You should not underestimate the lifetime use of the hashtag #coffeeshopcorners on my Instagram… its presence is actually staggering. While I have made it my decade-long mission to explore all of the nooks and crannies in the coffee shops of NYC, tea is a whole ‘nother matter. I’ve always been a tea drinker at home, but it never really occurred to me that there was an ever-growing tea scene alongside the third wave coffee scene in NYC. So I’m spilling the tea, as they say, and rounding up all of the best places to enjoy tea in the wild in NYC.
Anima Mundi Apothecary – In the heart of greenpoint, Anima Mundi feels worlds away from any trendy tea shop that exists on the island of Manhattan. You feel like you may be in for something more akin to a witch’s brew when you walk in here, but I find it to be wholly delightful. You can mix and match your own herbs and plant medicines here to make a custom tea of your choosing, and you may find the smell of burning sage lingering on your clothes long after you depart.
Miansai Tea Bar – Tucked away in the back of a SoHo retail shop, this tea bar takes their job quite seriously. The tea bar was created in partnership with Tea Chai Té from Portland, and feels like a zen respite in the midst of the buzziness of SoHo.
Te Company – In a tiny brownstone in the West Village, Te Company is truly a neighborhood gem. It feels cozy and intimate in a way that makes me want to stay for hours (in fact, I have), and offers a short but delightfully gourmet food menu that accompanies their teas, which are all sourced directly from Taiwan.
Cha Cha Matcha – Instagram fodder? Absolutely. Hyped up? You bet. But at the end of the day, they know how to make a nice matcha at Cha Cha. My advice is to avoid this spot during rush hour and on the weekends, when hordes descend to snap a pic in the perfectly photogenic interior. My favorite combo is hitting the NoMad Cha Cha location after an AKT or DanceBody workout class, and grabbing a simple iced matcha to go. They have a good selection of non-dairy milks here as well.
Harney & Sons – When you visit the Harney & Sons SoHo flagship store, you’re confronted immediately with a plethora of options. 250 of them, to be exact. This is what they call a tea lover’s paradise. Whether you’re grabbing tea to drink at home, sampling a flight, indulging in tea and scones, or simply picking one of their diverse selection of varieties by the cup, it’s just plain fun to come in here and talk to the staff and pick out something new to try.
Blank Slate Tea – Unlike Cha Cha, this tea-focused offshoot of Blank Slate Cafe is a place that I like to sit and sip and stay awhile. They have a rotating selection of freshly brewed iced teas (think hibiscus), plus kombucha, matcha, and some real fancy tea lattes for those who like flavors like rose and lavender. It’s a fun spot to bring friends from out of town because it feels like a fun scene, and the ambiance is pretty pretty, too.