Coffeeshops are ubiquitous in New York so it’s always a nice surprise to come across a tea shop somewhere in the midst of the city. There is a little cafe that specializes in matcha in my neighborhood but what I’d much prefer is a place that offers a bit more variety.
I learned recently about a tea shop called Puerh that I think opened not too long ago. Browsing their website, I was not disappointed to find that they do indeed sell various types of the namesake tea. My family drinks pu-erh tea all the time, though not as much as when I was younger. My parents used to brew a pot for breakfast and it’s pretty much the standard when one sits down for dim sum in a Chinese restaurant.
I finally had a chance to visit it last weekend with a friend. Even though Puerh Brooklyn isn’t terribly far for me to walk to from home, it’s located on a street that I don’t frequent that often. All I really needed was an excuse to travel in that direction and with a friend visiting the neighborhood, I had my reason.
The shop isn’t very big but it’s filled with a lot of lovely teaware. Along one wall is a tea counter where one can browse the loose tea and tea cakes the shop sells. There is also a little takeaway area to order hot or iced teas as well as small bites such as cookies and chocolate.
There is another shop in the basement of the space that sells clothes, jewelry and some other sundries but the nice part about it the large airy space where it tea tastings and classes are held from time to time. The floor was covered with cushions and mats and there was definitely a stove and a pot set aside there. I’d love to revisit for a tea tasting if possible.
It’s hard for me to visit a tea store and not buy anything. I ordered an iced hibiscus tea (tasty) and then browse some of the pu-erh cakes available for purchase. In the end, I bought a small cake of pu-erh and chrysanthemums (another Chinese favorite). When I showed it to my mother, she advised me to keep it in a dark place for now and like wine, it will be better with age.
I can’t wait to break that tea cake open in the future and see how the flavors have improved.