I grew up in New Jersey, not far from “The City.” As a teenager, my friends and I would head into Manhattan on the weekends via train, walking around Greenwich Village, exploring record stores, small art galleries, and generally enjoying the electricity in the city that never sleeps (truly).
I’m a bit more mellow now and on a recent trip I wanted to do something different. Rather than hang in the wired up coffee shops, I wanted to explore the city’s tea shops.
Here’s what I discovered in New York City:
I found this brightly lit teashop in the Village purely by accident. Walking by, I was immediately drawn in by the vibrant colors and inviting feel on what was a dreary early summer day.
Samples from DAVIDsTea
DAVIDsTEA, based in Montreal, exudes accessibility for people who might just be starting out as tea drinkers. As Leota, a sales clerk said to me, “We’re all about experimenting and having fun with our tea.” And that’s obvious from the packaging to the tea names, including tropicalia, kiwi’s big adventure, lime gelato, and countess of Seville. But they also offer more traditional blends, such as Japanese sencha, English breakfast, and orange pekoe.
Bonus: they offer free samples in the store and with every online purchase.
Tea & Sympathy
I thought I’d pop in here for a cup of tea around lunchtime on a weekday, but arriving close to noon, I found this small (well, tiny) tea shop and restaurant so full that I could barely get in the door.
This is a British café through and through, serving Shepherd’s Pie, Welsh Rarebit, and Yorkshire Pudding. Their shop next door is filled with traditional British tea (Typhoo), sweets (Smarties), and groceries, in addition to British memorabilia, such as teapots and teacups.Arrive early for lunch or try midday when it’s more likely you’ll find seating.
Alice’s Tea Cup
With three locations in the city, Alice’s is the kind of place you bring your daughter on an outing or where you meet your girlfriends for a cuppa. It screams “girly.”
Pastry case at Alice’s Tea Cup
In addition to more than 100 teas, Alice’s serves up a pretty full menu of breakfast, lunch, and dinner items, in addition to its pastry case of scones, muffins, cakes, and ice cream. What nine-year-old girl (or child at heart) wouldn’t love a visit to Alice’s?
Radiance Tea House & Books
Its location on the second floor helps make Radiance a good place to decompress (i.e. it’s quiet).
This Asian-influenced café and restaurant makes tea service a ceremony, serving bowls of matcha, as well as small and large pots of tea. Radiance has a wide range of traditional eastern teas, such as black teas from China, Sri Lanka, and India; oolongs from Taiwan and China, green teas from Japan and China, and white teas. They also have a wellness and herbal menu and a full lunch and dinner menu (with noodles, wontons, shrimp rolls, and more).
Bosie Tea Parlor
Viewfinder Tip: Don’t leave without trying the macaroons at Bosie.
Bosie is somewhat hidden down a side street off of Bleecker. A small, understated café, its French pastry chef is huge in the industry. Damien Herrgott was named one of the top ten pastry chefs in the country! Try his melt-in-your-mouth macaroons with flavors such as chai tea, vanilla cheesecake, raspberry, and bacon and maple syrup. Bosie also offers a full tea service that includes a pot of tea, scones with clotted cream, jam, sandwiches, and tea cakes.
What’s your favorite tea shop?