Thursday, February 19, 2015
On one of the coldest days of the year Jee and I decided to venture out to T-Shop, a recent addition to NYCs growing tea scene. It was so cold, even walking a few blocks from the subway felt like traversing a snowy tundra. I was frozen to the bone but once through the door at T-Shop I felt an immediate calm. The serene, minimal room is focused solely on tea. You are here to take a tea adventure, and learn quite a bit along the way. Our trip was the right decision.
T-Shop's owner Theresa is a peaceful presence, and guided us through our tea journey with grace and knowledge. Tasting Table has a nice little piece on Theresa, which you can read here. We asked her to recommend the tea, and started with a high mountain black. She chose this tea for us because it has a warming quality perfect for the season.
Her tranquil preparation of the tea in a simple gaiwan was meditative to watch. The tea was perfect for our occasion. Earthy and malty but with a sweetness that creeps up on you. After a few rounds of this tea, I felt as if I was glowing from the inside. My body had a comforting warmth as if I were wrapped in cashmere blankets sitting in front of a crackly fire. Theresa carefully laid out the beautiful leaves for us to admire. I silently thanked them for giving us so many flavorful steepings.
We enjoyed the first tea so much, we knew another selection was necessary. How could we leave such an oasis of peace when the angry wind awaited us outside? Theresa suggested the charcoal roasted cui feng oolong after our warming black tea tasting.
Theresa told us the charcoal roasting of this tea created more complex flavors. The tea was sweet, yet toasty, floral, and a bit tangy. Lots of umami on the palate. The roasted flavor from the charcoal was layered within the others, and did not dominate. Such a nice contrast to the first tea. This is a tea I could drink all year round. Soothing and surprising in the winter, refreshing in warmer months. I was a bit tea drunk and forgot to pick up some leaves to take home. I'll definitely be back for some.
We were lost in an afternoon of tea fueled conversation, the weather dissolving into distant memory. I can't wait to return to T-Shop and go on a new tea exploration. I'm so thankful Theresa decided to share such a special place with the world.
T-Shop: 247 Elizabeth Street (rear store), NY, NY.