Whether you like black tea, green tea, oolong tea, or pu’erh tea, New York offers some amazing tea shops for a fun tea-tasting date, a group trip in place of coffee, or a peaceful break in a relaxing environment.

However, first a primer The Camellia sinensis, from which all tea leaves are derived, has an infinite variety of notes, including floral, grassy, bitter, and umami, all of which are indicative of the terroir and culture of the plant. They may be found growing anywhere from the highest peaks of Taiwan to the steamy lowlands of Assam, India, the shady bushes of Japan, and the volcanic soils of equatorial Kenya.

Tea leaves are heated immediately after picking for green tea or allowed to oxidise for black tea in the same way that avocados go from green to brown; oolongs may be heated at any point throughout the oxidation process. Pu Erhs are fermented for several years, whereas white tea is grown from young buds that are still coated in tiny white hairs. Herbal teas, or tisanes, are made using other plants’ fruits and roots rather than genuine tea leaves.

Where in New York can I get tea? Continue reading.

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Cuppa Tea 廣芳園

Photo: Cuppa Tea – Square

Strong, zingy milk tea made in the manner of Hong Kong is the specialty of this little, unassuming corner store. You may see spectacular pours of scorching hot tea from as high as the brewer’s arm can go at the always-busy Cuppa Tea within the Tangram mall. If the harshness of the distinctive milk tea doesn’t wake you up, the written warnings about the caffeine content will. The Flushing branch is one of two US outposts for the 800-plus store Hong Kong chain, and lines may be lengthy for items like the pineapple bun and egg waffle in addition to the tea.

Address: Queens, New York 11354, 37-12 Prince St.

Phone: (646) 919-8608

The Tea Pavilion at Genesis House

Photo: Genesis House

The tea pavilion within the Genesis House restaurant is regal but inviting and welcomes a plethora of Korean tisanes that are uncommon in New York. Instead of using tea leaves to make them, the Arumjigi Culture Keepers Foundation in Seoul uses herbs and fruits such as mulberry leaf, wild pear, and quince. Remove your shoes, enter the tea room, and relax on one of the floor chairs while enjoying a book and tisane. Take a break outside on the terrace while admiring the expansive views of the Hudson River and the High Line.

Address: 40A 10th Avenue, New York, New York 10014 

Phone: (855) 444-0836

Té Company

At this quaint Taiwanese tea shop in the West Village, everything is kept quiet, from the tiny drawing of a kettle marking the location inside an apartment building to the calming explanations of how rolled tea leaves need more time to brew before they unfurl — and the quiet signal for another steeping by resting the kettle lid on its side. Elena Liao, a Taiwanese-American co-founder, purchases her produce directly from small farmers in Taiwan’s highlands, where the terroir favours rich scents and tastes as opposed to leaves grown at sea level. Any of those oolongs are great with a luscious pineapple linzer or a flaky sesame bun.

Address: 163 W 10th St, New York, NY 10014 

Phone: (929) 335-3168

Paquita

Photo: Miel Paquita

About a hundred different teas are available at this quaint West Village tea parlour, with its own blends including Young Hyson green tea with blueberries and an Assam black tea with cocoa and dates standing out. Handwritten labels covering ingredients, directions, and caffeine content are included on copper tea canisters. The left wall is lined with decaf teas, while the rear has a tiny display cabinet with treats such as tahini chocolate chip cookies. There are just a few green marble tables for peaceful interior drinking, but the structure outside encourages more vibrant discussion.

Address: 242 W 10th St, New York, NY 10014 

Phone: (646) 504-6864

Cha An

Photo: Cha-an Teahouse

People still wait in line to enter Cha An, a Japanese refuge with tatami seats and washi-paper lanterns, which was founded in 2004 by Tomoko Yagi. Although it offers a wide variety of teas, sencha and matcha are its areas of expertise. Additionally to being whisked in bowls, the latter is included into ice cream, mochi, tiramisu, affogato, and even a matcha sake cocktail, among other popular treats. For the delectable afternoon tea set, Cha An accepts bookings in advance; otherwise, there will be a wait. Or visit its sister café, Bonbon, a few storefronts down, to purchase beverages and some sweet goodies to go.

Address: 230 E 9th St 2nd FL, New York, NY 10003

 Phone: (212) 228-8030

Setsugekka East Village

Under the guidance of Souheki Mori, a co-owner and qualified Japanese tea ceremony master, Setsugekka is a small, serene space that is rich in heritage. The tea leaves are ground into matcha in the store’s own stone grinder after being directly purchased from Japanese farmers. Take your selection of matcha, thickness, and preparation at the matcha counter in the back: plain, cappuccino-like with froth, or an affogato of milk gelato drizzled with koicha, a very thick matcha. In the summer, watermelon or honeydew juice is used to make a cool matcha beverage.

Address: 74 E 7th St, New York, NY 10003 

Phone: (646) 895-9586

Physical Graffitea

Photo: physicalgraffitea

Fans of Led Zeppelin would remember the exteriors of the tea store from the album cover for Physical Graffiti from 1975. Numerous bins of tea that may be made for taking, drinking in, or packaging are stacked high on the inside wooden shelves. The menu offers a wide variety of infusions, including 45 different types of black tea and caffeinated yerba mate from Argentina and decaf rooibos from South Africa. The store makes blends for anxiety or nursing. The staff will brew it for you if you provide the caffeination amount, taste profile, kind, and origin.

Address: 96 St Marks Pl, New York, NY 10009 

Phone: (212) 477-7334

Kettl Tea 

Photo: kettl-tea-matcha

Kettl introduces the rarest Japanese teas to a large, bright boutique in Greenpoint, from leaves to matcha stone grinder. Following a stint at Ito En, owner Zach Mangan built long-lasting relationships with rural farmers to create a menu that features about 30 different sencha and matcha varieties, 10 different types of labour-intensive gyokuro (sheets are manually hung and adjusted to maximise sweetness), two pan-fried kamairichas without bitterness, and a black tea called Yume Wakaba that has a floral aroma and sweet flavour. Each tea offered here is delivered either in a pot or as a sampler that you just must taste.

Address: 348 Bowery, New York, NY 10012 

Phone: (646) 590-0479

T Shop 

Photo: T SHOP

T Shop is a warm and inviting tea house in Soho that stands out for both its soothing gongfu brewing method and its rare single-origin teas from Taiwan, China, and Korea. Theresa Wong, the company’s creator, is often seen brewing fine oolong teas and uncommon Korean back teas or chopping off chunks of a large cake of 50-year pu’erh. She conducts private, guided tea tastings of three different teas, which might raise a lot of questions regarding their origins and brewing methods.

Address: New York, NY 10012, 247 Elizabeth St.

Kolkata Chai Co.

Photo: Kolkata Chai Co.

With the launch of a modest store in the East Village in 2019, brothers Ayan and Ani Sanyal carried out their goal of bringing “authenticity, respect, and tradition” to masala chai in NYC. Their chai is a fragrant concoction of organic Assam black tea, whole or oat milk, fresh ginger, rose petals, cloves, and peppercorns. With its savoury samosas and morning paratha stuffed with eggs, amul cheese, and tomato jam, it provides a sweet contrast. Another reason to go there is for the chai oat milk soft serve.

Address: 199 E 3rd St, New York, NY 10009 

Phone: (646) 892-3023

Matchaful

Photo: Matchaful

Matchaful stands out for its delectable concoctions that are filled with ingredients, like blue spirulina, camu camu, and reishi, among others, as well as its ethical supply chain. Its matcha is directly sourced from a fourth-generation organic farm in Shizuoka Prefecture that produces solar electricity. Hannah Habes, the company’s founder, also utilises matcha to flavour cereal, miso soup, and mocktails. Any lattes are created with in-house strained oat, almond, coconut, and cashew milks and are all plant-based. Three Matchaful stores can be found in Hudson Yards’ Whole Foods, Soho, and Nolita.

Address: 359 Canal St, New York, NY 10013 

Phone: (646) 896-1058

The Hideout Chai Bar

Photo: The Hideout Chai Bar

This is where you can have a hot cup of the unusual and delicious oat milk chai while listening to trap music in a space that looks and feels like an art museum. Christopher Brunet, a French-Italian resident of New York, used his skills working in service at Daniel and home furnishings at Bergdorf Goodman to create Hideout. The chai, one of his five milk teas, is boiled and stirred in a big pot just before it enters your cup, along with hojicha and rooibos.

Address: 42 Rivington St, New York, NY 10002 

Phone: (646) 649-5868

The Chai Spot

Photo: The Chai Spot

The Chai Spot is the height of cosy tea-drinking convenience. Long lines of patrons wait to speak, read, and (nearly) take a sleep among the colourful woven tapestries that cover the beds and flooring. The butter chai, a mixture of green tea, organic cream, cardamom, and cinnamon that is prepared in pots in front of you, is a unique offering among the city’s tea houses. It is just as popular as the regular and decaf chais. They often go here with samosas. Doing good is ingrained in the tea Spot’s DNA, from the tea that reduces racial tension between the Pakistani and Italian families of married co-founders Khalida Brohi and David Barron to the 30% of sales that go to Pakistan to benefit artisan women and schoolchildren.

Address: 156 Mott St, New York, NY 10013 

Phone: (646) 678-5868

Brooklyn Tea

Photo: brooklyntea.

Although this hip, cosy tea shop uses tea from traditional Asian sources including China, Japan, Sri Lanka, and Taiwan, its combination of African teas and herbs from South Africa and Kenya sets it apart from other NYC tea shops. With BCakeNY’s Biggie-shaped cookies, try a malty Kambaa Kenyan black tea, vanilla rooibos, or minty buchu. Co-owner and certified herbalist Ali Wright, who was born in Canarsie and grew up making tea for his Jamaican family every day, is introducing the worldwide tea culture to the Black community in Bed-Stuy via a tea-smelling wall, nutritional health labels, and a nook for working or reading. Brooklyn Tea has grown to include a second establishment there as well as a branch in Atlanta.

Address: 524 Nostrand Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11216 

Phone: (347) 240-4281

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