In its narrow 7th street haven, Tea Drunk, graces New York with the true experience of traditional Chinese tea. The long room lined with exquisite sets of dishes culminates in tables of petrified bamboo and a living wall. “The best place to have tea,” Shunan Teng, the owner of this intriguing salon said, “is in nature.” Tea Drunk stands as far more than a mere tea shop. Rather, Tea Drunk is an invitation into the Chinese culture, in which tea is treated, consumed, and discussed thoroughly in a way similar to that of wine. Each tea has a specific origin, coming from a region that gives it certain attributes. As the owner described, real tea comes from the mountains. The personality of the tea should be taken into account when deciding how it should be presented. While a tea from the wilderness may be served in a clay cup, a green tea may be served in porcelain. The elevation of the area and the age of the tea trees affect the tea’s individual taste. Tea Drunk offers pressed tea from trees three to seven hundred years old. Having backpacked to many of these regions herself, Shunan explains, “the sun makes all the difference.” The harsher the environment, the better the tea tastes. Tea Drunk also presents the story of Chan Cha, tea made by Chinese monks. In this tradition, the making of tea is considered a meditative tool that inspires karmic connections. In pouring and serving, the Shunan demonstrated the use of a tea “pet” to soak up the unwanted tea water. These adorable tea pets develop a particular shine as they collect the water, adding to their characters. As for the name, there is really, according to the Shunan, a sensation of being tea-drunk! A feeling of deep relaxation and happiness settles in at the power of tea. Whether a wandering novice or a tea connoisseur, step into the world of Tea Drunk and find everything from a calligraphed tapestry of a Buddhist sutra to tea smoked by pine needles.
Read more about the tea shops of the Side Streets