tea falling from as high as the brewer's hand can reach. The signature milk tea is very strong, so it's a great way to wake up. But be warned: queues can be long not only for tea, but also for pineapple bun and egg waffle.

The Tea Pavilion at Genesis House

The stately yet cozy tea pavilion at Genesis House features an abundance of Korean tisanes (unique in New York City). For their preparation, not tea leaves are used, but herbs and fruits. For example, the mulberry leaf, wild pear and quince collected by the Seoul Arumjigi Cultural Guardians Foundation. Take off your shoes, go up to the tea room and sit on outdoor chairs with a book and tisane.

On the subject: Rare condiments and unique spices: NYC has a shop that chefs adore

Te Company

Silence reigns in this charming Taiwanese tearoom in the West Village. They do not talk here, so as not to disturb the peace that tea gives. Taiwanese-American co-founder Elena Liao buys tea from small farmers in the mountains of Taiwan.

Paquita

This cozy West Village tea room features nearly a hundred varieties of tea, with signature blends such as Young Hyson blueberry green tea or Assam black tea with cocoa and dates stand out. The copper canisters for tea come with handwritten labels showing ingredients, instructions, and caffeine levels. Lined up along the left wall were rows of decaffeinated teas. At the back is a small display of snacks such as tahini chocolate chip cookies.

Cha An

In 2004, Tomoko Yagi opened the doors of Cha An. From then to this day, people line up on the stairs to enter a Japanese paradise with tatami benches and washi paper lamps. This is a global catalog of teas, but they specialize in sencha and matcha.

  • 230 E 9th St 2nd FL, New York, NY 10003
  • (212) 228-8030
  • Visit the site

Setsugekka East Village

Setsugekka is a relaxed and traditional shop run by co-owner and certified Japanese tea master Souheki Mori. Tea leaves sourced directly from farms in Japan are made into matcha in their own stone grinder. At the matcha counter at the back of the store, you can choose the matcha type, viscosity, and how it's prepared: straight, frothy cappuccino, or milk gelato affogato with koich, a super-thick matcha. In summer, a cold matcha drink is prepared with juice squeezed straight from a watermelon.

Physical graffitea

The wooden shelves of the establishment are filled with hundreds of cans of tea, which can be brewed to go, drunk in a cafe or packaged. The menu features a wide range of infusions - caffeinated mate from Argentina, decaffeinated rooibos from South Africa and as many as 45 varieties of black tea. The store creates special blends for everyone. Tell the staff what you're looking for - caffeine level, flavor profile, type, origin - and they'll brew it for you.

Kettl Tea

In a spacious and sunny shop in Greenpoint, Kettl offers the rarest Japanese teas. The menu includes about 30 varieties of sencha and matcha, as well as 10 types of gyokuro, two roasted kamaricha without bitterness, and Yumewakaba black tea with a floral aroma and sweet taste. Every drink here is served in a teapot as part of the mandatory tasting.

Photo: IStock

T shop

T Shop is a warm and inviting tea room in Soho that grabs attention for both its relaxed gongfu brewing style and hard-to-find teas from Taiwan, China, and Korea.

Kolkata Chai Co.

In 2019, brothers Ayan and Ani Sanyal fulfilled their mission to bring “authenticity, respect and tradition” to masala chai in New York City by opening a small shop in the East Village. Their tea is a fragrant blend of organic Assam black tea, whole or oat milk, and aromatics such as ginger, rose petals, cloves, and pepper.

Matchaful

Matchaful doesn't just stand out for its delicious, ingredient-rich recipes. Blue spirulina, camu camu and reishi are just some of them. Her matcha comes directly from a fourth-generation organic farm in Shizuoka Prefecture. There are three Matchaful outlets in Soho, Nolita and Whole Foods in Hudson Yards.

The Hideout Chai Bar

This is the place to have a cup of hot non-traditional and delicious oat milk tea and listen to trap music in a minimalist setting very much like an art gallery.

The Chai Spot

Chai Spot is the pinnacle of comfort for those who like to drink tea in a cozy atmosphere. Vibrant handmade tapestries adorn mattresses and floors, attracting long lines of customers to chat, read and (almost) take a nap. Traditional and decaffeinated teas are popular, but butter tea - a potted blend of green tea, organic cream, cardamom and cinnamon brewed in front of you - is a standout among the city's tearooms. Here they are often served paired with samosas.

Brooklyn tea

In this cool cozy tea spot, you can find tea leaves from major Asian countries such as China, Japan, Sri Lanka and Taiwan, as well as from South Africa and Kenya. Co-owner and certified herbalist Ali Wright, a native of Canarsie, grew up in his Jamaican family brewing tea every day and now brings world tea culture to New York.

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