01 September 2013

Tea Pressing

Tea places are constantly popping up in New York.  The West Village gets the bulk of them, which makes it slightly difficult for me.  You see, when I want tea in that area, my go-to place is Tea and Sympathy.  I've been there three times this summer already - might be going for a record there!  Still, I like to keep up with other places, and I've done pretty well with this over the years.  I tend to lose track of spots that close down - only recently I found out The Tea Set is gone.  It's a shame, of course, but it makes sense - I mean it was just up the block from Tea and Sympathy - take a page from Bosie Tea Parlor if you're going to be an Afternoon Tea spot with a French flair and put a tiny bit of distance in there!  Maybe it was another case of the Groupon curse - many of those restaurants that started giving online coupons were doomed to deal with the fallout when people actually tried to cash in on them.

I'm going off on a Tea Tangent...

I'd heard of Press Tea, and knew I'd have to see it for myself.  There's a big to-do about their New Way of making tea, and it sparked my curiosity.

Now this is mainly a positive review, because I did not give them a fair chance: in fact, the odds were out of their favor on the day I picked to visit.  It was one of the hotter days in early summer, which means I was only in the mood for iced tea.  Unless that's the specialty, I prefer to try hot tea first, as it's what I generally drink, but it just wasn't happening.  Also, my visit came right after I'd sworn off coffee, as well as any drink that's caffeinated beyond English Breakfast tea.  My system is so sensitive - anyone who's seen me overdose on caffeine (which in my case consists of popping one Excedrin) knows that you don't want to take me past a certain level.  Just ask Bonnie, or Cathy B.  So there's me going to Press Tea, which boasts the ability to make a really strong brew out of the innocent Camellia Sinensis, and I pick late afternoon to go. The menu shrunk to a microscopic level for me...iced Rooibos it is!

I like Rooibos, but I tend to prefer it with a touch of flavoring, and hot.  Looking at the ordering instructions, I suppose I could have had a flavoring, but the outside heat had made me ornery so I just took it straight   I had this with a baby cupcake which tasted just fine, but was over in such a flash I neglected to remember what kind it was.  I believe it tasted autumnal.

Clear instructions

The only available seating was at the window.  I tend to like window views - who doesn't love people watching? - but the sun was glaring right through the a/c.

Lovely, though, isn't it?  Kind of looks like cappuccino (miss you!)  It was good, and refreshing, but it did not blow me away.  Like I said, I'm not a straight Rooibos drinker, so making it even stronger was not exactly going to help it for me.

I did like the interior.  If I'd had one of the cozier spaces to sit I'd have stayed longer.  Also, I could have done with a bigger piece of cake or something.

So, I'm not about to be thoroughly up or down about Press Tea.  I want to visit again and give a more educated review, but here's what I'll say for now.  The staff was absolutely friendly, and you can't say that about everywhere so...points for that.  It's pretty, and everything tasted as it should.  However, I'm not yet convinced that there's a point to their Special Method of brewing tea.  They make it sound mysterious and patented, but it seemed to me like it was a combination of making tea like cappuccino (miss you!), and brewing a lot of strong tea with a coffee press.  I don't think it's reinventing the wheel.   But, I'm all for tea businesses making it, and though super-strong tea doesn't float my boat, it might help to convert coffee people to tea lovers.  That's always good.    So I do hope that Press Tea stays around, and I want to go back in less balmy weather, order real tea, and make the best of it.


Bonnie said...

A strong rooibos latte sounds right up my alley!

khemi said...

Try some hillcountrytea dot com. It is soo good.