I’ve been a fan of Teany Cafe in Lower East Side of Manhattan for many years now, even before setting foot in this cozy café and tea house. While I have never listened to co-owner Moby’s music (I am convinced that I live under a rock when it comes to music), I am very familiar with the awesomeness of this establishment’s tea selections, as well as a wonderful array of vegan food it offers, from the book, Teany Book. The book is part memoir, part tea encyclopedia, part vegan recipe book, and a whole lotta fun. I picked up the book a few years ago when I started getting interested in learning about different types of tea. I’ve been a tea drinker for a very long time (I am, afterall, Japanese whose meal does not officially end until a cup of delicious green tea arrives at my table) and the idea of learning about the leaves’ origins and rich histories fascinated me, just like how people are intrigued about wine.
On a side note, I am not much of a coffee drinker. I used to be, for a very long time when I was first introduced to Starbucks and its Soy Misto in my early 20s (and I would drink it every day), but after I discovered that my body can’t take too much caffeine without getting a mad headache, I crossed over to the tea world and never looked back.
Teany Cafe was exactly how I expected it to be – small, friendly, and a place where one can sit for hours and relax over a wonderful cup of tea. Well, it was almost exactly how I expected. It had a wonderful selection of unique teas (individually numbered and organized neatly along the kitchen wall in tin containers), great food (that will make you ask, “meat who?”), and a relaxing atmosphere with adorable little flowers sitting smiling at each table.
The only thing it was missing, however, was a decent service. They were all very nice but it was very disorganized and the wait staff truly ddin’t know the basic scopes of their job, like entering the order in the system, etc. It was really sad to watch food and tea orders sit on the counter for a long period of time before they were delivered to designated tables. The café was jammed packed with people, sure, but it took me a very long time to order and get my tea (Green Rooibos Berry, also called “#85) and dessert (vegan carrot cake with cream cheese frosting), and all the patrons looked frustrated with the same issue (I don’t think I’ve ever heard so many “Can we pleeeeeease have the check now?” yelled over me). On top of that, when I left the table momentarily to use the restroom (and I signaled the waitress that I will be back), another wait staff cleaned up my table, and I was not even done with my rooibos tea! But service aside, the café is as cute as I had imagined it would be, and the tea I tried was excellent. It was a wonderful place to sit down, relax my tired feet from walking around town all day, and catch up on my reading on my recently-purchased Kindle.
I ordered some food to go and enjoyed them for dinner! Both Pan Bagna and Vegan Chili were excellent. I can’t wait to recreate them at home (recipes for these two favorites are featured in the book).
90 Rivington Street, New York, NY 10002