Which Do You Prefer?
Did you know that coffee contains antioxidants that protect your cardiovascular system? Or how about the fact that teas across the board have been linked to preventing cancer and increasing bone health? Americans and Italians adore their coffee in the mornings, while the English and Asians would much rather a cup of tea. Where do you fall? Whether you like your coffee black or loaded with cream or you take your tea with honey and lemon or three lumps of sugar, let your taste buds decide what you should be drinking. Take them on a flavorful journey through your own backyard; to the popular coffee shops and tea houses of Long Island and New York City.
For Coffee Drinkers:
The Witches Brew
If you’re looking for a pleasant and quaint atmosphere to enjoy a coffee, slice of cake or vegan options, look no further than the Witches Brew in West Hempstead. Once inside, you won’t find the modern decor that dominates coffee shops. In Witches Brew, you’ll find yourself sitting on an old-fashioned love seat or at a small table plucked out of The Munsters.
Its delicious desserts are prominently displayed as patrons walk into the Halloween-esque cafe. The Reese’s cake is a must-try, consisting of peanut butter and chocolate cake with whipped cream or the new tiramisu dessert that sells just as fast as it’s made.
Besides the coffee, Witches Brew is known for their tea (the selection takes up at least three pages in the menu). The XOXO chai, consisting of chai tea and melted chocolate bits, really warms the heart. The passion fruit papaya speaks for itself, giving that fruity aftertaste that tickles the sugar tooth of everyone.
The Witches Brew is located at 311 Hempstead Tpke., West Hempstead. For more information, call 516-489-9482.
The Cup Coffeehouse
Across from the Wantagh Train station is a coffee shop that specializes in comfy furniture, dim lighting and unique coffees and desserts. On any given night, you will find the stage occupied by local musicians providing live music until close. In the back corner is a stack of classic board games to play while you wait for your friends to join you for a quick bite or catch-up session.
While the food, snacks, specialty sodas and milkshakes are great, it’s the coffee and dessert that beckons those with a sweet tooth to come through the doors. Favorites like the S’mores Square a la Mode, Caramel Blondie and Rainbow Cake, pair nicely with espressos, lattes and cappuccinos.
The Hot Mocha Cocoa is the perfect drink for the coffee lover who likes their hot chocolate with a little added caffeine, while the Dinner Mint is a peppermint patty in liquid form. The Irish Olivia offers the perfect amount of Irish cream, where the Gingerbread Latte screams the holidays, garnished with coffee beans and a cinnamon stick. The Jenny Penny is a vanilla chai latte with a raspberry swirl and looks as Christmasy as it tastes. All beverages are available decaffeinated, with options of whole, skim, soy milk or half and half.
The Cup Coffeehouse is located at 3268 Railroad Ave., Wantagh. Hours of operation: Sun. through Thurs. from 6 p.m. to 12 a.m., Fri. through Sat. from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. For more information call 516-826-9533 or visit www.thecupcoffeehouse.com.
Right off of Sunrise Highway in Massapequa Park is a coffee joint of almost the same name. Massapequa Perk has been providing delicious quality coffee to the town of Massapequa for many years. When owner Lucky DiBenedetto suddenly passed away, Good Life and Jam on Park owner Pete Mangouranes came to the rescue and bought the coffee house.
Since 2008, coffee aficionados have ordered a cup of Joe, a piece of cake or muffin, and have sat down for an hour or two to just relax. Massapequa Perk specializes in flavored coffees, such as crème brulee, vanilla and gingerbread, cappuccinos and espressos. Peanut butter and white chocolate raspberry lattes make an appearance on the menu as well. So before you hop on the LIRR for a ride into the city, stop in Massapequa Perk for a warm treat on a cold winter day. You just can’t beat friendly service in a quaint café.
Massapequa Perk is located at 117 Front St., Massapequa Park. For more information call 516-541-7375.
With a mission that states that Daily Press was, “founded with the goal of celebrating the heritage of the neighborhoods while providing a space where the community can come together and enjoy world-class coffee and goods,” what more of a reason do you need to stop in for a cup of Joe? Daily Press coffee beans are the shop’s own locally roasted blend of beans.
The store also serves classic New York bagels and pastries from fellow Brooklyn shops to go along with your espresso, cappuccino or Americano. So grab a cup and take a seat against the exposed brick walls in the cozy neighborhood coffee shop.
Daily Press is located at 505 Franklin Ave., Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn. Hours of operation Mon. through Thurs. from 6:30 a .m. to 7 p.m., Fri. 6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sat. 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sun. from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. For more information, call 347-240-1101 or visit www.dailypresscoffee.com.
If you find yourself in Long Island City and are in need of some caffeine, stop by Sweetleaf. While the name may sound more like a tea house than a coffee shop, you’ll be sure to find your local coffee staples here: cappuccinos, mochas, lattes, macchiatos, espressos and cortados. Loose leaf teas are available for the tea aficionados.
Sweetleaf’s signature drinks includes “Rocket Fuel,” a cold brewed, iced coffee with chicory, maple syrup and milk, as well as the “VooDoo Child,” a Vietnamese style cold brew that is sweet and creamy, and their strawberry iced tea, a blend of strawberry puree and black iced tea.
Delicious muffins, croissants, scones, pastries, loafs and cakes are yours for the picking behind a glass case that houses all of the sweets. The bakery offers gluten-free and vegan options as well. If the charming 19th century building with a classic tin ceiling and Parisian antiques don’t beckon you through the door, perhaps Sweetleaf’s impressive record collection will. Either way, you’ll enjoy your time here.
Sweetleaf is located at 10-93 Jackson Ave., Long Island City. Hours of operation: Mon. through Fri. from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sat. through Sun. from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. For more information call 917-832-6726 or visit www.sweetleaflic.com.
For Tea Drinkers:
One of the few on Long Island, Chat Noir is everything you expect a tea house to be: classy, quaint and aromatic all day long. Natural light, hardwood floors and wainscoting immediately make you feel like you are in the tea room of a country English cottage.
Chat Noir boasts a full breakfast/lunch and dinner menu including items such as orange French toast, scones, quiches, eggs benedict crepe, croque monsieur, shepherd’s pie and soups and salads.
Of course, the tea service is a must. For $22 per person, you will get an assortment of finger sandwiches, scones, pastries and a pot of tea of your choice. Varieties include black, green, herbal, fruit and oolong.
Chat Noir is also more than happy to host your upcoming bridal shower, birthday party or get together. Reservations may be needed in advance depending on the business of the day, as the restaurant only holds about 30 people.
Chat Noir is located at 230 Merrick, Rd., Rockville Center. Hours of operation: open every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for lunch, and Thurs. through Sun. for dinner. For more information call 516-208-8521 or visit www.chatnoirtea.com.
Sip Tea Lounge
Sept. 2016 Update: Sip Tea Lounge has closed
A place for relaxation of the mind, body and soul, Sip Tea Lounge is all about making you feel at home. It has muted colors and a counter area that looks like it’s straight out of a modern home in the Hamptons. Take your pick from over 30 delicious and unique teas.
The staff will not rush you as they want your visit to Sip Tea Lounge to be an experience, a quiet place you can come and read a book, sip some tea and enjoy a sweet treat or two. They will welcome you not as a customer, but as a guest.
The menu offers scones, tea cakes, cookies, biscuits, adorably cut finger sandwiches and mile-high cinnamon buns. Consider Sip Tea Lounge over Starbucks the next time you need a place to relax or meet up with a friend. You’ll be glad you did.
Sip Tea Lounge is located at 286 New York Ave., Huntington. Hours of operation: Tues. through Thurs. from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Fri. from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., Sat. from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m., and Sun. from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. They are closed on Mondays. For more information call 631-683-5777 or visit www.siptealoungeny.com.
Pretend you are in Wonderland when you visit Alice’s Teacup. Charming décor and the story of Alice in Wonderland touched upon all areas of the restaurant, Alice’s Teacup is a favorite spot among adults and children alike. A breakfast, brunch and all-day menu includes tea house staples: scones, biscuits, sandwiches (which are larger than most served with tea), egg dishes, and fresh fruit and savory crepes.
Very popular among younger kids is Alice’s Mad Morning Tea service, which includes coffee or a pot of tea (black, red, white, herbal, oolong, etc.), a choice of one of Alice’s scones with preserves and cream, poached eggs and granola with plain or vanilla yogurt, all for $22. Customers can also purchase “UN-birthday” cakes and treats to take home or buy the Alice’s Teacup Cookbook to recreate the tasty sweets at home.
There are three chapters around Manhattan, so be sure to double check which one you will be meeting friends at for tea.
Alice’s Teacup Chapter I is located at 102 W 73rd St., New York. For more information, call 212-799-3006 or visit www.alicesteacup.com.
Tea & Sympathy
Owned and run by Brits, Tea & Sympathy in Greenwich Village is a great spot for a quintessential English breakfast. The interior is small and cannot hold more than 23 patrons at a time. If you are finished with your meal and lag around longer than you should, the staff will kindly ask you to leave so as to make room for newcomers.
Tea & Sympathy does not take reservations and those who are waiting to get in must do so outside, but once you’re in, you’ll feel like you’re in England. Images of the royal family grace the walls, as well as dozens of classic teacups and unique teapots.
With over 30 tea flavors available, Tea & Sympathy has their own blend of tea, as well as several herbal and classic breakfast teas for you to choose from. No two teacups are alike. Breakfast menu items such as brown beans on toast, scones with clotted cream and jam, as well as a traditional English breakfast and scotch egg is available to order.
Lunch and dinner items vary from salads and sandwiches to pies and entrees like bangers and mash. Finish your meal and pop over to the store, which sells classic British tea, groceries, sweets and other goodies from across the pond.
Tea & Sympathy is located at 108 Greenwich Avenue in the West Village. Hours of operation Mon. through Fri. from 11:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. and Sat. through Sun. from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. For more information call 212-989-9735 or visit www.teaandsympathynewyork.com.
Bosie Tea Parlor
A cozy and homey ambiance awaits at Bosie Tea Parlor in the Village. Dark wood furnishings, exposed brock and wood floors lend to the unique meal that you are about to experience. A tea service for one (or two) is highly recommended—especially if it’s your first time at Bosie—and you really get a great deal for your dollar. For $29, tea for one includes a full pot of tea (you can get about two to three cups worth), a choice of six tea sandwiches, cucumber and dill cream cheese, egg salad, smoked salmon and chicken breast; two macarons, current flavors include dark chocolate, vanilla cheesecake, salted caramel, raspberry, rose, chai tea and pistachio; two tea cakes; and two scones with traditional clotted cream and jam.
There are too many teas to list and they are changed often, so go online to make sure your favorite is offered that week. It has the perfect amount of delicious food to hit the spot for breakfast or lunch. Bosie does not take reservations, but the wait usually isn’t long. Be sure to call ahead or check the website to find out if there are any private parties or if the parlor is closed for a portion of the day.
There are homemade French pastries like croissants, macarons, viennoiseries, éclairs, tarts and crepes. Bosie also offers, breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as a weekend brunch. But trust us on this one; go for the tea service.
Bosie Tea Parlor is located at 10 Morton St. in the West Village. Hours of operation: Mon. through Wed. 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., Thurs. 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., Fri. 9 a.m. to midnight, Sat. 10 a.m. to midnight, Sun. 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. For more information call 212-352-9900 or visit www.bosienyc.com.
For a full listing of all the coffeehouses on Long Island, see Gotta Have A Cuppa Joe