I saw Tavalon from across the street a few Sundays ago with Marie, but it looked closed. Actually, it was just about to open. Yesterday, when I heard that it opened, I determined to visit it as soon as possible. So today during our lunch hour I dragged Bonnie through the 4 train to Union Square. That's really not the brightest thing to do, as it seriously cuts into our relaxing and unwinding time. My curiosi-tea got the better of me, though, so on we went.
Tavalon is a small place, with comfortable seating for 5 or 6 tops. It's bright and airy, with a dj above playing dj-type music. There were 2 men staffing the shop, and another giving out samples of a white tea with plum that tasted heavenly. I was informed that there would be a tea class every Friday evening, for anyone who is interested. The man behind the counter (I've got to ask people their names) was informative and friendly, and I ordered the Chai Seduction, iced because it's kind of warm out today. I'm glad to say it was really good, even with soy milk.
Additionally, they had some sweets on offer. I had a green tea cookie. They also have little scones, rice pudding, croissants, and more. I believe they offer sandwiches but as I didn't see any and forgot to ask, I would not go in hungry the first time.
If the two teas I tried were any indication, I would certainly recommend Tavalon. This is not an Afternoon Tea kind of place, it's in a busy but fun shopping area (and getting busier with Trader Joe's having opened nearby.) So if you are shopping in Union Square - and I know you will be eventually, do stop in. They sell loose tea and paraphernalia - I may add them as a link.
Caveat: Don't try to come here during your lunch break if you work in the east 40's (Grand Central Station area)- it's just too much trouble. Really, with Koli Koli closing, there is no lunchy tea place in walking and enjoying distance from my job! Commenters: if you know of any, please let me know.