A couple of weeks ago, I visited the Harney & Sons tea shop and factory in Millerton, New York (see A taste for tea) and had a wonderful experience sipping different infusions and seeing how the company’s teas were produced. So when I was in New York City recently, I decided to visit their other location, Harney & Sons in Soho.
It was a different experience, both in its decor and service. Located just off Broadway on Broome Street, the shop was long, narrow and high-ceilinged, with the tea bar and its display of canisters along one wall, gifts along the other, and a small tea cafe at the back. Otherwise, the space was sparsely furnished. It wasn’t as congenial as the Millerton shop, but maybe that’s in keeping with the energetic vibes of New York City.
As at the Millerton store, I tasted several “teas of the moment” – Kairbetta Frost and Love Life, plus a Pomegranate Oolong iced tea – but the sales associate was not very forthcoming about what each tea was about and did not offer to brew me a tea of my choice. For a tea experience, it was a little disappointing, but the sales associate said the shop was being redesigned in a few months, so hopefully the ambiance and the service will be enhanced and improved. I’ll check back again the next time I’m in the Big Apple.