Our five favorite tea shops in New York City are truly destinations, places to linger and sniff and sip. Each one gives you the chance to sample until your heart’s content, your palate’s satisfied, and your perfect tea is found. By Jessica Allen.
Named one of the world’s best tea shops by Food & Wine magazine, Bellocq Tea Atelier resides on a quiet block in Greenpoint, Brooklyn — a gorgeous, tranquil space that elevates tea-shopping to the most elegant of pastimes. Its single-origin offerings are sourced from around the world, from Sri Lanka to Japan to Malawi, and the sales staff will advise on the best methods for storage and brewing. We particularly love the “National Parks Dept.” specialty blend, full of cedar fir tips, juniper berries, organic blue cornflowers, and Indian teas.
Founded in Canada in 2008, David’s Tea has outposts around the world. It makes our list of Best Tea Shops in NYC for its fun, friendly vibe and awesome selection of 150+ teas, some meant to be served piping hot and some refreshingly cold. We particularly love the company’s various collections, including the “Feel Good” line, meant to make you feel good (no kidding), and its steadfast refusal to take itself super-seriously (case in point: some teas are meant to evoke pistachio ice cream or red velvet cake, and everyone gets a free cup of tea on his/her birthday).
For more than three decades, John Harney has blended teas, first from the basement of his house in Connecticut, now from a small town in upstate New York. The Soho shop feels like a museum, and sells the family-run company’s signature collections, including “African Autumn” (a blend of cranberry, South African rooibos, and orange), and “Winter White Earl Grey,” along with oolong, black, green, herbal, and flavored loose teas. One percent of all sales goes to the environmental charity 1% for the Planet.
Based in Paris, Palais des Thés features single-estate teas; small-batch, limited edition teas, known as “Grand Crus”; and signature blends, known as “Les Créations,” including the blend of black tea flavored with cinnamon, walnuts, hibiscus, and almonds called “Saint-Nicolas.” All teas are sourced by an elite team of tasters. We New Yorkers are lucky enough to have two locations, a flagship in Soho, which offers tastings and classes as part of its Tea School and another store on the Upper West Side. Check out the beautiful tea accessories too.
While Chinatown doesn’t lack for tea shops, there’s only one Sun’s Organic Garden. This tiny shop has everything you could ask for: row after row of loose-leaf teas, along with a patient, knowledgeable sales staff who’ll gladly answer questions. Most of the teas are oolongs, although you can also find house blends. In addition, the store sells all kinds of herbs, spices, and powders, so you can stock up on that front too. (Note: don’t be put off by the signs reminding customers not to touch, take photos, or talk.)