About a year and a half ago, French tea company Palais Des Thés opened up their first New York City shop on the Upper West Side. Since then, a second location in Soho location has been added which offers tea tasting classes. (In Paris, there’s Palais Des Thes’ The Tea School with an extensive tea program.)
There are three classes to choose from ranging from $50 – $80 per person. I took the Grand Cru Tasting where I would be able to try their rarest and finest teas. My intimate hour-long class (no more than four people are in each class) was guided by Palais Des Thés’ tea expert Aurélie.
When I arrived at the Soho shop, I was greeted by Aurélie and the friendly staff at Palais who directed me to a specially designed tea tasting table where tasting cups sets were laid out. We would be tasting four different Grand Cru teas.
In a tea tasting, you go from lightest to darkest so we started with Silver Needles, a white tea from China that was brewed for about 10 minutes.
With each tasting, we took whiffs of the dry tea and compared it to the wet tea leaves after it had been steeped and then tasted the tea. Loud slurping is encouraged to get the full essence of the tea. It was interesting how it varied so much from how it smelled to how it tasted.
While waiting for teas to brew, Aurélie answered any questions I had and I learned a ton about tea and the art of a tea tasting.
The tea I enjoyed the most was the Tawaramine Shincha from Japan which was toasty and had a lovely mouthfeel. (By the way, in this class, feel free to throw out words like “mouthfeel” and “vegetal” as much as you want, like I did.)
The hour flew by and I was high on tea. It was a treat to taste their best teas of the season and learn the proper way to enjoy them.
INFO: Grand Cru Tasting Class at Palais Des Thés | 156 Prince Street | New York, NY 10012 | 646.513.4369
//Tea tasting class courtesy of Palais Des Thés. All content and opinions expressed here are my own. //