Whenever I get asked for flavored black tea recommendations, I often speak of Harney & Sons’ Paris blend. I’ve never come across a black tea lover who didn’t like it. This vanilla and citrus-laced tea is so good that when I passed through NYC last year, I made it a point to stop by Harney & Sons’ SoHo shop.
Expecting a storefront with their signature black and gold label, I instead came across this aquarium-themed window display, and wasn’t quite sure if I had made it to the right place. Once I caught a glimpse of this vibrant orange, Japanese cast iron teapot, I took it as a good sign that I hadn’t gotten lost.
The shop’s set up is open and spacious. To the right of the front door you’ll see some of Harney & Sons’ tinned teas and some tea wares and gift packs as well. Unlike some other tea shops, they don’t carry a ton of tea wares, but the ones that they do are uncommon and unique.
I found these wooden tea chests especially handsome, great for the everyday tea drinker who appreciates a classic look.
To the left of the entrance you’ll find this gigantic wall of tea. You can also catch their Tea of the Moment selections here. Feel free to ask for a complimentary tea tasting–if you check in on Facebook or Yelp you can get an additional tasting or even a free sample!You’ll also want to pay special attention to some of the signs placed in and around the tasting table in front of the tea wall. The store features some interesting classes, like this one on usucha (thin) versus koicha (thick) matcha.
At the back of the store you’ll find a relaxing little tea lounge. They’re known for their tea-infused light meals, and a Paris Tea Float, made with Earl Grey ice cream which I very regrettably didn’t order (too much good food in NY and not enough time!).Here’s a closer look at the some of the pre-packaged tins of tea that you can take home. Many of these teas are available at bookstores or markets all over the US, but a few are harder to come by, like their RMS Titianic Blend or their Organic Chopra Center Ayurvedic Teas.
I ended up taking my tea break with a cup of Dong Ding Light Oolong while my husband enjoyed an iced version of the Paris blend. We also couldn’t resist and ended up ordering some Vanilla Scones, which made the teas taste that much more delicious. Here’s a glimpse of the French macarons offered in the tea lounge. These would have been a nice treat with the Paris tea, but I had already indulged in these beauties at Ladurée earlier that day.
As I was, I’m sure you’re wondering what Decent Tea is. It’s a blend of Keemun and Assam, one created for Malachi McCormick, the Irish author of a book called (surprise)…A Decent Cup of Tea. If you’ve read this, I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Harney & Sons has so many teas to choose from that I wish they made Tagalongs for all their teas. I grabbed a few mini tins of Chef Marcus Samuelsson’s Ambessa blends on the way out, and am excited to report back on them soon!
For its solid reputation as a tried and true brand among American tea companies and for the sheer number of intriguing blends you’ll come across here, stop by one of Harney & Sons’ stores in New York. If an understated, no-frills tea break sounds appealing, this is the place for you!
Harney & Sons Fine Teas SoHo
433 Broome Street
New York, Ny 10013