Contributor: David Bernard
New York is, of course, known for its astonishing mixture of cultures and individual histories. Throughout every inch of the city lies a vastly unique population of residents and visitors each of whom have their own personal style and charm. From the Upper West Side all the way down to the Lower East Side, Manhattan’s vibrant communities shine day after day. Every corner of the city it seems, not just Manhattan, always has something new and admirable, no matter how often you go by.
Last night I had the pleasure of trying out a small tea cafe in the East Village, on 7th St between 1st Avenue and Avenue A. Known by the name “Tea Drunk”, I must say I was pleasantly surprised by the evening. The tiny shop had cultivated a very aesthetically pleasing environment all while my friends and I enjoyed our drinks.
Normally, I’m not much of a tea drinker, but having been with friends we stumbled upon the shop around 8 pm on a Monday night. I had never seen the place before, as I’m not often on 7th St, but one of my friends who was with me really wanted to give it a try as he had been looking for some tea. We entered the shop and were greeted warmly by one of the tea servers. We took a seat at one of the tables and he gave us some menus to look over.
Being late on a Monday night, we only ordered a green tea for the table and in fact our exact variety was the “green tea – long jing – who feng xi hu”. After ordering, the server began to put everything together. What I expected to just be a pot of tea placed in between us actually turned into a full drink experience. It started with the table setting, which consisted of two small water pitchers, a porcelain filter and filter holder, as well as three small sipping cups for us. Upon taking a scoop of the leaves we had chosen, he gave us each a quick smell so that we could “sample” them. We all agreed that the flavor on this one would be rich and well kept.
He then began to fill one of the pitchers and mix the tea leaves, stirring as well to make sure the flavor was evenly distributed. He then began to filter the water into the other pitcher and poured our sipping cups. After letting it have a minute to cool, we enjoyed the flavor. As we predicted, it was rich and flavorful, and also very fresh. We actually quickly went through the first pitcher. It was only then that we were re-visited by the gentleman again who conducted another round of filtering the leaves and pouring us some more. For the particular variety we had (although it is possible that it’s the same for all varieties at this shop) they do four pours. After that they consider the leaves to be past their freshness.
As I mentioned above, I’m not usually a big fan of tea, but I could tell quickly that this one was good. What fascinated me more about the place however was the ambiance and aesthetic drive that the owner went for. I found the place to be very calm and peaceful (and not just because we were the only ones present at 9pm on a Monday night). The design of the interior had been clearly well thought out and put together. The lighting and color palette mixed almost perfectly together, with the accents of wood to enhance the style and compliment the tea drinking.
Typically, the East Village is full of thin shops and tiny buildings (trust me, I live in this neighborhood!) but even given the same conditions in this shop, I felt somehow more cozy. The painted white brick walls and large front windows for sun really reminded me of the old classic New York Village style that I’ve grown used to and appreciative of since moving here. Take a look at some of the pictures for yourself below, and see if it’s worth a visit for you!I’ve decided that I myself will definitely come back during daylight hours to see if there’s much of a difference in the atmosphere.
Have you been to Tea Drunk before? Comment and share your experiences below!