For those of you who haven’t visited us in person, our tearoom has four tables that seat 15 people when it’s packed. That’s to say it’s tiny, which makes it a great date spot: it feels like a secret, it’s intimate, and there are a lot of bars and restaurants nearby if the date goes well. The size of our space also means that we, your servers, can hear how most of the dates that take place in the tearoom go. We’re not trying to eavesdrop; it’s just difficult not to. Having facilitated so many dates over the years, we have some thoughts.
If you’re worried about getting a seat, do arrive early. You’ll get a chance to become comfortable in the space, and you can also do some recon on what exactly oolong is. We are more than happy to walk you through the menu, and this way you can do the same when the rest of your party arrives.
Do read the tea menu. It’s long, yes, and can seem somewhat intimidating at first, but it’s also a great conversation piece. The tea descriptions are fun and engaging, and it also gives you a moment to get comfortable with each other. Think of it as an activity: like going rock-climbing, but you can still dress well and hydrate.
On a related note, don’t just order the green tea. Don’t get me wrong: Our green teas are great, but we have a lot more to offer. If you read the menu and decide that the green tea is calling to you - great. But if you’re ordering it because it’s what you’re comfortable with, ask for help! We absolutely love helping people try new things, and we have some wonderful greener-style oolongs that are worth trying as well.
Do listen to your date. Dating in New York can feel like a competitive sport at times, complete with the idea that repetition breeds excellence. It can be difficult to break out of the same set of questions and answers that are an inevitable part of meeting people, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. A date is not a job interview; you’re not negotiating a starting salary. You’re trying to see if you enjoy spending time with the other person, so be present, not impressive. You will both appreciate it.
Don’t mansplain. Nobody likes it, and nobody asked for your stock tips. It’s unfortunate that it has to be said, but it really does.
Do make plans with friends for later and don’t be weird about it. If it goes well and you blow them off, your friends will understand and, if it doesn’t, you both have a graceful out. If you’re with someone who has done this, reign in the temptation to comment. Everybody understands why people do this, so don’t be that person. It’s awkward enough as it is.
Also, don’t be rude to the servers. We are people with ears and opinions (clearly). We will of course be polite and work to make your experience in the tearoom as fun and relaxing as we can, but we will notice if you treat us badly and so will your date. Rudeness is not an endearing quality in anyone.
But most importantly, do have fun! We’re here to share Taiwanese teas and we want you to enjoy yourself while you’re in the tearoom. Sit back, relax, and enjoy some tea.
This brings us back to the ordering conundrum. What to order? How much tea is in a pot? Is it shareable? What does three steepings mean? Don’t worry; we’ve got you. If this is your first date, take the pressure off yourself and order one pot each. There’s already so much to worry about without getting hung up on whether you share tea preferences, and we don’t want the floral vs. roasted debate to ruin the date prematurely. If it goes well, you can try each other's teas. If it seems like the move, though, sharing a pot can be fun. It’s - yet again - something to talk about and maybe even a little more intimate.
Lastly, there’s the tasting flight: best of both worlds, but better because the teapots are super cute (it’s just true). The only caveat here is that it takes longer to drink, so if you’re not sure that you want to spend at least two hours with this person do not order it. It is sad to see people leave a tasting flight without getting all three steepings. If you’re not sure, don’t do it. Sharing a dessert, on the other hand, is a great idea- but please don’t be the person to leave the last bite. We get it. No one wants to be that person, but do you really want to be the person who leaves a perfectly good bite of cake behind? We thought so. Enjoy the last bite, and your date.