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Decent cup of tea?!!!!!... anyone

I'm thinking I may have to bring my own pot and tea leaves. Apart from the big hotels - if I just want a cup of tea in anything other than a paper cup... where can I find one anywhere uptown, midtown or downtown? all suggestions appreciated.

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  1. I am sure there are some places, but I tend to drink coffee more than tea when out. At most places, you are likely to get tea bags. At your hotel, you may have the ability to heat water in your room (worth checking), in which case you might want to bring your own leaves. You might want to try Takashimaya, which has a lovely tea room. There are also a number of hotels that serve afternoon tea, and a couple of "English" tea places. When do you anticipate wanting this tea?

    6 Replies
    1. re: MMRuth

      Hi MMRuth, Thank you for your reply. Are you wondering at what time of day I will need my tea fix, or when as in next week? I will be in NY in September so I have a bit of time. I have been able to locate Alice's tea room and Tea with Sympathy but as we will be in different neighbourhoods on different days, I thought I would put the question out there so I can compile a list of go-to places. Last time I was in NY - I was given tea made with coffee instead of hot water... it was funny at the time.. To be honest I don't really fancy carrying around a teapot and tea leaves with me... I have checked and the hotel does have a kettle.

      1. re: phanjokat

        Yes, I guess I was asking when you would be needing your "tea fixes" (grin) - i.e., in the hotel in the morning, in the afternoon while out and about, etc.

        You could bring leaves and one of those infuser ball things, though I don't know if you will be making tea for seven, which would then be problematic. I'm sure you could find a v. cheap teapot here, or I'll lend you one of mine for your visit - I live v. close by. (What is the name of the hotel by the way - still trying to figure out exactly where it is.) I'll see what else I can think of in the neighborhood that might actually have "real tea", but I think you are right to assume you will get a tea bag and overboiled water unless you find good places before hand as you are doing.

        1. re: phanjokat

          I live across Alice's Tea Cup but have been only a couple times. The fairy tale freak show is just a little too intense when I just want a cuppa. Stores like Porto Rico, however, have great tea in a no-frills environment, which is exactly what I want when I'm looking for a cup of Lyon's at 5:30.

          1. re: JungMann

            BTW - I was at a Pain Quotidien today for breakfast and asked about how they serve tea - bags only, so that one can be struck off the list.

            1. re: MMRuth

              Hi MMRuth, I really appreciate your scouting around for me and your kind offer to loan me a teapot. I hadn't thought about picking a teapot up in NY - it is hard enough to find places that serve proper tea. I have a little teapot that I will bring with me and if I need a bigger one for the family, I'll pick one up there, but thank you again. The hotel is called The Marmara. Oh, and in answer to when I need a tea fix, I suppose - every couple of hours from breakfast onwards...

        2. Here are some older threads (note that Amai has closed as has Sympathy for the Kettle and Tafu)

          Any new tea shops worth trying?
          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/606023

          2 Replies
          1. re: kathryn

            Wow! Thanks Kathryn, I had searched for "tea" before I posted my note, I don't know why this hadn't come up. Are these English tea houses - they sound Asian?

            1. re: phanjokat

              From that list, it is Japanese.

              Here's an older list that might assist your search:
              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5625...

          2. Radiance Tea House on 55th has an amazing variety of teas and also has lovely snacks.

            5 Replies
            1. re: lawgirl1984

              I second Radiance. They have a nice tea selection and the food/snacks are pretty good.

              1. re: twiggles

                also if you are near Chelsea Market you could go to T-salon. i'm not a big fan of the atmosphere there, but they do cups/pots of loose tea. If you are looking for afternoon tea service let us know, there are a bunch of places to check out for that.

                1. re: twiggles

                  what sort of atmosphere does it have?

                  1. re: phanjokat

                    T-salon? well it's mostly a store in front, with the tea/food display area in the middle, and a few tables in the back. It's a fine place to grab a cup and sit for a few minutes, but imo it wasn't a place i wanted to linger in.

                    1. re: phanjokat

                      It's basically a retail store selling packaged teas and teapots, and gift sets in the front, and a small food bar with pastries, and salad fixings that i found to be on the pricey side. There is comfortable seatings by the windows in the back, and it's fairly relaxed. The place is on the smaller side, and overly designed, but I thought it was nice, and you didn't feel like you were drinking tea in a gift shop.

              2. Have you ever been to Alice's Teacup? There are a few around manhattan, I've been on the Upper East Side (in the mid 60s, forget the exact street). They do a nice, proper tea with snacks and it's a nice atmosphere.

                http://www.alicesteacup.com/

                For tea in a paper cup, there's obviously many options.

                1. The Maze at The London has a nice tea service. We enjoyed a nice loose leaf Lapsang a couple of months ago. They also serve High Tea daily.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: etonian

                    Thank you, I enjoy High Tea but am unlikely to have the time on this trip.

                  2. I'm confused. Are you looking for a pot of tea, and does it have to be made of leaves without a bag or are you just looking for a good cup served in a tea cup? Any restaurant serving tea to stay will be serving it in a cup. Most of the places reputable for coffee, also have nice tea lines, and if they offer seating, they will likely serve it in porcelain or glass.
                    It wouldn't make much sense to travel for your morning tea but here is a resource http://www.allny.com/tea/nyctea.html

                    Teany
                    Subtle Tea
                    Sympathy for the Kettle
                    Alice's Tea Cup
                    T Salon
                    Joe's Art of Coffee, and Cafe Grumpy
                    Podunk
                    Ten Ren
                    71 Irving Place (I believe, will serve kettles

                    )

                    Honestly, the list is too great to name, but I am a bit unclear what you're requesting.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: sugartoof

                      If you scroll up, you can see this from the OP:

                      "Last time I was in NY - I was given tea made with coffee instead of hot water..."

                      Yikes! If I were the OP, I'd be a little wary, too...

                      1. re: kathryn

                        Paper cups are only standard service for take away, and fresh tea leaves aren't hard to find, they just take a little shopping around. One need not go to a specialty shop but I think we've all compiled a nice list.

                        http://nycmugged.com/ is another good resource. It's focus is good coffee, but many of places focusing on coffee now have a nice tea service featuring artisanal teas.
                        This site is most useful because you can search it by neighborhood.
                        http://www.teamap.com/states/state_NY... will help for a Tea specific but I'm not sure it's updated recently.

                        My other suggestion would be to bring a pouch of tea and a small strainer, and ask for hot water instead.

                        ...and the coffee tea hybrid sounds strange, unless someone ordered that specifically. Whole Foods makes a Iced Coffee-Tea drink I've been curious to try actually.

                      2. re: sugartoof

                        I'll second Podunk. It's a sweet place on 5th street in the East Village, and she makes amazing scones and coffee cakes too.

                      3. Don't know if you'll be in that part of the village , but S'nice on 8th Avenue and 13th/Jane uses a "tea bag" which is actually a long bag like a coffee filter that they fill with loose tea.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Stuffed Monkey

                          My sister-in-law and I first saw those long tea bags at the Fairmont in Whistler this year and were most impressed. We tried to buy some or at least get the supplier name but they were not too forthcoming - they did sell us their wonderful tea though and gave us a small supply of those little envelope bags. I wonder if the specialty tea stores would sell them.. not quite as good as brewing in the pot but definitely more convenient...

                          1. re: phanjokat

                            they use those bags at the coffee/tea bar in whole foods (at least the one in the time warner center), so they may sell them there. i think i've also seen them at porto rico coffee and tea, and possibly mcnulty's coffee (and tea).

                        2. Franchia on the west side of Park Ave. between 34th and 35th has excellent tea -- mostly green teas, but also at least two black teas on the menu, as I recall. The food is vegan/Asian -- including very tasty pancakes, dumplings, salads, and some nice desserts.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: alc

                            Thanks everyone for all your suggestions - I look forward to my tea fix in NYC

                          2. Go to subtletea darn.. the name may be wrong. but it's on Madison Ave btwn. 31st and 32nd Street

                            1. I assume you are talking about having tea without having a meal. If you are talking about with a meal, most upscale restaurants in New York will serve decent loose leaf tea.

                              I haven't been in awhile, but if you like green tea, you used to be able to order a nice pot of tea at the bar/lounge at Geisha, a Japanese restaurant on the Upper East Side. http://www.geisharestaurant.com/index... Of course, they serve tea in the main dining room, but the bar lounge is a nice option if you just want tea and not a meal.

                              P.S. I just checked online and they also have black teas, oolongs and tisanes at Geisha. The tea menu looks luscious. http://www.geisharestaurant.com/cuisi...

                              Geisha is right by Barney's - a lovely place to collapse after an exhausting afternoon of retail therapy :)

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: omotosando

                                "If you are talking about with a meal, most upscale restaurants in New York will serve decent loose leaf tea."
                                I have never found this to be the case. Usually I find tea in upscale restaurants to be a total afterthought- either prepared poorly, have no selection, or just offer a few bagged teas (usually earl grey, english breakfast and mint). Perhaps upscale Japanese restaurants are different since they focus more on green teas.

                                1. re: twiggles

                                  The key is whether they sell it by the pot, as many upscale places do now. It most always means they're serving loose leaf tea, and have a small selection, or at least a specialty house blend. Nice places aren't tossing Bigelow into hot water anymore.

                                  1. re: twiggles

                                    Re Twiggles - I guess it depends on your definition of upscale and perhaps my definition of upscale is your definition of ultra upscale. I've had decent tea at The Modern and at the Four Seasons restaurant (in fact, I was so underwhelmed by the food at both places that my clearest memories are of the tea).

                                    One exception is Asiate - perhaps the place is not ultra upscale enough, even though located in the Mandarin Oriental. Qualified by the fact that this was several years ago, Asiate served loose leaf tea, but it wasn't great quality. Perhaps they have improved.

                                    1. re: omotosando

                                      i haven't been to the restaurants you mention, but I've had so many bad tea experiences at high-end restaurants, that I'm always happily surprised when it goes well. Daniel was the absolute worst, and I will never forget the snooty remarks from the waiter when I questioned the taste of the tea! It's not that most places don't offer loose tea, it's that it is hard to find properly steeped tea. Often the selection is poor as well. For black teas there is sometimes just English Breakfast or Earl Grey. But of course, there are places that get it right, too! They are just few and far between in my experience.

                                      1. re: twiggles

                                        Sorry to hear about your experience at Daniel. I haven't been, but in my experience, even upscale French and upscale Italian restaurants offer lousy tea. (The tea at the famous French Laundry in Napa was a joke and I guess Daniel falls in line).

                                        The offering of English Breakfast and Earl Grey is in and of itself a good clue that you about to have the equivalent of boxed wine. Another good clue is the offering of fruity blends.

                                  1. re: howboy

                                    They serve Mariage Freres tea at The Adore--I don't know if they're getting this stuff from Paris or Tokyo and how long they're taking between trips, but the last time I went, the tea I had had this moldy, musty flavor. I've had tea at the Mariage Freres in Paris, so I know it's not what's intended. I was also disappointed that the waitress seemed to have no idea what was in the tea blends the more obscurely labeled teas on the menus contained. I'd say, get some pastries, which were pretty good, but stay clear of their tea.

                                  2. If you're willing to go into a restaurant, maybe have a seat at the bar, the best cup of tea I've ever had in New York was at Scarpetta in the MePa, which serves Tea Forte teas. The tea bags are these elongated silken mesh tea-bags, and the teas themselves taste like fairies tripped along the herbs and plucked the little buds/leaves one by one. It was seriously that good. Now I order them for myself.

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: planetjess

                                      Loved, your description- which tea blend did you try? Those bags are fantastic - they don't affect the flavour of the tea and normally use whole leaves = superior flavour. will look out for TF bags.

                                      1. re: phanjokat

                                        I've now had the Citrus Mint, the Orchid Vanilla, the Silver Needles, the English Breakfast and the Estate Darjeeling. www.teaforte.com

                                        1. re: planetjess

                                          I dont know if this fits the bill,,but I like Cha An on 9th street but its japanese tea not English