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Where to Experience a Traditional Tea Ceremony in NYC

March 18, 2019 - by Regina Molaro
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Experience the art of the Asian tea ceremony at one of New York's many enchanting tea houses. Some teach lessons on how to craft matcha while others provide instruction on the art of the ceremony or include a brief history of tea. Explore the taste and cultures of Asia by engaging in this exotic cultural experience.

Floating Mountain Tea House

Floating Mountain Tea House

Floating Mountain Tea House offers more than 100 types of specialty teas from China. The tea is brewed in a traditional Chaozhou Gongfu Cha style. Two types of ceremonies are offered—Cha Dao (Way of Tea) and GongFu Cha (mastery of brewing tea). Cha Dao is a tradition that hails from ancient Chinese lineage and has been rooted in Daoism for thousands of years. It elevates the art of tea drinking into a “Way” or “Dao” that transforms the practice into a moving meditation. Five elements harmonize to promote a deeper connection to self, nature, and the community. The ceremonies serve between 3 and 15 guests. The Gongfu Cha technique requires the full attention of the brewer whose finest skills must align with a proper flow of energy and presence of spirit. The basic rules of the traditional brewing method are used; it's ideal for up to three guests. Floating Mountain also provides a tasting that invites guests to select any three teas from the menu. They are brewed in a gaiwan (lidded) cup. Information is provided on origin, quality, and the effects of tea on the body. All ceremonies must be scheduled in advance. 239 W. 72nd St., 2nd fl., 646-852-6555, floating-mountain.com

Cha-An Teahouse

Tucked away from the buzz of the metropolis below is Cha-An—a second-floor hideaway that serves tea and Japanese treats.  Its stellar staff shows guests how to make matcha and provides instruction on the basic mannerisms that accompany each tea ceremony. Guests also receive an education on the history of matcha. 230 E. 9th St., 2ndfl., 212-228-8030, chaanteahouse.com

Luv Tea

LuvTea

The West Village’s Luv Tea strives to educate guests on high-grade teas.  Every Tuesday through Sunday, Luv Tea offers tea ceremony classes from 8pm to 9:30pm (by reservation only). The classes provide an in-depth history of tea and an introduction to a variety of teas. It also addresses table preparation and provides a demo on tea preparation.  The classes are taught by Wan Di and his apprentice—top model David Chiang, who has worked with Vogue, Versace, and Vera Wang. Luv Tea offers tournament-grade oolong teas, which are sourced from owner and tea master Jaesy Wang’s family farm in Taiwan. It also offers other innovative tea blends that hail from destinations worldwide. Wang has created original recipes using experience garnered from her family’s long line of award-winning tea farmers and roasters. 37 A Bedford St., luv-tea.com

Setsuggeka 

Setsugekka

Every month, the East Village’s tranquil Japanese tea house Setsuggeka offers open tea ceremonies. Guests can choose their favorite tea bowl and enjoy matcha prepared by Japanese tea ceremony master, Souheki Mori, who has more than 20 years of experience honing his craft. Check the website for the next ceremony. 74 E. 7th St., 646-895-9586, setsugekkany.com

29B Tea House

Innovative, mod teahouse 29b welcomes tea enthusiasts to experience teas from Japan, Korea, India, China, and Taiwan. Its tea offering extends from old aged-Chinese puerhs to charcoal roasted Taiwanese oolongs to rare Korean black tea balhyo and the highest grade shousui matcha. 29B offers educational classes on the history, preparation, and appreciation of tea. There’s also a monthly series that focuses on innovative chefs who are interested in healthy, ultra-seasonal dishes and creative ways of using tea in food. 29 Ave. B, 646-864-0093, tea-dealers.com

Gitano Jungle Room

Gitano Jungle Room

Sophie Burton

Gitano Jungle Room, the newly opened Tulum-inspired restaurant in The James New York—SoHo, will be introducing a special High Tea happy hour at their upstairs Jungle Bar. Every day from 5-7om, the Jungle Bar will feature a selection of House of Waris teas, Ladurée macaroons, and special large-format signature cocktails for those looking for a fun and classy after-work drinks option. Pop downstairs for dinner for Mexican- and Mayan -inspired small plates developed by Michelin-starred chef Mads Refslund in collaboration with Head Chef Yvan Lemoine. 23 Grand St., grupogitano.com

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