Thursday, June 27, 2013
Drinks | Press Tea
After work on Wednesday, Marcus and I finally made it to Press Tea, a teahouse that has relocated from the Lower East Side to the West Village last month. I passed by the old location on Ludlow many times, saying that I had to make it there sometime, so I'm glad I can finally say I've been, even if it was at its spankin' new location.
Press Tea sees itself as "more than a café" -- rather "a concept that combines global flavors with New York style." What I find most fascinating and notable about Press Tea, and how it differentiates itself from the usual teahouse, is that its method of brewing tea is quite "revolutionary" in ensuring the "greatest possible experience by combining the techniques of espresso with gourmet tea." Instead of steeping tea bags or brewing with loose leaves, its tea baristas uses "a unique press system that compresses finely ground tea leaves into espresso-like shots" -- something they informally refer to as tea-spresso, an approach that "maximizes the flavor of its teas, adding a velvety finish and rich colors to the already innovative blends." These highly concentrated tea shots result in a "smoother, crisper, cleaner tea that has more body and zero acidity or bitterness."
I can go on and on in explaining this, but you won't know what I mean until you finally taste and sip some pressed tea from here -- you'll be a convert for sure.
The tea blends found at here are exclusive (you won't find them anywhere else but here) as they are sourced from all over the world by the founders of Press Tea.
The interiors of the newly designed and recently relocated teahouse hope to emulate a "Victorian-era Parisian tea salon for the modern day."
Love this pillow! :)
With it being an incredibly humid day and all, I went for the Mango Rooibos, an iced press tea from the "Featured Beverages" offerings that evening. I don't normally like red tea -- I typically find it to be bland and watery with an unwelcome after taste -- but this one proved to be so very different. You can definitely perceive the difference as a result of the pressed preparation for the teas here -- highly concentrated, rich and smooth, as well as velvet in texture, all the while tasting the true flavors of a solid red tea. The flavor shot of mango added a balanced fruitiness to the iced beverage, the perfect solace from those sticky summer evenings.
Marcus tried the other two featured iced press teas -- Passion Fruit Green and Peach Black. The resulting concentration, texture, and consistency were just as lovely as those for the Rooibos, all highlighting the flavors characteristic of each tea blend. Out of all the flavor shots, I think the mango is the strongest (sweet with a little tang), followed by passion fruit (tangy), and then peach (lightly sweet). The recommended combination of flavors with a given blend were spot on, too, all blended well with the thoroughly pressed and brewed teas.
As I was taking shots of the interior, a gentleman came up to me and asked if I was a food blogger, which kind of caught me off guard, but it turned out he is one of the owners of Press Tea just checking to see if Marcus and I were doing well (which we were) and to tell us more about Press Tea, its preparation technique, and its tea blends (which we were happy to hear about). He was very really welcoming and knowledgeable, so it was great to interact with one of the masterminds behind the shop -- added a nice personal touch to our experience.
Findings: However brief our visit was at Press Tea, it has certainly made a lasting impression with me, one that will encourage not only subsequent visits but frequent ones, too. I don't doubt that Marcus and I will become regulars here and make it a personal haunt of ours very soon. The quality of the tea blends and the meticulous care taken by the tea baristas in the shop's innovative pressed preparation will win over both tea lovers and skeptics just the same. There's no stained water here -- only legit cups of beautifully brewed blends of well-curated source and origin. Plus, there's a whole side of the menu we haven't even had a chance to explore namely the miniature pastries (baked in-house and infused with actual tea leaves) and the hot beverages (for me, the teappuccinos). Glad I can rest easy knowing that NYC now has a teahouse that takes its preparation quite seriously. So watch out, Press Tea -- you've got a new loyalist on your hands! :P
Price point: $4.50-4.90 for each iced press tea with a flavor shot.
--June 26, 2013
167 7th Avenue South
New York, NY 10014