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Eat and Drink

The best tea shops in NYC: Bosie Tea Parlor, Ippodo, BELLOCQ and more

Coffee is the dominant choice for a hot morning drink in New York City, but it might be time for a tea-drenched revolution.

Tea has been revolutionary before (let's not forget its role in the founding of our nation, after all), but if you'd rather drink it than throw it into a harbor to decry paying taxes, you're in luck. The city is full of tea shops, holding up their own in a coffee town.

No matter what you're looking for — an afternoon tea service with scones, Japanese green tea for your own kitchen or bubble tea for the road — New York has tea options for every taste.

Loose-leaf teas and French pastries at Bosie Tea Parlor

Bosie is a cozy place to sit down
Photo Credit: Jillian Jorgensen

Bosie is a cozy place to sit down with a pot of loose-leaf tea on a chilly day. There's a wide variety to choose from, as evidenced by the golden canisters lining the exposed brick walls -- more than 100 selected by a "tea sommelier." We recommend settling down for an afternoon tea service for two ($66), which provides not only tea, but two mini scones with clotted cream and jam, two mini tea cakes, three portions of tea sandwiches and your choice of two macarons in flavors like raspberry yuzu, bacon-maple and Earl Grey milk chocolate. (10 Morton St., Manhattan, bosieteaparlor.com)

Specialty Chinese teas at Floating Mountain

This Upper West Side teahouse and art gallery
Photo Credit: Rajvi Desai

This Upper West Side teahouse and art gallery absolutely exudes tranquility. Order yourself a pot of Chinese tea, any kind from green to red, and take a seat on the floor or a wooden bench at one of Floating Mountain's low-rise tables. Come here on a Wednesday morning at 11, and you'll get the chance to experience a "silent tea bowl ceremony," which is exactly what it sounds like -- a ritual sipping of three cups of tea from ceramic handmade bowls, in silence. In addition to hosting tea tastings, tea brewing sessions and live music, Floating Mountain also sells loose-leaf tea by the five-gram increment and tea ware, including clay pots. (239 W. 72nd St., Manhattan, floating-mountain.com)

Tea-to-go and British comfort food at Tea and Sympathy

Calling all Anglophiles and British expats! This West
Photo Credit: Jillian Jorgensen

Calling all Anglophiles and British expats! This West Village restaurant serves all the traditional British pub foods, like bangers and mash, shepherd's pie and Welsh rarebit. If it's sweets you're after, you'll find plenty of those baked on the premises, too: bakewell tart, sticky toffee pudding, fairy cake. (We'd explain all of those recipes to you, but wouldn't you rather learn it all yourself from "The Great British Baking Show"?) A pot of tea to wash whatever you've ordered down is $5.95 a person, and your options include a house English Breakfast blend. Head to the shop next door to stock up on British groceries, chocolates and teas, as well as tea pots and mugs to host your own tea service at home. (108-110 Greenwich Ave., Manhattan, teaandsympathy.com/)

Pure and blended Asian teas at Bellocq Tea Atelier

A move from London to Greenpoint brought this
Photo Credit: BELLOCQ Tea Atelier via Facebook

A move from London to Greenpoint brought this upscale tea boutique to a quiet corner of Greenpoint six years ago. Bellocq sources its whole tea teas from China, Taiwan, Japanese, Indian, Nepal, Vietnam and Malawi. The staff mixes its own organic blends, with names like Whit Nixon, Little Dickens and Hindu Holiday, in-house. The store also sells tea sets and accessories to elevate your tea drinking at home. Bellocq doesn't serve tea, but it usually brews a few kinds for tasting as you shop. (104 West St., Brooklyn, bellocq.com)

Japanese green tea at Ippodo

The world of Japanese green tea is much
Photo Credit: Ippodo

The world of Japanese green tea is much bigger than just the powdered matcha stuff Americans know so well. The staff at Ippodo will broaden your horizons with alternatives you never new existed: gyokuro (made with leaves grown in the shade), sencha (loose-leaf tea), hojicha (tea roasted in a porcelain pot over charcoal). Before taking anything home with you, you may want to try a few options off the shop's to-go menu. (125 E. 39th St., Manhattan, ippodo-tea.co.jp)

Artisanal Chinese tea at Tea Drunk

In Chinese culture,
Photo Credit: Tea Drunk via Facebook

In Chinese culture, "drunk" doesn't mean what you think it does; it's used in the poetic, romantic sense, the way a lover might be drunk on his beloved's gaze. The team of tea specialists running this East Village tasting room and shop are definitely drunk on tea; they visit the mountains of China where tea has been grown for generations every year, overseeing the harvest of buds and leaves and the crafting of each batch of tea in six categories: green, yellow, white, red, black and Wu Long. At Tea Drunk, you can order an individual "pao" or serving of tea (ranging in price from $15 to $36), or a tasting of three kinds. The experience here is authentically Chinese and austere, so don't expect food or condiments like milk or honey. (123 E. 7th St., Manhattan, tea-drunk.com)

Afternoon tea and scones at Alice's Tea Cup

Reconnect with your girly, 11-year-old self at one
Photo Credit: Rajvi Desai

Reconnect with your girly, 11-year-old self at one of the three Manhattan "chapters" of this whimsical tea house chain. Paintings and ornaments on the walls of the dining and private rooms evoke the tales of Lewis Carroll's "Alice in Wonderland" books. Visit for an unpretentious afternoon tea experience, with spreads of tea, some seriously addictive scones with clotted cream and jam, sandwiches and cookies for one (the nibble), for two (the Mad Hatter) and "for the famished" (the Jabberwocky). On your way out the door, pick up tea, scones, aprons, tumblers and even a set of fairy wings for the road at the front counter. (102 W. 73rd St., 156 E. 64th St., 220 E. 81st St., Manhattan, alicesteacup.com)

American blended teas at Harney & Sons

You'll recognize the chic tea tins at this
Photo Credit: Harney & Sons SoHo

You'll recognize the chic tea tins at this SoHo tasting bar and lounge from other cafes around the city. Still run by founder John Harney and his family, Harney & Sons sells its more than 250 high-end tea varieties in a casual environment. Take a seat in the back to relax and sip a tea flight or sample a few complimentary cups of tea in the shop to choose which tin you want to take home with you. (433 Broome St., Manhattan, harney.com)

Matcha beer at 29B Teahouse

The frothy, green combination of matcha and Japanese
Photo Credit: Rajvi Desai

The frothy, green combination of matcha and Japanese lager is bound to catch your eye at this new tea bar, open until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays. But don't let it monopolize your attention: other rare offerings include Korean green teas and a dozen herbal teas with infusions of ingredients like mistletoe, mulberry leaf and white lotus. At night, pair your tea with sake or biodynamic wine. And at the attached retail shop, pick up handmade Japanese and Korean ceramics, Japanese glassware and teas for your own tiny New York kitchen. (29 Ave. B, Manhattan, tea-dealers.com)

Tea blends galore at DAVIDsTEA

DAVIDsTEA lures customers into its teal-walled shops with
Photo Credit: DAVIDsTea

DAVIDsTEA lures customers into its teal-walled shops with daily free tea samples and keeps patrons hooked with hundreds of varieties of tea for sniffing and sipping. Don't get overwhelmed by the sheer number of options -- the staffers behind the counter are happy to serve as your tea concierge as you narrow down your favorite flavors and caffeine levels to brew the perfect cup. For tea newbies, playful flavors like Cotton Candy and Pink Lemonade offer a fun introduction into the intimidatingly expansive world of tea. Join the Canadian chain's "Frequent Steeper" rewards program, and you can earn your choice of two free ounces of tea for every 100 points collected. Seize the moment with a cup of hot or iced tea, or a tea latte while you're browsing. (275 Bleecker St., 688 Avenue of the Americas and 1124 Third Ave., Manhattan; 234 Seventh Ave., Brooklyn, davidstea.com)

Organic, fair-trade teas and herbs at Physical GraffiTea

The staff at this East Village gem is
Photo Credit: Physical Graffitea

The staff at this East Village gem is super helpful -- so pop in, tell them what you need (a nice tea to relax with after a tough day, for example) and they'll hook you up with the perfect pot or icy cup. If that does not cure what ails you, the staff will whip you up a custom medicinal herbal blend on request. (Some premade options include a Fertilitea, a tummy tonic and a memory aid.) There's an added incentive for Led Zeppelin fans to visit: the tea shop is named for the rock band's album "Physical Graffiti," and it's located inside the building that graces the record's cover. (96 St. Marks Place, Manhattan, physicalgraffitea.com/)

Bubble tea at Ten Ren's Tea and Ginseng Co.

Head to the Flushing branch of this tea
Photo Credit: Ten Ren's Tea and Ginseng Co.

Head to the Flushing branch of this tea shop, and you'll find an East-meets-West apothecary, where healing herbs -- like ginseng -- and metropolitan delights -- like powdered creamer -- meet. Ten Ren, which translates to "heavenly love" from Chinese, serves some of the best bubble tea in the city (in milky and fruity flavors), along with potent cups of steaming hot teas and plenty of dried leaves. The Taiwan-based international company planted roots in Chinatown with a first location showcasing its trademark gold canisters on Canal Street in Dec. 1984. At the new, modern Chinatown location, grab a macaron to nibble on while sipping your tea. (73 Mott St., Manhattan, 135-18 Roosevelt Ave., Queens, 5817 Eighth Ave., Brooklyn, tenrenusa.com)

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