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DIGEST | Revisiting Valentine’s Day

Like everything else this year, Valentine’s Day was a little different. There were no dirty looks on the subway for falling into someone’s bouquet during rush hour, no lines outside of every no-reservation date spot in the West Village, and no pre-dinner tea & dessert crowd in the tearoom.

In the before times, Té was a first-date destination where you could see all types of daters–think the New York version of Discovery Channel. You may remember a little dating guide we wrote for Valentine’s Day last year to celebrate this fascinating phenomenon.

Don’t worry, this isn’t another one retrofitted for dating in covid; I think we can agree that the genre has hit its quota. Plus, was it all that helpful? Just remember Facetime dates.

When the tearoom reopened for take out tea and snacks over the summer, we became a pit-stop for socially distanced daters heading on to the parks or a stroll through the West Village. Some of you may be gasping–dating during a pandemic?!–but romance waits for no one. And with such a high proportion of Type A personalities, is it a surprise that New York’s dating scene sometimes has the feeling of a game of speed chess?

But the frenetic energy was present before the pandemic, so what’s changed, really? Our investigations point to the weather. Like the days of yore when humans ate seasonally because they grew their own food rather than, say, had a spiritual crisis which led to the temple of raw veganism and a move to Portland, dating has become seasonal by necessity.

Meeting up for an outing is a little different in the sunny months of summer than in 30-degree weather that requires hand warmers and weatherproof everything. We barely do that for friends. And for someone we’re meeting for the first time irl? Suffice to say, that bar is a little higher this winter.

Virtual Tasting

We’re not saying that you should join us and 28 other people for a Sunday afternoon Zoom date–give us a little credit. The dating circuit isn’t the only population missing the chance encounters of the before times.

We think of the virtual tastings as a better, winterized version of yoga in the park: come to hang out, stay to talk to real people who you don’t live with. And don’t worry, we even have a cover for the relaxation-allergic among you. You’re not just drinking tea: it’s educational.

The first focused on roasted teas, and this month’s tasting is all about what makes certain teas famous while others barely make it beyond their town’s limits, let alone outside of Taiwan.

Whether you’re looking to learn, brew along, or reminisce about spending lazy afternoons in the tearoom, the tasting series is the perfect place to start. Even better, you don’t even have to pretend to follow a breathing pattern to enjoy it.

Tea Time

In this section of the digest, we’re sharing the teas we like for the season one month at a time.

Late winter can be a volatile time in New York: rainy mornings turn into beautiful, sunny afternoons only for snow the next day that’s gone the day after that. With the weather all over the map, we like to stay cozy with Frozen Summit Vintage, a toasty roasted oolong with warming notes of molasses and walnut.

We like it for the comfort factor: enough body to be present on the palate but still mellow enough for early spring drinking.

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