Bellocq Tea Atelier (www.bellocq.com)
Bellocq, with its intense design sensibility, has established itself in Brooklyn after its beginning days in London. Embraced by its rich jewel tones and rustic decor it is clear that the owners value experience as highly as quality tea. It’s a magical way to explore artisan teas and accessories. The experience is designed to promote the idea that, in the words of co-founder Heidi Johannsen Stewart, “Tea is an affordable, everyday luxury.”
The Greenpoint location is intended as a space for tastings, to allow customers to fully experience the unique tea blends. This isn’t a place you pop in to grab a tin on the run. Leave yourself enough time to fully absorb your moments at Bellocq.
Tea can be purchased in atelier bags or in yellow, blue, or silver connoisseur caddies.
Open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. 104 West Street. 800-495-5416.
Manhattan (Upper East Side, Chelsea, and Greenwich Village) and Brooklyn (Park Slope)
Described by many visitors as young and contemporary, DAVIDsTEA has taken New York by storm with its four new shops. The staff knows their tea and is quick to give recommendations and suggestions from the extensive selection.
This Canadian company offers high quality teas and unusual blends with quirky names such as Brazillionaire, a black tea with Brazil nuts, raisins, and coconut; Read my Lips, a black tea with vanilla, mint, chocolate, peppercorns, and red candy lips; and Kiwis Big Adventure, a green tea with kiwi and lemongrass. Ask for help finding your perfect tea and then buy it by the ounce or have them make you some on the spot. Take advantage of their comfortable seating and who knows? You just might have to go pick another blend to try before you leave.
DAVIDsTEA has an additional location in Westport, CT as well as nearly 100 stores in Canada.
DAVIDsTEA is open 7 days a week. 275 Bleeker St. (212) 414-8599. / 1124 3rd Ave. (212) 717-1116. / 688 6th Ave. (212) 229-0002. / 234 Seventh Avenue, Brooklyn. 347-223-4637.
Harney & Sons SoHo (www.harney.com/blog/category/soho-shop)
While the streets outside are hopping, step in the door of Harney SoHo and you will feel as if you’ve entered an oasis. The soaring ceilings and large windows fronting this 2,500 square foot space create a light and airy atmosphere. Hundreds of teas line the walls behind the large bar, inviting customers to be daring with their explorations. Beyond the tea bar, teaware displays, and various retail items, there is a small dining space that seats twenty.
The teahouse was developed by Emeric Harney, the grandson of Harney & Sons founder John Harney. This shop and cafe is evidence that Harney & Sons may be three decades old, but they know how to innovate and stay fresh. With complimentary tea tastings every day, visitors are always certain to find something new.
Shoppers ready for a few minutes of rest will be glad to find the wonderful array of treats available in Harney’s cafe. Beyond the expected selection of hot and iced teas, visitors rave about the tea floats which include combinations like Paris Tea soda and Earl Grey ice cream. The menu also includes sweet and savory scones, canapés, and locally-made macaroons.
Harney SoHo is open 7 days a week. 433 Broome Street. 212-933-4853.
Le Palais des Thés (us.palaisdesthes.com)
Manhattan (Upper West Side and SoHo)
This twenty-six year old French company has delighted tea lovers by bringing two new shops to New York City. Les Palais offers 100 teas, many of which are directly sourced from the growers or are naturally-flavored blends. Visitors are offered a cup as soon as they walk in the door.
The Columbus Ave. shop is intimately-sized at 300 sq. ft., while Columbus Ave. is home to a 700-square-foot shop. In addition to loose leaf teas sold by the ounce, both locations sell tea accessories, teaware, and other gifts. Staff area always ready to help guests learn about the teas and to view and smell them.
The New York Le Palais team continues the commitment to education evidenced in their French Tea School. They have recently launched tea education classes at their SoHo shop.
Open 7 days a week. 156 Prince St. (646) 513-4369. / 194 Columbus Ave. (646) 664-1902.
McNulty’s Tea and Coffee Co. (www.mcnultys.com)
Manhattan (Greenwich Village)
In operation since 1895, McNulty is a great spot to experience the rich history of tea in the U.S. Far from the glossy, modern tea merchants that are making a splash in the city, McNulty’s captures a moment in time that cannot be replicated.
At McNulty’s you will be immersed in the rich scent of tea as you appreciate the tea chests and scales that date back to the shop’s earliest days.
Customers will find flavored and unflavored loose leaf teas and well-known branded teas like Grace Rare Teas, Taylors of Harrogate, and Kusmi.
Open 7 days a week. 109 Christopher St. (212) 242-5351.
Ten Ren (www.tenrenusa.com)
Manhattan (Chinatown and Lower Manhattan), Brooklyn, and Queens (Flushing and Elmhurst)
With locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn, Ten Ren has established itself as a valued place to purchase tea and to experience Chinese tea culture. The business opened in 1953 in Taiwan and has 74 stores on that island in addition to locations in the U.S., Canada, Japan, and Malaysia. The first New York store opened its doors in 1984.
The shops reflect the company’s decades of experience, offering a wide selection of high quality China and Taiwanese teas. Their oolongs and green teas receive acclaim. Several of the shops, including the 79 Mott Street location, Ten Ren Tea Time, receive tremendous attention for their bubble tea, but visitors should make sure to explore the bulk tea selection. “One of the great things about this little gem,” says Lisa Richardson, author of Tea with a Twist, “is that they offer classes on gongfu tea ceremony on a lovely wooden carved table for a nominal price. They also sell beautiful eastern-style teapots. For those looking for an education on Chinese teas and tea ceremony, Ten Ren offers that along with an authentic atmosphere that shouldn’t be missed.”
Open 7 days a week. 75 Mott Street. (212) 349-2286. / 79 Mott Street. (212) 349-2286. / 138 Lafayette St. (212) 343-8098. / 5817 8th Ave., Brooklyn. (718) 853-0660. / 135-18 Roosevelt Ave., Flushing (Queens). (718) 461-9305. / 83-28 Broadway, Elmhurst (Queens). (718) 205-0861.