How do you usually prepare your teas? From a tea bag? Steep with loose leaf tea? or maybe, a cold brew? For tea enthusiasts and connoisseurs, the process is definitely more than just combining tea leaves with water. There’s the quality of the tea leaves and kind of water, the ratio of leaves to water, the water temperature, time, and of course, the methodology used.
Press Tea, a new cafe on 7th Avenue in the West Village, invites you to experience tea differently. Their teas are prepared using a unique method, using steam pressure to press the tea leaves. The process involves using a specially designed machine, similar to an espresso machine, which has been configured for use with tea leaves.
I was recently invited over to Press Tea to chat with the owners, sample some of their beverages and check out their space. The owners had spent significant time traveling, exploring, and researching tea, before coming up with their tea blends. The tea leaves are sourced from all over the world and carefully selected to produce their four quality tea blends: Wild Himalayan (Black), Formosa (Green), Cape Town (Rooibos), and Kashmir (Chai).
The teas are very customizable. You start by choosing a tea blend followed by a preparation, e.g. hot or cold, regular or with milk. They offer whole milk, 2%, non-fat, as well as soy and almond milk for non-dairy milk options. For hot beverages, you can add a rose, caramel, or vanilla flavoring. For iced beverages, you have the option of adding fruit puree. All drinks are made to order. You can also top off your iced tea with their signature mont blanc creme, a sweet and slightly salty foamy milk. They also have a handful of featured beverages with nicely matched tea and flavor combinations. To accompany the teas, they also have a small selection of pastries, all made in-house.
I tried a few of their beverages. The Iced Peach Green Tea Lemonade, kind of like their take on the Arnold Palmer, was a bit on the sweeter side. The Hot Vanilla Chai Latte with Almond Milk was fragrant and sweet, with rich flavors. The Hot Rooibos Tea Macchiato reminded me of a slightly not-as-sweet Thai tea. The Iced Black Tea Macchiato with Almond Milk was probably my favorite from the ones I sampled.
The cafe is quite small, but has a nice cozy atmosphere. There’s indoor seating, wooden tables, benches, chairs, and a pretty couch. Along with the beautiful wallpaper, the place kind of looks like it could be something from a catalog. The cafe receives a lot of sunshine through their open window shelving unit, accessorized with tea kettles and tea cups. The owners are working on potentially offering outdoor seating in the future as well. Oh yeah, and how can I forget to mention… there’s free wifi for customers!
Lastly, for #PressTeaTuesday, they offer half off all tea drinks every Tuesday from 4 to 7pm.