Looking for a relaxing spot to sip a warm cup? Try any of these tea rooms in NYC.
Not everyone starts the day with coffee. In fact, many view the morning ritual of brewing a pot of tea as essential to their livelihood. Word must have gotten out, because in recent years, specialty teahouses have sprung up throughout the city, introducing fine, rare, and exotic teas from around the world. Whether you’re looking to be enlightened with a ceremonial tea drinking experience or just want to tuck into a steeping cup served with cream and sugar, here are some of the best tea rooms in NYC.
Tea & Sympathy, 108 Greenwich St
Nobody does afternoon tea better than the Brits. Tea & Sympathy hits all the marks for the perfect spot of afternoon tea. The space is small and cozy with tables closely arranged and outfitted with plastic floral tablecloths and rustic wooden chairs. You’ll feel like you’ve just stepped into a great aunt’s dining room. The tea selection is a proper lineup of English favorites brewed and served to your liking. Also known for its comfort food, the restaurant whips up traditional dishes such as bangers and mash, Welsh rarebit, scones with clotted cream, bread and butter pudding, and Bakewell tart.
Té Company, 163 W 10th St
When Elena Liao and her husband Frederico Ribeiro opened Té Company, their mission was to create a harmonious place of experience, community, and education centered on tea. Originally from Taiwan, Liao sources oolongs directly from the farmers of her native country. Formerly a sous chef at Per Se, Ribeiro created a menu of small plates and snacks, which pair wonderfully with an expertly brewed pot of tea. Have a strong curiosity about Taiwanese tea? Té Company offers guided tastings, which explore and discuss teas from different regions.
Physical Graffitea, 96 St. Marks Pl
Located on the ground floor of the same buildings that decorated the cover of Led Zepplin’s legendary album Physical Graffiti, this East Village cafe specializes in organic and fair trade tea. The interior is small with a peaceful ambiance thanks to a mix of natural wood and brick accents. Behind the counter is a wall lined with tin after tin of leaves of black tea, chai, white teas, oolong, Pu-erh, and organic medicinal blends. Stop by to enjoy a relaxing morning cup, or purchase a bag of your favorite tea and brewing utensils to make at home.
Ippodo Tea, 125 E 39th St
Originating in Kyoto, Japan, Ippodo Tea is a nearly 300-year-old company. As Japanese green tea and matcha became popular in the US, Ippodo opened its first international storefront in a small space at the front of Michelin starred restaurant, Kajitsu, in 2013. Teas are expertly brewed to go with offerings that include various matchas alongside lesser-known varieties such as gyokuro, sencha, and ibrancha. Imported from Japan, bulk bags of tea and traditional brewing and serving utensils are also available.
Cha-An Tea House, 230 E 9th St
Founder and restaurateur Bon Yogi opened Cha-An Tea House with the desire to create a peaceful oasis where Japanese hospitality, tea, and food could all be experienced under one roof. Traditional decor of wooden floors, tatami benches, bamboo dividers, and washi paper lamps create a space that is transcendent and serene. In addition to a comprehensive selection of Japanese green teas and varieties from around the world, cha-an is known for its beautiful desserts that include hojicha anmitsu, homemade mochi, matcha chiffon cake, and black sesame crème brulée.
Tea Drunk, 123 E 7th St
Tea Drunk is NYC’s leading purveyor of fine and rare teas from China. Nestled in the East Village, the shop is small, yet evokes an airy atmosphere courtesy of a sparse interior and minimalist décor. The menu runs deep offering assorted black, green, white, yellow, and red teas, which can be savored on site or purchased in bulk. Tea Drunk believes knowledge and passion are key to an enriching tea experience, and regularly hosts educational classes and events.
Have you had tea in New York? Leave a comment and let us know your picks for the best tea rooms in NYC.