“To get people in here, there is a process, unfortunately. There’s a questionnaire to even get invited, and we will trick people, sometimes, just for fun.”

Meet Timothy Hsu, the founder and tea connoisseur behind The Mandarin’s Tea Room, an underground tea-speakeasy lost in the heart of SoHo. The first time I met Timothy, he got me tea drunk. Sip after sip, I could sense my serious mood slowly vanish. I left giddy. My steps, lighter. My mind, brighter. Timothy was pleased.

I never heard of being “tea drunk” before. Never knew it was even a possibility for tea to have that effect on you. And that’s the whole purpose of The Mandarin’s Tea Room: to share the true story of tea. Which, of course, isn’t chai tea or jasmine tea. He’s talking about the real tea leaves, predominately from tea trees in China: camellia sinensis.

According to Timothy, tea appreciation has been lost. Industrialization of the tea industry has made the culture of tea too immediate. Drinkers take less time. Timothy believes this cuts the true essence of tea, as a tool to engage your being, or well-being, so to say. Right now, Tim claims there are over 4,000 varietals of tea, each able to deliver different effects on your body (a number that, frankly, blew my mind – I had no idea!). At The Mandarin’s Tea Room, some of the world’s best teas are available to taste. So come. Get comfortable. Take a moment. Slow down. And let Tim enlighten you over a few cups of tea.

“The best tea comes from monks; because they develop tea for the purpose of enlightenment.”

Thanks for watching food. curated.! Happy slurping! 

The Mandarin's Tea Room
21 Howard St
New York, NY 10013


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