NYC Chinatown Tea Stores

One of the intentionally aged teas, Pu-Erh has a loyal following.

Re: NYC Chinatown Tea Stores

Postby AllanK » Mar 11th, '14, 19:56

shah82 wrote:If you're willing to pay 50 cents a gram for Liu Bao, you certainly have options...

If I wasn't right there, I probably would never have bought it. There is a certain power to having the tea right in front of you that the internet can never match. There is just vastly more available on the internet.

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Re: NYC Chinatown Tea Stores

Postby teaformeplease » Mar 24th, '14, 21:12

I'm the manager of a traditional Chinese tea house in NYC that carries puerh. We're not in Chinatown but you can easily walk from there. We currently have 2 cooked and 12 raw. More will be coming when the owner gets back from China in mid-May. The menu only lists the whole cake price but we also sell by the ounce.

http://t-drunk.com/

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Re: NYC Chinatown Tea Stores

Postby AllanK » Mar 25th, '14, 07:23

teaformeplease wrote:I'm the manager of a traditional Chinese tea house in NYC that carries puerh. We're not in Chinatown but you can easily walk from there. We currently have 2 cooked and 12 raw. More will be coming when the owner gets back from China in mid-May. The menu only lists the whole cake price but we also sell by the ounce.

http://t-drunk.com/

Looks interesting. I will have to check this out the next time I get to NYC.

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Re: NYC Chinatown Tea Stores

Postby gasninja » Mar 25th, '14, 08:26

I will check it out in a couple weeks when im in the city.

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Re: NYC Chinatown Tea Stores

Postby MacGuffin » Mar 25th, '14, 13:45

MarshalN wrote:
AllanK wrote:
brandon wrote:Fang carries puer tea cakes.
Manhattan Chinatown is not good for buying tea seriously, but it might be fun to look anyway, for grins.

I do not agree that Manhattan is not good for buying tea seriously.


He said Manhattan Chinatown. I think for the stores you listed only TenRen and Sun's qualify as being in Chinatown - and I'd dispute that TenRen is a good place for tea, having no experience with Sun's

Agreed on all counts--unless one states otherwise, most people associate "NYC Chinatown" with lower Manhattan, even if "Manhattan" isn't specified (I remember when Flushing was predominantly Jewish and Jackson Heights was Colombian). I've gotten MUCH better tea online than Ten Ren's and despite its elegance, I didn't think Ito En was all that hot when it was open although it got major points for presentation and being able to buy small amounts. I had hoped that Fang would be at the Coffee and Tea Festival over the weekend, but they weren't. Had I not paid half-price admission and gotten a free goodie bag, I'd have felt cheated by the lack of serious tea there.

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Re: NYC Chinatown Tea Stores

Postby john.b » Jan 17th, '17, 00:22

I just visited NYC and did some tea shopping, referring to this thread and some online sources for options, in general agreeing with the comments here about options I did check out:

http://teaintheancientworld.blogspot.co ... -city.html

The post rambles on so much I couldn't add to what it expresses, but I can offer some summary here, a shorter version.

The emphasis in this forum would be on the best of the best teas, and I didn't do pursuit of those justice, I just saw what I saw in a limited area around Chinatown. Places like Ten Ren and New Kam Man Chinese market weren't worth checking out, unless gambling on value oriented modest offerings is of interest.

I did like Sun's Organic Garden, but it's not normally how I buy tea to see them labeled as a type, without more about a specific source. I'm more into how tea aspects go than such details, and I only tried one of four I bought there, a modest Kenyan black tea. It was nice, so maybe that approach does work out in this case.

I missed more than I made it to due to only being in NYC for a few days (four whole days, maybe it was, but my family vacations aren't focused on the tea theme), with some on research of what I missed in the post. Further reviews will clarify how it went in terms of results more but at least it was interesting.

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Re: NYC Chinatown Tea Stores

Postby ethan » Jan 17th, '17, 04:00

John, your blog about tea-walk in NYC is interesting. I think you did quite well in the snow.

Being in a place that sells tea but does not provide any samples could be quite annoying to me. Also, cafes sitting people down for a pot of tea that cost > $20 are not my kind of place. (Hell, I've hardly had any $20 meals in my life.)

Don't throw away that lapsang souchong. I can use it as an insect repellent. Cheers

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Re: NYC Chinatown Tea Stores

Postby john.b » Jan 17th, '17, 05:52

I've got to know what that tea tastes like since I've already went through smoking my luggage by carrying it around but it seems likely it will be yours.

About that pot of tea pricing, if I'm remembering right in that same shop two of the teas went for $79 for 50 grams, not completely unheard of pricing but getting pretty far up there.

It was a bit awkward spending a half an hour fighting through a blizzard to come to a well-recommended vendor and then feeling priced out of all but the cheapest teas they had on offer. It was also odd explaining how I was in the midst of travelling from one side of the world to the other, due to stop by Taiwan in two more days, but absolutely couldn't spare in the range of $50 for 50 grams of tea.

I bought a $20 pot of tea here in Bangkok once before but I'll probably never see the inside of that shop again (Peace Oriental cafe--you might want to avoid it). It was good tea, for what that's worth, unusually good.

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Re: NYC Chinatown Tea Stores

Postby Zared » Jan 17th, '17, 16:50

Honestly $20 isn't really that much when you consider the average cocktail around there is $10-15 plus tip. That shop also has 5-6 of puerh from Wisteria and 2 from 80-90s that might be worth trying instead of their basic offerings.

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Re: NYC Chinatown Tea Stores

Postby john.b » Jan 18th, '17, 02:38

If we are talking about the same place they didn't mention pu'er at all, as far as I recall. There was a menu with a 8 or 9 teas listed, basically two word descriptions, no detail, and they pointed at that. I managed to pry a few more words out of them to fill in more context, and they showed a couple examples of dry leaves, but communication wasn't going well.

It didn't help that they quoted $70 / 50 grams for a couple of types that sounded more interesting (roughly--I didn't commit that to memory) and I had trouble processing the sticker shock. Even if they had mentioned those there was a decent chance I could visit Wisteria soon since I was going to Taipei in the next two days after. I didn't, but that's a different story.

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Re: NYC Chinatown Tea Stores

Postby Zared » Jan 18th, '17, 09:51

john.b wrote:If we are talking about the same place they didn't mention pu'er at all, as far as I recall. There was a menu with a 8 or 9 teas listed, basically two word descriptions, no detail, and they pointed at that. I managed to pry a few more words out of them to fill in more context, and they showed a couple examples of dry leaves, but communication wasn't going well.

It didn't help that they quoted $70 / 50 grams for a couple of types that sounded more interesting (roughly--I didn't commit that to memory) and I had trouble processing the sticker shock. Even if they had mentioned those there was a decent chance I could visit Wisteria soon since I was going to Taipei in the next two days after. I didn't, but that's a different story.


We are both talking about shop on Elizabeth st right? http://www.tshopny.com/shop/
I agree that $70\50g is a lot but that's actually cheaper than another local tea shop that many people have said has good tea. T-drunk in east village. http://tea-drunk.com/collections/tea/yan-cha. I haven't tried either of they're teas so I can't comment on whether they're worth it or not. High cost of running a brick and morter shop is always going to drive up the cost of the teas they sell so both are probably never going to be my go to vender. I think both places are worth atleast a sit down session for anyone visiting with friends in town though.

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Re: NYC Chinatown Tea Stores

Postby john.b » Jan 19th, '17, 02:26

Tea Drunk did look to be in the same range, from their website prices, $1 - $1.50 per gram for a lot of their teas, perhaps some higher.

I get it that overhead factors in, that shops can't operate at a loss, and have to charge however pricing works out, that there is no set limit on the multiple of their original cost they'd need to charge.

There are a lot of online options that more or less compete with physical shops in terms of loose tea sales. There are lots of great options in the $20-something per 50 grams / two ounce range. Or even $10-15, really, but quality does span a range, with cost factoring in availability and relative demand more than some objective quality level.

The nice part about a physical shop is that you can judge if a tea is really worth $10, $30, or $70 to you. It's nice when tasting the tea is a part of that evaluation, since there's no way to do that based on a very short description and seeing dry leaves (or even sniffing them). I had missed the whole intended theme for not having time to stick around for a pot, but based on past experience and my tea budget I don't typically spend $20 on that (although I have), even though for many that kind of expense is insignificant, not functionally different than their daily $8 cup of coffee.

I'm a bit spoiled due to living in Bangkok, where options for lots of things are less expensive (although some things cost more), and by online options, and by receiving free samples related to being a tea blogger. There really is no upper limit for what stops making sense for tea pricing, although moving past $2 per gram would require some extra degree of justification.

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