Going to tea with my mom is something that had been on my list of things to do for about a year now. And while the formality and ceremony of afternoon tea is part of its appeal, it’s also the thing that causes us to continually put it off, waiting for the perfect occasion to indulge. I was happy to learn then that the Harney & Sons offers a more casual a la carte tea at their shop in New York.
The shop has a beautiful interior, with high ceilings, lavender walls, and tall shelves filled with colorful tins of tea. I’ve always been in love with the brightly colored Harney tins and they look even more attractive when grouped together. The shop also carries funky tea pots, cups and other tea paraphernalia. A smaller set of open shelves partially separates the small cafe in back from the rest of the shop.
Selecting a tea was a bit overwhelming. Harney has well over a hundred varieties to choose from in several categories: black, green, oolong, white, jasmine, herbal and more. Since we knew we were ordering something sweet to eat, I wanted some sort of robust, black tea, nothing fruity or herbal. Among the black teas, I was attracted to the single-origin varieties. From there, I pretty much made a random selection, and landed on a tea from Tanzania called Livingstonia described as “a full-leaf tea that is reminiscent of a high grown ceylon: light and lively.”
Our food choice was an easy decision, much easier than selecting a tea. We chose the warm vanilla scones with Devonshire cream and jam. The menu offers a nice variety of sweet and savory food options including baked goods, SoCo Creamery ice cream made with Harney & Sons teas, savory scones, tartines, and cheeses. They actually have several gluten-free items including sweets from Tu-Lu’s Bakery.
The vanilla scones were like a dream: warm, with a browned, sugar-crusted exterior, the insides fluffy and tender. They needed absolutely nothing, but the light, rich cream and strawberry jam certainly didn’t hurt. If you’re a tea fan, it’s worth a trip just to check out the shop, and the Harney tins make an excellent gift. If you’ve ever wanted to do tea but not wanted to commit to a formal tea session, or are just looking for a relaxing afternoon activity, the café is the perfect spot.
Harney & Sons
433 Broome Street
New York, NY