When we first started selling tea in the US, we only sold to fine dining restaurants in NYC. Over time we realized our tea should really be available to everyone instead of only at rare dining experiences. We then opened an online store where all our teas are available for purchase, but the website couldn’t transmit the delicious aroma and taste. Ultimately, we thought the only way to spread our joy for this type of tea is to have a physical tearoom where people could come in and experience it for themselves. In Oct 2015, we opened our first tearoom in a tiny space that used to be a vintage cookbook store in the West Village of New York City.
The name...Our name, “Té,” comes from the word for “tea” in Taiwanese Hokkien, a Chinese dialect originating from coastal Southern Fujian. It is a dialect spoken by over 70% of the population in Taiwan. Its origin traces back to the Hoklo people, who descended from southern Fujian during the Qing dynasty and migrated to Taiwan generations ago.
Bringing Loose Leaf Tea to you...Good quality loose full-leaf teas are scarce in the US. Even in the culturally diverse New York City good teas are rare finds. Most people have limited exposure to anything other than grocery store tea bags. We wanted to bring a different perspective by sourcing quality teas ourselves, from small farmers, and showcasing them in a casual and friendly atmosphere without losing the integrity of the product.
What about taiwanese teas?Taiwanese oolong is the darling jewel of the tea world. Taiwan specializes in oolong tea, which requires highly skilled tea makers with generations of experience. The tea trade first came to Taiwan from Fujian in China, a province known for its oolongs. Taiwan went through half a century of Japanese occupation, which brought scientific precision to traditional tea making. Less than 1% of the world’s tea production came out of Taiwan, and historically the good stuff is kept domestically.
Luckily, one of our owners is originally from Taiwan and knows where to find the best of the best to bring to the tea house for you.