Showing posts with label Tea Cafes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tea Cafes. Show all posts

May 07, 2011

Tea and Chocolate Event in NYC May 10th

Pairing in Your Pocket
A complimentary tea & chocolate tasting
with Vosges Haut-Chocolat & Sanctuary T

Tea and chocolate soothe and excite at the Vosges Chocolate Tasting hosted by Sanctuary T.  Join us as we lead you through ten different tea and chocolate pairings. Sanctuary T’s new line of easy-to-carry pouched teas, BYOT, encourage you to catch a moment of tranquility wherever you may find yourself.

When paired with a Vosges Haut-Chocolat candy bar, the experience is elevated to one of decadent equilibrium. Each guest will enjoy 10 tea and chocolate samplings as well as tasting notes and be lead in a sensory tasting experience.

This is a FREE event. Space is limited so an RSVP is required. 
Please RSVP to:

Tuesday, May 10, 6:00pm-7:00pm

Sanctuary T
337B West Broadway
New York, NY 10013

Note from Madam Potts
This event is NOT to be missed.  My favorite NYC tea place, Sanctuary T is pairing up with the  hottest, trendiest and tastiest artisnal chocolate place, Vosges -- it is a match made in heaven.
That being said, as I will be on a plane to Florida I will be missing it...but really....I recommend this event highly!!!!

November 27, 2010

Travels from a Tea Cup: Washington DC

One of the last times I got a chance to visit our nation's capital, I was sure to take in the sites, including a trip to the National Gallery museum and of course, a stop for a spotta tea.  In one trip I hit two places - from having lunch and tea with my best friend at Teaism at Dupont Circle, to enjoying a day alone to romp about DC and happening across Ching Ching Cha. That my best friend happens to live on the Maryland side of DC means that I happen upon DC fairly often.

So this last trip, the only thing I HAD to do was to go check out ZenTara Teas.  Since their opening (in the beginning of 2010), I have been excited about stopping in.  I think I found them on Twitter and started following them. Located in Bethesda, MD, just 2.5 blocks from the Red Line on the Metro.

Of course what I found was a perfectly inviting place.  Zen Tara Tea has over 100 teas to choose from, but a wall of tea wares, accessories and gifts - all of which would be a glad addition to my set (Holiday Hint!)  In the time that I sat there, I managed to go through 4 pots of tea.  And of course I bought my favorite: Earl Grey with Roses. They also had a light fare (a little East meets West) and some baked goods.

While they are still in their first year of business, it would look like the good people at Zen Tara Tea have ingratiated themselves into the neighborhood.  I saw friends catching up, young families coming in for a rest, people reading books, people writing and others working on their laptops.  This is the kind of place that you want to spend time!A little safe haven open from 8am - 8pm every day (except Mondays).

They also have a tasting room and a whole Calendar of Events. I wish I lived in the area so that I could attend some of the events which they host monthly.  These people know from good tea...

So during my time, I go the chance to speak with the gentleman who's running the show. And I lazily spent 2 hours, taking in the rush and buzz of people, writing in my journal and generally reflecting on my trip overall. And overall, I must say, that I can't wait to make it back to Zen Tara Teas!

March 18, 2010

Spotlight: NovelTeas Cafe in Red Bank, NJ

Madam Potts sits with owner, Kim widener to talk about her new tea cafe and its place in the local communiTEA. if you like tea, enjoy books and love fanciful gift items, then you're going to LOVE NovelTeas!

February 24, 2008

TEA? What a Capital Idea...

Having gotten a chance to skip on down to our nation's capital to visit a good friend of mine, I was sure to take in the sites, lots of art and of course a few spots of tea.

SPOTLIGHT: Washington D.C.

The first of two places that I visited was Teaism - an urban Asian tea house/restaurant.

The contemporary decor, eclectic menu from Japan, India and Thailand, and large assortment of teas (50+ types) means you could come in and have a new taste experience each time. You walk up to the counter to order and bring your order to your seat, which makes this a very accessible, non-pretentious place to bring anyone whether or not they were into tea and/or just liked Asian food.

I had the Tie Guanyin - robust, woodsy flavor -- it was so good that I walked next door to their Tea Shop, replete with teas, tea pots, and all things tea - and purchased some to take home as a little reminder of my trip to DC. I had ordered soup and a bento box. The food is good, as is the tea. And with 3 locations around DC, easy, accessible and convenient are the big words here.

Check the mural in the loo!

If you happen to be in Washington DC, you'll need a bite to eat and a cuppa while checking out the many and historic sights of our capital. After our Teaism excursion, we went on to conquer the National Gallery.


Then on the same trip to DC, I had a day by myself, without the company of my hosts. I headed to Georgetown to saunter in and out of the shops, I took in a movie. I headed to the waterfront, which will be splendid in the warmer months, though desolate in January - thoroughly enjoying my walk-about. As I wended my way through the streets, lo and behold I found a tea house. I was not looking for one, but sure enough my feet led me straight to Ching Ching Cha on Wisconsin Avenue.

This is no ordinary tea house. Ching Ching Cha is an experience. Heavy Wooden tables, mother-of-pearl insets, Chinese music lull you into an almost reverent state. I sit down and the lady brings me a large iron pot of water on an ornate stand, and a cloth-covered menu of teas. I selected a 10 year old Pu-erh, which was a musky, woody tea of beautiful amber liqueur, which they serve in traditional Gong Fu style. I ordered a tasty snack of curry beef roll. I read my book, and relaxed for over an hour.

By far the biggest treat of the trip was going to Ching Ching Cha.

December 13, 2007

SpotLight: Sanctuary T, NYC

Who doesn't need a little safe haven from all the madness and buzz that is New York City? After much anticipation, Sanctuary T has opened its doors on West Broadway (at the corner of Grand Street) in New York's fashionable SoHo District. The Madam had the opportunity to visit Sanctuary T recently and I simply must tell you about it...

This very modern, sleek city spot is much more than a teahouse. While it is also a cafe restaurant and bar, the overwhelming emphasis is definitely on tea. Decked out in warm rich chocolate brown and the dimmed glow of candles at each table this upscale teahouse is cozy, warm and inviting.

Sanctuary is open early and stays open late, allowing for a variety of different options. You can order breakfast, lunch, dinner, brunch, tea and/or cocktails. The afternoon that I stopped in, my friend and I split a thin crust pizza with sliced tomato, arugala and goat cheese (which I have since tried to replicate but never with the quality or taste and ingredients as I had at Sanctuary), and a carafe of SoHo Chai. Yes, I said carafe....

The tea is steeped for you and then decanted into a glass carafe, wrapped appropriately so you don't burn your hand while pouring which I of course quipped, "This place is so fashionable even the carafes are wearing ascots!"

We promised ourselves we would come late one night (open until 12:30am on Friday/Saturday) to sample one of the many tea-inspired cocktails and check out the hip tea-loving cognoscenti of New York. Tea Cocktails here.

The staff is knowledgable and very pleasant (if you're expecting SoHo snobbishness, you won't find it here!) I had the good fortune to be served by the Sanctuary T's tea sommelier, Stanley, who is responsible for their wide variety of tea selections and their blends. I can't possibly list them all, but it was obvious the level of distinction, knowledge and quality.

If you're there around the holidays, and feel like some holiday fun, check out the Winter Dessert Drinks! We tasted the Flight of 4: Santa's Sleigh, Candycane Lane, Apple Pie and Peppermint Hot Chocolate. Each tea-based concoction is a little taste of Christmas!

So put this on your "Go To" List and grab a little Sanctuary in the City!

January 30, 2007

Tea Cafes in NYC

In "Tea Cafe News" around the city:

I visited Gramstand and spent a few good hours sipping tea with a friend of mine the other week. I foresee myself visting more often when it is warmer, only because Avenue A (b/w 13th & 14th) is always out of your way...but if that's the only downside, then that says a lot for a place that allows you to slow that NYCity pace and does not at all feel trendy or pretentious. The owner, Richard, is very knowledgable, and him and his staff make you feel welcomed to be there. Side note: get the brownies - they are served warm!

I found out that T Salon, once on 2oth St & 5th Ave has moved to 26th - so I will have to check this out soon and report back. I hope they have maintained the loose tea shop in addition to their cafe.

And: If you haven't visited
Franchia on Park Ave & 33rd, by all means go!
This authentic Korean tea house is worth the trip.
I'm looking forward to ending my day today with another visit.
And their sushi is above and beyond good!


January 10, 2007

Welcoming in 2007

Is it me or has it finally gotten cold out? We have had some mild weather, sometimes it's straight up been Spring, but that hasn't stopped the Madam from brewing copious pots of tea!

I've started the year off with 2 orders for Custom Blend teas. I am finding that people are giving them as gifts. Birthday, Christmas, New Baby... I have been offering Custom Teas for just under a year now and with great success. Taste being so personal and subjective, I was not sure if this was a viable thing, to create blends based on a few listed personal preferences...I can't say that it doesn't make me nervous that someone might not like their blend. But so far so good!

New Year, New Tea Cafes! Word on the street is that Gramstand has finally opened a year-round cafe on Ave A between 13th & 14th. I haven't check it out yet, as they only opened 7 days ago. They were slated to open in November, and I had walked past in December and not seen anything. I had reported in October about their summer time location (now closed) - I'll be sure to report again!

Then, come Spring 2007 we should see the opening of Sanctuary Teas, opening in SoHo. They were slated to open in the Fall 2006 in TriBeCa. So I am looking forward to what happens here.
More and more places are turning to tea....which just makes my kettle sing for joy!

Any Tea News for the New Year? Please share it with us!

November 08, 2006

Spotlight: Remedy Tea

Madam Potts takes to traveling again - this time to Philadelphia to visit Remedy Tea Bar.

As I do a lot of traveling, it's important to know where the hiding places are, the sanctuaries of the urban world - and by this I mean, where to stop for a pot of tea.

So it was my pleaure to visit Remedy this past Saturday with a friend of mine, and while away 2 hours sipping tea in the comfortable, modern cafe that is Remedy. Remedy seems to be a place that encourages people to spread out, relax and enjoy a cup or pot of tea. In the time I sat there, there was rarely, if ever, a vacant chair Ample room, free wiFi and excellent tea make up for this laid-back atmosphere.

My first pot was "Mad for Mint" (what else would a mad potter such as myself order). This blend of mint and spices was the perfect choice as I had just had lunch - yum! soothing, tasty. My second order was a bit bolder, as I chose a Peach Nectar Oolong. Bits of peach, in a darker, no doubt Wuyi oolong, made for a fragrant and relaxing tea.

The only short-coming is that the staff's knowledge of tea is a bit lacking. Considering the high turnover rate of such a job, I have learned to overlook that, but even the most basic instruction on steeping time should be offered up (use a cheat sheet if you must - I don't care!). I'm sure there have been many an unhappy customer due to over-steeping which could have easily been avoided. Also, don't expect extra water for 2nd &3rd infusion - it's not that kind of place. It's a place to unwind & enjoy the popularity of tea, but not so much place where you will learn much if you don't already know.

All in all, it is a very hip spot to know about and the tea is VERY good.
It is certainly a place that I will frequent when I return.

Happy sipping when you're tripping!

October 02, 2006

Spotlight: Gram*Stand

When you live in a city like New York, you find that your life often brings you to areas within the city that one might not normally frequent. For whatever reason, your path diverts, allowing you to discover new places. (Gotta love this city for that!)

Such is the story of how Madam Potts stumbled upon the little cafe known as GramStand.
While it is a very little place, the tea is of good quality, the atmosphere is friendly - really - isn't that what we all want? Granted it's so small, there may not be room at the two chairs to sit down. It exemplifies the little joke I have about NY, where business owners say, "We only have room for one table? GREAT! Let's open a restaurant!" But I reiterate, friendly staff, good tea, nuff said...

And while you'll have to catch this little tea stand before mid-October....Fear not as they plan on opening a larger cafe on Ave A b/w 14th and 13th Streets soon - and the Madam will be sure to find her way over there and report when that time comes...

May Each Sip Be a Discovery.
- Madam Potts

August 31, 2006

Madam Potts Takes Ohio

Gearing up for a trip to visit my friend and mentor, Tracy, of Essencha Fine Teas. I'll be gone for the entirety of the Labor Day weekend. Not only does she own this magnificent web site, but she has also opened a tea house in Cincinnati, Ohio. I've never been to Cincinnati....or to Ohio. Yes, I'm actually flying the distance for a cup of tea. If that isn't passion, I don't know what is!

Watch out for Flying Potts!

August 23, 2006

Mad Mug!

The opposite of gravity is levity -- one brings you down, the other brings you up!

And so it with that uplifting sense of levity that I travel this world. It is for that reason that my favorite mug is, favorite!

After having tea at Alice's Tea Cup in Manhattan's Upper West Side (tea with a side of whimsy, for sure), I spied my treasure....a Cheshire Cat Mug! I used to have a similar mug years ago, and while the design is very different, the thrill of watching the cat disappear remains the same.

For those of you who have never seen this mug in action....I have taken photographic evidence of this disappearing act!
(Just Add Hot Water and Smile!)



Without a doubt this is a mad crazy mug - which is perfect for a mad potter like myself. It makes me want to drink tea just thinking of it.

Keep a Smile on your Face and watch your Blues Disappear!

August 01, 2006

Casablanca Comes to NYC

It has been too darn hot - even for tea! I made a sizable amount of Rooibos Mango iced tea which I will drink for the rest of the week. What with temperatures reaching 100, I am not anywhere to be found in the kitchen unless I'm reaching into the freezer for more ice!

However my curiosiTEA never rests, and it's been awhile since I profiled a tea house, so today I wanted to tell you about the
Casablanca Tea Room in New York City.

Casablanca Tea Room: tucked away amid the fashionable boutiques of SoHo, this trendy little spot is like no other I've ever visited. From the street, you ascend a small flight of stairs and once you step inside, it's as if the subway let you off in Moracco. From the stunning white drapes cascading from the ceiling, and white carved furniture and dim lighting to the smell of exotic insence in the air, this is no ordinary tea room. And while one could argue that it's more of a bar than a tea room, the availability of both makes is a perfect setting for any night out on the town. I shared a large pot of mint tea with my friend. And they brought out this magnificent silver teapot which was full of fresh mint leaves. We then asked for 2 glasses of ice and tried it iced as well...nothing beats the heat so much as fresh iced mint tea. Additionally, they offer a selection of blended teas and tisanes as well as food throughout the day.

Whether looking for an unusual escape or the setting for a fabulous date, be sure to check out this little gem!

January 27, 2006

Spotlight: Essencha Tea Company

It was my good fortune to stumble upon a tea company at the end of last year - an online merchant, who is quickly becoming my new favorite. I rarely do recommendations but this is well-worth your time and interest, so check it out: Essencha.

You gotta love their name, which the website (under tea house info) explains:

Just as our name implies, we chose to focus on the "essence of tea (cha)": water, fire, leaves, and you, freeing you to create your own tea experiences and rituals. At Essencha, we find joy in the celebration of the mundane, believe in the beauty of the simple and natural implicit in tea culture, and are eager to share this with the world.

From the enticing (and accurate) photos of the product, to the helpful (and oft amusing) descriptions, you can feel confident with each purchase. The site is easy to navigate, the hardest part is choosing which (how many) teas to purchase. and did I mention that they have a full satisfaction guarantee?

I got my order last week of the Monkey Picked Oolong, and I couldn't be happier. Its legendary name refers to Buddhist monks who trained monkeys to harvest the youngest leaves from the top of the wild tea trees. Now, never having ordered from them before, ordering what is known to be among the highest quality of oolong may have been risky, but as I said before, everything about Essencha is quality and it shows. From their website to their packaging to select choice of teas....Quality - and isn't that why we drink tea in the first place? To truly enjoy the experience?

They are opening a Tea House in the Spring of 2006 in Cincinnati, Ohio. I've never thought of visiting Ohio before, but I may just have to. And if any of my readers happen to live around those parts, do me a favor and send me your review.

So, if you'll excuse me I 'm going to have tea with my Monkey!

November 03, 2005

Spotlight: Cha-An Tea House, NYC

CHA-AN: A little jewel in the East Village on 9th Street between Bowery and 2nd Avenue.

I have passed this place without ever even noticing it. A small sandwich sign and awning in a sea of other larger signs mark its place -- a place well earned. As you ascend the narrow flight of stairs, you ascend to a higher place indeed. This Asian tea house will give you an authentic experience of tea as it was meant to be be served and enjoyed. High quality teas served in proper tea ware. Soft lighting and bamboo decor match the calming effects of the tea.

TEA TASTED: Yellow Tea
Taste: Vegetal

A wonderful Fall tea that is reminicent of yellow leaves and yellow squash. This type of tea was popular at one time, but faded from view due as green tea became more popular and easier to make. It is starting to enjoy a resurgence in the tea world.

The way it is processed allows for more steeps than a green tea. Once picked, 60% is dried and kept overnight. Half of the remaining tea is dried, and then the final 20%. The leaf oxidizes slightly during this process.

September 23, 2005

Spotlight: Franchia Tea House, NYC

Last night, I was I had the fortunate opportunity to go to Franchia on Park Ave & 35th st in Manhattan. A opportunity that bears repeating, there was nothing I didn't love about it.

Unlike many Asian restaurants that come across as indifferent to your patronage (due to either cultural barriers or because,'s New York City, need I say more), the staff at Franchia was genuine in their hospitality. And that's not a word I use often in describing the experience in most places, but at Franchia was refreshingly different.

As we ascended to the 3rd tier seating, the carved wood and soft light welcomed us in. They gave us time to look at our vegetarian menus and to choose our desired cup of tea. It was a very appealing menu of noodle dishes, rice dishes and sushi. I chose the pumpkin noodles. The best explanation (or the shortest) was that it was thick soba noodles with a pumpkin sauce. At first glance it looked like a Korean spaghetti. And I chose a white Peony tea.

The tea came in a white bulbous cup on a wooden coaster, with the tea leaves in a ceramic strainer sitting in the cup. The waiter explained that one lets the tea steep only 20-30 seconds, removing the strainer to the small tea saucer, and adding more hot water (provided on the table) as needed for the duration of the meal (yes you could get 4 cups out of it easily). He explained this with a gentleness that did not make one feel inept if you did know how the process worked. The tea held its original pleasant taste throughout the subsequent brewings.

An hour and a half slipped by like 5 minutes ,as my partner and I sipped through conversations.

I look forward to returning to this little jewel of a place.