Best Tea

In 1865, British statesman William E. Gladstone summed up his country’s love affair with tea thusly: “If you are cold, tea will warm you. If you are too heated, it will cool you. If you are depressed, it will cheer you. If you are excited, it will calm you.” That other great nation of tea-lovers, China, has a proverb that states: “Drinking a daily cup of tea will surely starve the apothecary.” It’s time for tea, and here are some of the best places in Manhattan to get it.

Cha-An Tea House
230 E. Ninth St, 2nd Floor
Stepping into Cha-An’s traditional, bamboo-lined tea house is like being instantly transported to Japan – even though you’re just two floors up, in the East Village. Take a journey from your luxury rental apartment on a trip to Japan at this traditional tea house and you’ll come out with a much greater knowledge of the drink afterwards. Cha-An carries five different types of black tea and eleven green teas, and the earl grey scone is a must-taste delicacy. We particularly like the fact that private tea rooms are available here for those seeking privacy. One of the lower east side’s best.

Bosie Tea Parlor
10 Morton St
This gorgeously understated West Village tea shop does one of our favorite afternoon tea set ups in the entire city. The tea on offer here is from Bosie’s impressive in-house line, l’Âge de Thé, and the varieties are plentiful. What’s more, the Parlor’s anglo-centric snacks, salads, sandwiches and desserts (including tea cakes and more macaroon flavors than we knew existed) make ideal companions to the steaming pots on offer.

The Pembroke Room at The Lowell
28 E 63rd St
Though the second-floor Pembroke Room is not a venue entirely dedicated to tea, The Lowell’s afternoon tea service here is so elegant and so steeped in British tradition, it is essential for anyone looking to indulge in a high-end high tea. In the spirit of upper class afternoon tea service in the U.K., be sure to wear your Sunday best to this Upper East Side hotel, revel in some smoked salmon and caviar, and sample the three flavors of scones on offer alongside all of that delicious tea. You’ll feel like Princess Kate.

Tea & Sympathy
108 Greenwich Avenue
If you’re looking for a full-on British experience, this West Village shop is a pleasant stroll from the lower east side and is the place to go for your tea, with its quaint tables, floral tablecloths and delicate china. The delectable scones and clotted cream make the perfect tea accompaniment. T&S is also especially useful for U.K. expats because of the imported snack store and food menu – which includes traditional Brit-dishes, including Yorkshire pudding, bangers ‘n’ mash, Shepherd’s pie and even a spot of Welsh rarebit. Tally ho!

Radiance Tea House & Books
158 W 55th St
Radiance’s mission is to transport you eastward using the traditional Asian tea service – not just serving it, but trying to educate you on it also. Radiance’s desire to be a cultural center, as well as a relaxing tea house, is why this light and airy New York City venue doubles as a book store, holds regular tastings and performs traditional Chinese tea ceremonies. Radiance will inspire you to ask questions about the history of tea culture – and the people there will be more than happy to give you the answers. Delightful.

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