For the last several years, my husband has taken me for afternoon tea on my birthday. It’s become kind of a tradition, and I look forward to it every year. This year we went to the Baccarat Hotel, which has an afternoon tea served in the Grand Salon on the second floor. In a word, the whole experience was exquisite. The ambiance is beautiful, a bit bling-y from all the crystal (because, well, Baccarat!) but in the most stunning way, not overly done. It’s not stuffy at all, but very comfortable and relaxed, and wonderfully luxurious. Most of the available teas are from Mariage Freres, but they also have Camellia Sinensis and In Pursuit of Tea, so everything on offer is of the highest quality. The food is absolutely delicious. There are a few types of tea services to choose from, but we went with the most traditional one, called The Prince of Wales. From the scrumptious scones and pastries to the delectable little savory sandwiches, everything was just perfect. Gabrielle, the tea sommelier, was wonderful, making sure the tea was superb. Friendly and lovely to chat with, she’s quite knowledgeable and it elevated the whole experience. I can’t recommend this enough, as long as you’re OK with a little bit of a hit to the wallet. Personally, I felt it was worth it, as it was the absolute best afternoon tea I’ve experienced in NYC so far.
This beloved neighborhood cafe has reopened, in a different location, for some time now. It’s way better than it was, and has become one of my favorite lunch spots. They have (as they always did) a large selection of loose-leaf teas, as well as lovely sandwiches, bowls, and pastries, all of which are fresh and delicious! They even stay open later and have started incorporating beer, wine, and special events. They also feature the work of local artists on occasion. Very happy with their reincarnation – although they are getting quite popular, so even though the space is much larger than the original, at peak times it could be a little challenging to get a table.
I LOVE Chalait. So much! Best iced matcha latte I have ever had. Get it with the house made cashew and almond milk. It’s pricey, but you will smile for days over this drink. This particular location (they have two others) is large, with plenty of table space and a soothing, clean, minimalist decor. Staff is super courteous and they offer matcha any which way you can think of. They also serve white, green, oolong, black and herbal teas as well as light, healthy dishes. It’s a bit out of the way, but definitely worth stopping by!
Stopped in during our trip to Scandinavia, July 2017. To be fair, I didn’t partake of the tearoom, but stayed in the front looking at their teas on offer. It’s a lovely little place, retail in the front and tables on the side and to the back. It was a warm day, and since air conditioning is not very common in this part of the world, it was a bit hot inside, but I bet on a crisp day it would be really nice to stay and have some tea and light bites. Lots of great tea choices, all types, from various regions of the world, and the pricing was decent. The salespeople were helpful, happy to take down any and all tins of tea I wanted to check out, and I wish I could have stayed longer! If I ever get back to Stockholm, I would definitely visit again and this time, stay for tea.
I was fortunate enough to visit this “tea temple” as they like to call it, during a visit with friends in Berlin. It was on my list of things to do, and it did not disappoint. This location is their “concept store” which I also think is their flagship. The interior is set up almost like an art gallery, so beautiful and sophisticated, but welcoming as well – no snobbery here. Not only do they have their teas on display, they also have gorgeous teaware displayed as well. I spent well over an hour just sniffing teas and perusing all the artful things for sale. Oh, and the paper part of Paper & Tea is also lovely – unusual cards and writing pads, etc. The staff is friendly, helpful, and completely approachable. If I ever get back to Berlin, I will definitely make it my business to revisit the store. Loved it!
Wonderful little retail shop selling a wide variety of teas and tea accessories. In addition to all kinds of black, green and white teas, they have beautiful teapots and tea sets that are so tempting! The lovely proprietress does not speak English, so either you need to speak German or have a friend to do the translating for you (although pointing and gesturing may go a long way, too). The two teas I purchased from here are simply wonderful – the quality is excellent! If you are in the area, I highly recommend a visit here.
Went here with a friend for an afternoon tea and sweet pick-me-up. Cozy and authentic Japanese vibe. The was service was wonderful – attentive without being invasive. I had an iced matcha latte with a scoop of matcha ice cream and red bean compote. Delicious! My friend had the iced hojicha and a trio of ice cream mochi, which she swooned over. We could have stayed there for hours! FYI, you have to look for the sign and then go up one flight to get to the place. Loved it and will definitely be back.
I love coming here to shop for teaware and to pick up more tea, but I finally had the opportunity to add to the experience by having some freshly brewed tea and macarons in the cafe at the back of the store. I ordered a small pot of Fruits d’Alsace with two macarons, while my friend got a small pot of Lychee. You can get a pot of any of their teas, which makes for some daunting decision-making, since they have so many! The tea was perfectly brewed, service was lovely without being fussy, and the choice of nibbles to accompany the tea was great. I can’t wait to come back and do this again!
Stumbled upon this during a walk around Nolita/Soho, and just had to stop in. The aesthetics and general design and branding are very colorful, fun, and stylish without being juvenile. I think the branding is critical for a product like this because: 1. I’m a graphic designer and I dig that kind of stuff, and 2. it enhances your experience buying and trying the product. The staff was friendly and engaging, with zero pressure to buy, which I really appreciated. I love it when the people selling the tea are truly into it and love to talk about it, not just “sell.” They’re happy to brew whatever you’d like to try, and also had a bunch of brews to sample along the counter. We had an impromptu tea tasting since I wanted to try a few teas, and it was lots of fun. They also have lovely teaware on offer with beautiful, modern, colorful designs – very tempting! I ended up buying some flavored oolong and an infuser, which has been in almost constant use since I got it home.
The only criticism I have is that the teas are prepackaged, so you have to commit to at least 3.5 oz. of tea should you find something you’d like to buy. That’s quite a bit of tea for someone who likes to buy lots of small sample amounts, and then purchase larger quantities of favorites later. It would be great if you could buy whatever amount you wish – even if they had a minimum, like 1 oz. or so. Other than that, I really enjoyed the visit, and will definitely be back!
While in Japantown recently I made it a point to visit Song Tea & Ceramics, just a couple of blocks away on Sutter Street. First of all, the space is gorgeous – more akin to an art gallery than a tea shop. Refined, modern, airy and understated, you can ogle the beautiful handmade teapots and teacups for sale while checking out the teas they have displayed on a set of open shelves along one wall. Just because it’s higher end quality does not mean that it’s stuffy or snobbish. In fact, the staff and general atmosphere is friendly and very welcoming. There is a space toward the front on one side with a table and chairs for tea tastings. Amanda was super friendly, helpful, and a treasure trove of tea knowledge. The teas here are Chinese and Taiwanese, chosen for their superior quality. The teas change according to what is best when the owner goes on a purchasing trip, so you can’t expect to see the exact same tea selection all the time. We ended up spending two hours there, browsing and tasting various teas. It was such a wonderful experience, if I lived closer I think I’d have to stop myself from going there every day! If you are in San Fran, I highly recommend checking it out – it’s so unique!