You can find close-to-authentic chai in New York City if you know where to go. Here's our guide to the best options in Queens, Manhattan, and Brooklyn.
While we watch a new generation of international tea-cafe chains move into the landscape, we thought it was also time to take stock of a few great spots in the city to pick up teas of all kinds.
We've hand-picked (get it?) five lovely gifts for the tea-inclined person on your list.
If you've had teas from Stash or Tazo, you know the work of our interview subject today. We chat with the founder of Steven Smith Teamaker about the tea business, where it's going, and how to go about learning about tea.
Tea Wing carries a select range of Japanese teas (the owner personally goes to source in Japan each harvest), and matcha is their signature product. I visited the Tea Wing headquarters for a taste, and their offerings were easily best matcha I've tasted in US.
Coffee lovers love to argue techniques til the cows come home, but there's one incontrovertible fact. You can't make hot coffee (or tea!) without hot water. We checked out some of the newest electric kettles on the market and let me tell you...things got pretty hot around here.
We haven't had a ton of luck with bottled iced teas. We did a taste test awhile back of classic black-tea-and-lemon options (the winner was Honest Tea) and it was surprising how few of the options tasted like the tea you'd brew yourself. Bottled teas often show murkiness, mossy-ness, and bitterness, but none of the tasty sides of tea. So Heart of Tea, a new New York-based company brewing bottled teas with "larger, intact, quality tea leaves" caught our eye.
Numi's Garden Sampler box of savory teas contains a panoply of vegetable "tea" flavors: Carrot Curry, Spinach Chive, Broccoli Cilantro, Beet Cabbage, Fennel Spice and Tomato Mint. The Tomato Mint is totally drinkable, pleasant and surprising, but it gets a little weird from there.
Just as spring begins to arrive, an unwelcome fever and cold always seems to knock on my door. Whenever that headache/sinus pressure starts to creep up on me, I like to set rules for myself, promising that I'll be spared getting really sick if I drink that whole container of orange juice. I try to push hot liquids like it's my full-time job. So after a day or two of same-old Earl Grey, Lemon Ginger, and Sleepytime, I'm pretty bored with the tea I have on hand. The Parisian tea specialists at Le Palais des Thés recently introduced a new lineup of flavored blends; here's what we thought of them.
I'm definitely prone to focus too much on the utilitarian side of tea. I sip English Breakfast to wake up and turn to my favorite echinacea infusion not because I especially enjoy the taste, but because I've convinced myself that if I drink enough of it, a winter cold won't last as long. But tea also offers a myriad of flavors: there's rich, earthy pu-ehr, grassy and bittersweet green teas, malty black teas, smoky and bacony Lapsang souchong, not to mention the wide range of herbal options available. In an infusion, a syrup, or a straight-up brew, tea goes way beyond function and brings delicious and complex flavors to these 3 super-simple cocktails.
You don't see pestle tea too often. To start, the best ones are ground by hand in a stone mortar, and turning a handful of nuts and seeds into a smooth paste takes a good twenty minutes of studious grinding—by hand. But the result is well worth it: the kind of drink that nourishes you like the best oatmeal, and a ritualistic experience that, if I had an extra half hour every day, would become a required part of my morning routine.
In a season full of rich drinks like eggnog, cider, and cocoa, it can be nice to pause with a simple cup of tea. That doesn't mean that you have to forego the holiday spirit—many tea companies make special winter brews in flavors ranging from pumpkin pie to sugar plum. Which are worth picking up? Here are a few of our favorites.
There are few things more satisfying than a well-stocked cupboard of teas—except perhaps a well-stocked cupboard of tea-related toys. For your tea-loving friends this time of year, we offer a few perfect gift choices, from the fanciful to the indispensable, at prices you won't find too steep.
Ferry boats, pomegranates, Bosphorus views, steep hills, stunning skylines—all among my favorite things about Istanbul. Also up there? Turkish tea culture. As in: you're drinking tea. Everywhere. All the time. And every micro-neighborhood has its own tea guy.
We don't talk about tea the way we get to talk about coffee, at least in the U.S. In coffee, the idea of terroir has become something of a given. We seek out fresh beans and fresher roasts. We've started to care about the farmers who grow our beans, how they're treated, and how they treat their crops. Tea, by comparison, gets stuck on the shelf: dried, stable, static. David Duckler and his small team at Verdant Tea are looking to change that conversation, selecting and selling quality tea the way chefs work with farmers at the market.
After the fourth noodle dish before 3 p.m., I needed some respite. Eating in Singapore carries the constant risk of too much of a good thing, and though I fell for kopi hard, hitting this kind of brick wall demanded something more pure.
When you think of Indian tea, you probably think of rich, spicy chai. Don't get me wrong—chai's great—but I don't think it's the most interesting tea to come out of the country. For a brew that's at once delicate, assertive, and totally unique, you have to go with Darjeeling.
Before we get into this, I'm going to give the quick reveal right up top for you folks who don't like to read (or skim). For the best sun tea, don't bother with the sun.
Cooling down by surrounding yourself with green is a perfect summer antidote. Fresh, reviving Moroccan mint tea can be prepared to drink throughout the day, and tastes just swell over ice.
Runa, which makes the best dried guayusa leaves I've sampled for hot tea, has begun selling bottled, iced guayusa in four flavors.