A few weeks ago I found myself on the Upper East Side and was finally able to visit the new Teavana Tea Bar. Most of the local tea blogging folks have written about this place and the brewing techniques they use, but I thought I would add a few thoughts of my own.
Upon entering it feels like a low-key Teavana store (since no one tried to upsell anything), but it still has that annoying floral/berry smell that hits you even before you open the door. It was mid morning when I arrived at the tea bar, and I was looking for a strong black tea. The man behind the counter recommended the Black Dragon Pearls.
The place was quiet with just one couple sitting down. This is a small place, with 4 tables. I found the seats to be extremely uncomfortable, which did not invite a relaxed experience. I was surprised by this, since Starbucks usually has relatively comfortable seats. I'm trying not to compare the place to Starbucks but it's tough to avoid since they are the parent company, and the designers have lent an obvious hand to the place. The ordering system is the same, where they take your name and call you when the drink is ready. The service is the same as well, friendly but not overly so. The decor was simple with the usual tea and accessories for sale. The more interesting element is tubes of tea lining the ceiling. The tubes were a bit lost with the bright lights so I could hardly see the teas inside. But it's an interesting idea. It could also be the culprit for the store's signature scent.
|The tea ceiling|
While I was sitting for a few minutes, two young children came in with their dad to refill a tea canister. At least the store is supporting the tea habits of the Upper East Side residents! The only place I'd compare this to is Argo, which I prefer. Argo is much more comfortable, and smells much better! But I am not familiar with all of the tea offerings of both, so I couldn't say which has better quality tea.
The tea bar is definitely not a place I'd go out of my way for, but is right near the Metropolitan and other museums, as well as designer consignment stores so it is a good place to stop by after a long day of culture and shopping.
Teavana Tea Bar: 1142 Madison Ave. NY, NY 10028
Recommended for a cup to go if you are in the area, or loose tea to purchase if you like what they usually sell.