Top 3: Tea for Tea Lovers

For tea, you need time. There should be a process of inhaling, sipping, tasting and breathing out that informs the tongue and the mind that it is time to slow down. Whether a tea shop is downright bustling or you’d startle if a pin dropped / glass clanked, the experience of tea should be physically memorable, if not wholly unique. I have written about tea shops before, because I seek them out and repeat if I like the feeling of the place. As with my top 3 in the world of NYC cupcakeries and cups of cocoa, what follows are my three favorite niche tea spots, in no order whatsoever.

PLANE TICKETS TO THE U.K. A BIT OUT OF YOUR LEAGUE, ATM?: Tea & Sympathy 

108 Greenwich Ave, New York 10011

Walking into this West Village tea shop is a guaranteed tight squeeze. Newcomers often think the entrance is through the side of the neighboring shop, but enter wrongly and the fish-n-chippers glare-and-point you back to that front door that looks like a window (that looks oddly like a misplaced door), and you will enter to otherwise friendly faces, directed to take a seat or boot it back outside for your humbling wait. You will be surrounded by British accents, the flag, and all the food, so it will be safe to pretend you’ve been transported. You might even be lucky enough to get the tea pot with the faces of all of King Henry VIII’s wives, one on each side (of which there are enough for them all).

VEGAN TEA LOVERS DELIGHT: Teany 

90 Rivington St, New York 10002

Teany of the East Village has been around for just about a decade and it has not lost it’s flare or the crowd of late nights and brunch days. Made with love and full of really good bottled and brewed tea, alike, the cafe is very welcoming and comfortable. A non-vegan or vegetarian could come in and feel at home with their veggie friends as the servers pass around bowls of hearty veggie chili and crunchy crusted bread. Desserts top it all off, but are more for the vegan crowd, as anyone who loves the natural textures of cake made of cheese will just not fully accept the healthy goodness that is a slice of Teany non-cheesecake.

THE FAITHFUL YOGI’s TEA SPOT: JivamukTea Cafe

841 Broadway2nd Fl, New York 10003

JivamukTea is the cafe linked physically and in health to the very famous, spiritually-oriented Jivamukti school of yoga in Greenwich Village. Here, they harvest wheatgrass, carry the freshest ingredients possible, and carry only the most soothing nutrition options, in the name of good health for all who enter to order. For many tea lovers (I should say Western lovers of tea time) there is a connection to tea, cow milk, and sugar or honey. Yoga studios often carry (and many of the best teach) basic principles of Ayurveda, which state that certain foods should not be mixed, and while some foods may be nutritionally balanced, even healthy, certain types of bodies cannot handle them. This cafe is one where you can choose, as a foodie, yogi, and student of health, to eat a combination of food and drink that will heal you after your practice. I must say, anyone who enters would do well to brighten the demeanor of the staff with a friendly smile, as some people think they are not as inviting as expected.

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