TravelNoise: Luv Tea, New York City
To some, tea is a morning wake-up. To others, it can spell comfort and relaxation at the end of a crazy day. But to Luv Tea, tea is a ritual and should be treated with patience, diligence and love. After making a visit to the Greenwich Village tea shop, I now wholeheartedly agree.
Luv Tea sits inconspicuously on a trendy street in the village, but upon entering the shop, my guest and I noticed the interior was bright, decluttered and clean — exactly what you’d expect from a tea shop. But what set Luv Tea apart from every other tea shop in this city was the strong aromatics sweeping around the tables. Fresh tea has a scent that cannot be described, but there are a few words that get close: earthy, pure, fresh, powerful.
We were seated by our lovely host in a special tea tasting room off to the side of the main floor. You can request a tasting in this room with a tea master, and we highly suggest you do so. If a tasting isn’t your thing, you can grab a cup to go. The best part? Every tea that Luv Tea carries is of the highest quality, and you can still get a world-class taste for under $10.
As light jazz music played, we admired the crystals and ceremonial tea sets, and our host got an Oolong tea ready for the ceremony. Our host explained to us that the key to knowing if a tea leaf is fresh is how many times it can be re-steeped. Yep, if you thought that tea was only good for one brew, you’re mistaken — at least, you’re mistaken about quality tea. As we moved through the motions of the ceremony — prepping the kettle, pouring the tea into our cups, allowing the tea to steep, tasting, and re-steeping — we counted how many rounds those few leaves were good for: five. We were at a loss for words by how amazed we were. By the end of the ceremony, the tea leaves had opened up entirely, and we marveled at the size.
Overall, my guest and I agreed that Luv Tea gave us the ultimate experience with a beverage we both thought we knew well. As it happens, we didn’t know very much at all, and I’ve never been more satisfied to be wrong. You can bet I’ll be back when I’m craving a tea fix.