Cha-An, East Village, New York City Revisited

After a highly memorable and zen experience at Cha-An Tea House, it was only a matter of time I would revisit the modern, yet traditional oasis in the city.

The tea house was completely packed. Our total wait was only five minutes because we arrived right after the afternoon tea tasting.

My friend who is an avid green tea drinker converted me a long while back. She even has her own personal Zojirushi water boiler. Cha-An has two of them.

The shelf was filled with with various tea cups, ceramics and tea varieties offered at the teahouse. The tiny ikebana was breath taking.

Makinohara Sencha from Japan ($7) is a traditional Japanese green tea characterized as grassy and bittersweet. According to Cha-An, Makinohara City is in Shizuoka Prefecture (the largest tea product region in Japan.)

Intensive steaming of the first flush of the Makinohara tea plants produces a sencha traditional quality. The liquor is a sparkling translucent green, with an assertive vegetal flavor and fresh aroma.

The flower craft tea was sold out that evening, so I tried the Uji Kabusecha. Kabusecha literally means “covered tea”, a type of Japanese sencha.

A week before the tea leaf buds are picked in the spring, the planation is covered with a screen to cut out the direct sunlight. This shading procedure produces a milder tea than standard sencha. Kabusecha is a mellower flavor and more subtle color then Sencha grown in direct sunlight.

The Afternoon Tea Set $18 (Until 7pm) has two kinds of mini sandwiches, freshly baked scones, Cha-An’s Sweets and tea. The Cha-An Set B today’s soup & vegetable, soy milk quiche, tea smoked salmon, 15 grain rice, chef’s dessert and tea.

The soy milk quiche with mushrooms & scallions was earthy and had a nice onion aroma. I loved the light crust as well.

The two hot and fresh mini bagel sandwiches were delicious on their own. The left was filled with tea smoked salmon with watercress and a mustard sauce. The sweet bagel had strawberry butter and cream. 

Set B had a kimchi  soup, beef tendon, carrots and potatoes in the beef jus, two slices of tea smoked salmon on watercress, 15 grain rice and sweet corn, cabbage and vegetables.

My favorites of the set was the braised beef tendon because my mother would love it. The rice was also fantastic because it was properly prepared and nutty.

The afternoon tea sweets was so good. There was pound cake, a macaron, strawberry muffin, chocolate chip scone and berry scone with blueberry jam and cream.

The macaron and berry scone were the best items I have ever had to date. The macaron was filled with this jade green tea filling and it was absolutely refreshing.

The scones were freshly baked, warm in the center and so fluffy. I will remember these scones for ever.

I rarely eat scones because I associate them with dense and dry biscuits. I have had afternoon tea at London’s Fortnum and Mason’s and the scones needed a generous amount of clotted cream. The Cha-An scones were perfect on their own and with the jam and cream.

The sugar dusted crispy napoleon layers with tea and lemon infused cream and berries was light and a nice ending to the meal.

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