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Cha-An is easily one of my favorite tea spots in New York City, located on 9th street between 2nd and 3rd Avenues, just one street away from the craziness that is St. Marks Place. Cha-An offers a quiet respite from all of the madness. Once you step through the non-descript wooden door at 230 East 9th Street, and walk up one flight of steps, you are transported to Japanese tea garden (without the flowers and the greenery) in the middle of New York City. Cha-An’s menu offers a large variety of teas, small snacks, desserts and lunch sets – making it the perfect place to stop by at any time in the day.

After a long day of shopping and walking around the city, I decided to stop in to recharge with a cup of tea… and maybe a dessert or two =)

Here are the items I sampled today.

From left to right: tieguanyin tea, hibiscus tea, and strawberry puff napoleon.

The ice hibiscus tea was refreshing – it had a light sweetness that complemented its subtle floral note so well. It is a perfect tea to enjoy on a hot, humid day. The color is very pretty and cheerful as well!

Tieguanyin is one of my favorite Chinese teas (a post all about tieguanyin to follow in the next few weeks), it is served gong-fu style here. Here is a quick video of me demonstrating the process.

The strawberry puff napoleon is delicious and so pretty to look at. It features alternating layers of buttery, flaky, puff pastry pieces, vanilla custard, and strawberries, finished with a dusting of confectioner’s sugar. Mixed berries ice cream with macerated strawberries is topped with a crispy sesame tuile alongside the napoleon. The puff pastry goes so well with the lightly sweetened custard and strawberries, never feeling too sweet and cloying. The ice cream is very light, do not expect the texture of an Italian style gelato, texture-wise, it is almost a cross between ice cream and sorbet. The macerated strawberries work well to lend an extra bit of sweetness. And, I’m a sucker for any type of tuile with ice cream!

Overall, Cha-An will not disappoint – highly recommended. I also found out that they do Japanese tea ceremonies here. I promptly made a reservation and will be going in a few weeks – stay tuned for my future post about this experience.

Cha-An (230 East 9th Street, 212.228.8030)

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