2010 New York Tea Tour (Part 1)

This year I made a resolution to visit tea companies, shops and facilities in different areas of the United States. In the future I'd love to cover options around the world, but on a bloggers budget I get to stay largely in the US.

Back in March I took a trip to Colorado. Consequently I did a writeup on that trip in three parts. I believe the relative summation is there, but there are several companies I failed to make it to, including Teatulia. I look to go back to Colorado in the future to pick up where I left off.

A couple weeks back I took a trip to New York City. Those of you who follow me on Twitter may remember my many tweets from Manhattan. While in NYC I took the opportunity to visit a number of tea shops. There is much I missed which I hope to get to in a number of future trips.

WARNING: THIS POST IS PHOTO HEAVY

Read on for more...

I was extremely excited to visit New York. I'd only been once before and it was a very brief trip related to a political campaign I volunteered for. This trip would be several extra days, concentrated on the people and culture of New York and their tea!

I was dismayed to learn from Rona Tison of ITO EN at this year's World Tea Expo that ITO EN had closed the doors on its flagship tea shop off Madison Ave. However, after further review my disappointment simply grew and grew. Many of the tea shops I'd hoped to pay a visit to had closed.

From Green Tea Cafe in Chinatown to Tavalon's now former shop in The Village shops all over Manhattan seem to be closing. In their wake is a void beilg filled by some younger ventures like Subtle Tea, Teariffic and some New York locations for Chicago based Argo Tea.

I ended up staying at the Courtyard Marriott in East Midtown. I liked this area a lot. There's plenty nearby and everything is within easy subway or taxi distance.

The first night (Thursday) I was in town I took in a meal at a Japanese restaurant in The Village called Japonica and enjoyed a delicious Yosenabe and an iced Hojicha, which was tasty and refreshing but cloudy green for some reason. I ended up here after being unable to locate and subsequently realizing that Tavalon's location in The Village had closed. The phone number was disconnected.

After the meal I attended a comedy show at The Comedy Cellar. The lineup was capped by Dave Attell who I personally like. During the performance though, a few surprise guests showed up. It was a great show which lasted through maybe 3am and started at 11pm.

John Mayer at The Comedy Cellar

John Mayer at The Comedy Cellar

Damon Wayans at The Comedy Cellar

Damon Wayans at The Comedy Cellar

Dave Chappelle at The Comedy Cellar

Dave Chappelle at The Comedy Cellar

Friday started late. Around 10am if I recall correctly. There was travel to Little Italy where I had lunch. I ordered a rather tasty Arabiatta Eggplant Tortellini paired with what I think was Luzianne iced tea.

But this is where the tea started. Heading down Mott to Orange Tea, a little shop claiming to have tea in Chinatown. However, this was more  of a baked goods and treats based corner store and they couldn't tell me what kind of tea they had.

A stop in Tea Ren here in Chinatown I picked up a middle grade of King's Tea exclusive to Ten Ren. They say this Oolong blended with ginseng has inredible after taste. I'll review that claim in a future review. I also grabbed some Lapsong Souchong.

Midori Tea in Ten Ren Tea

Midori Tea in Ten Ren Tea

By recommendation of someone I know from the area, I was to check out The Green Tea Cafe about two blocks down in Chinatown. No go. Closed. How a tea shop can go out of business selling green tea in Chinatown is beyond me though.

There was much sadness. But, next door was a great bubble tea shop called Teariffic. I had possibly the best tasting taro bubble tea and an astoundingly tasty grapefruit lychee alo vera drink.

Inside Teariffic

Inside Teariffic

After Teariffic way was made back toward midtown and a visit to the AppleStore on Fifth Avenue was mandated. Hey, I am insane about both tea and technology! Though I already had an iPhone 4 in hand, I was curious if the NY stores would have more toys for me to play with. No such love!

AppleStore 5th Avenue

AppleStore 5th Avenue

AppleStore 5th Avenue

AppleStore 5th Avenue

AppleStore 5th Avenue

AppleStore 5th Avenue

AppleStore 5th Avenue

AppleStore 5th Avenue

AppleStore 5th Avenue

AppleStore 5th Avenue

An obligatory trip through Central Park, or a very small part thereof was in store as well. A walk through literary row, a stop at the great fountain and awestruck pauses at city views made this a great part of my trip as well!

Central Park NYC

Central Park NYC

Central Park NYC

Central Park NYC

Central Park NYC

Central Park NYC

Literary Walk, Central Park NYC

Literary Walk, Central Park NYC

Literary Walk, Central Park NYC

Literary Walk, Central Park, NYC

Central Park NYC

Central Park NYC

Central Park NYC

Central Park NYC

Central Park NYC

Central Park NYC

Central Park NYC

Central Park NYC

Ghostly bubble in Central Park NYC

Ghostly bubble in Central Park NYC

Post Central Park, a trip was made to Subtle Tea off Madison for a wonderfully imbibed beverage. Both an iced Pomegranate White Tea and an iced Almond Cookies Green Tea were had. As these were iced I don't think it's fair to review them here today. However, I have to say both were pleasing given the obscenely hot and humid weather in New York at the time.

Subtle Tea

Subtle Tea

Subtle Tea

Subtle Tea

Subtle Tea

Subtle Tea

Another stop on Madison would have been made if ITO EN's flagship store were still open. I'm almost mortified I never had the chance to stop in until literally just a couple months after they closed up shop. DARN YOU FATE!

From Madison, way was made over to Brooklyn. Oh, but the tip of an iceberg did I visit! Just over the Brooklyn bridge (the model for which was built right here in Cincinnati btw! A claim to fame, I know.), you'll find Grimaldi's Pizza, Brooklyn Ice Cream Company and the Promenade looking out toward Manhattan (envious of Manhattan are they? ;-).

Manhattan from the Brooklyn Promenade

Manhattan from the Brooklyn Promenade

The Brooklyn Bridge

The Brooklyn Bridge

The Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory

The Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory

Grimaldi's - A Brooklyn Institution

Grimaldi's - A Brooklyn Institution

Grimaldi's - Fantastic Pizza

Grimaldi's - Fantastic Pizza

After a walk back over the Brooklyn Bridge, back to hotel it was, for an early night. What was it, 1am? While the rest of this Tea Tour had no tea, I do hope you'll come back to check out part two of this series. More photos were had, Baseball was watched and bars visited. Come one, come all, to my tea tours series!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *