If you’re looking for tea in New York City, there are a lot of options. One of the more fantastic places to visit is the tiny hole in the wall called Physical Graffitea. It’s located on Saint Marks Place between 1st Avenue and Avenue A, on the ground floor of the original “Physical Graffiti” buildings that were featured on the Led Zeppelin cover of the album with the same name. Though it’s a really easy place to miss if you’re not looking for it, this tea shop is one to definitely keep your eye out for.
The inside of the establishment is long and narrow—small, but littered with a few tables and chairs and a comfortable cushioned seating area by the front window. They allow you to order take-out, so if the seating area is full or you’re in a rush, don’t hesitate to order to go. For those looking for a tea shop they can sit in to work on projects for long hours during the day, this may not be the best option.
It’s decorated beautifully, with vibrant colors and art from local artists on the walls. As soon as you walk in, the room smells like tea brewing, which is as inviting as it can get. The entire wall behind the main counter is covered in large barrels of fresh loose tea. On their counter, they usually have large containers of pre-brewed tea you can also order. These are especially delicious during the summer when you can get your order iced.
Their menu can sometimes be overwhelming, but beside each tea that’s offered, they explain the ingredients, and what the tea is known to be good for. If you’re looking for your tea to have more medicinal value, this is especially helpful. Beyond an extensive tea menu, the employees are more than happy to help you decide on which kind of tea would best suit your taste, mood, or necessity.
If you are in need of a specific blend, or you are interested in trying a medicinal blend given to you by an outside source, you can bring it to the store and they will do their best to provide you with that tea. There is very little that they are unwilling to do in order to help you have the most enjoyable experience available.
In addition to tea, they have a wide variety of options you can use to sweeten your tea, from regular sugar to cane sugar, to a wide variety of plant sugars—even pollen. If you have any question about what kind of sweetener is best for you or best for your tea, employees are also willing to talk to you about the health benefits of everything they offer.
If you’re feeling a little hungry during your visit, the shop also offers snacks and desserts. They sometimes vary depending on the day of the week, but cakes and other dessert-type foods can be found by and behind the counter.
Whether you’re on a leisurely stroll, on your way to work, or just looking for something that will help you with a medical condition, Physical Graffitea is definitely worth the stop. Grab yourself a nice cup of hot tea, and a sweet treat to brighten your day and get your mind back on track.