Though we love hidden doors, soft openings and speakeasys, New York is not a town known for its well-kept secrets.
Relatively under the radar—for now, at least—Té Company is a serene oasis perched just above street-level and tucked behind a door shared with an apartment residence.
“It takes courage to come through apartment doors,” said Frederico Ribeiro, partner with Elena Liao in both life and business. “So you have to really want to enter.”
Once you enter, you’ll want to stay. Liao and Ribeiro don’t so much manage the refined and relaxed tea room, formerly the home of Bonnie Slotnick Cookbooks, as they welcome you into it; they chat with friends, strangers (and even with a customer’s gray toy poodle) with such casual warmth, everyone is encouraged to linger.
Situate yourself near the picture window with one of Liao’s curated collection of oolongs, a semi-oxidized tea that falls midway between green and black. Like your favorite wine store, the menu provides orienting tasting notes of the hand-picked teas, which Liao buys from farmers in her native Taiwan.
Order a triple-steeped small pot, ($6.00-$10.50) of delicate, vegetal Mountain Range or amber Iron Goddess, which has leather and wood chip notes that finish into creamy vanilla. If you want to eat, tuck into an assortment of savory items made with ingredients from the Union Square Greenmarket—Spanish tortilla ($7), Açorda à Alentejana, a Portuguese garlic-bread soup ($6), radish salad ($12)—as well as sweet ($2.95 – $7). Made with organic flour, the complex and refined pineapple linzer cookie ($3.25) is dusted with lime zest and salt—it’s not to be missed. If you must dash, they also offer cups to go ($3.50-$5.50).
If it’s prescriptive teas you’re after, travel a few blocks farther uptown to Naturopathica Chelsea, where a Master herbalist and aromatherapist created a tea collection for the holistic spa’s Vitality Bar. With calendula, red clover and white peony, a cup of Skin Tea ($3.50) is like drinking a delicate bouquet; another remedy blend targets stress, while others aim to boost immunity and muscle and joint health. A complex Bengal Chai ($3.50) is dusted with pink peppercorn to aid digestion.
Naturopathica also offers a robust menu of oolong, green, black and white teas, as well as cold-pressed juices and kombucha on tap, which can be mixed into tonics and elixirs ($8.50) to address ailments of skin, stress or a too-late night.
Would that good health were always this chic.
163 W 10th St
127 W 26th St