A sign just inside the door at Hastings Tea, 235 Main Street, White Plains, says it all: “Real Tea, Real Taste, It’s About Time.”
Anyone who enjoys a tasteful and refreshing cup of tea knows that the secret to just the right brew is a measure of good tea leaves, water at the perfect temperature and the correct steeping time. That’s why when you order a cup at Hastings Tea, the server behind the counter will tell you, “That will be three minutes” or six minutes or whatever time your particular choice of tea requires for the perfect cup.
And yes, you can leave the tea bag behind. There is no dunking and dripping here. Specialty brews are custom made with infusers. Your tea is presented clear and ready to drink with your choice of honey or other flavoring.
Of course, the shop opened June 2nd this year and it really is about time that White Plains got its own tea lounge, nestled on Main Street near Grace Church (in the old Reliable Copy space), where a unique cultural vibe is beginning to differentiate this part of downtown White Plains from other areas.
The shop is open seven days a week and owned by Robert Peirce, an attorney, and Joan Jira , who works in finance. Jira is originally from China and the collection of tea pots and cups for sale in the store express the tea-making style familiar to her background. There are also tea pots and sets reminiscent of tea time in the British Empire and the loose tea selection is suited to both.
Jia handles the shops’ social media and tea buying personally, and hopes one day to become known as the area’s tea connoisseur and wholesale provider. She is committed to further educating tea drinkers with a series of book author presentations, tea tastings, food and tea pairings, and other special programs. Also available are tea parties for groups, tea service for corporate events, and wholesale pricing and delivery to area restaurants.
The shop is managed by Ryder Jazwiecki, who spent time working in different cafes, including Starbucks, learning how to create inviting environments and how to make those piping hot drinks special.
Jazwiecki listens to his customers and is bringing in new scones, cookies and pastries from local bakers and savory items including salads and sandwiches ordered fresh each day from Mix It Up on Mamaroneck Avenue to accompany each cup of tea. There is a selection of gluten-free items to choose from.
Jazwiecki hopes to soon offer a traditional style English Tea Service complete with scones and clotted cream and fresh fruit.
There is music in the background, selected to create the perfect ambience for whatever happens to be going on at any particular time. Whether it’s the morning rush, mid-afternoon pause, or evening social, Jazwiecki is quick to adjust.
The different tea varieties include Black Tea, Rooibos Tea from South Africa, Oolong Tea, Green Tea, White Tea and Herbal Tea. All are loose leaf and sold by the ounce or can be enjoyed in the shop.
All are organic, except those blends, which might require some fermentation in the process such as the Jasmine Green Blossom tea that includes blossoms of fresh jasmine. All are selected for their taste and health benefits
In the Black/Red Tea category there is an English Breakfast Supreme, Splendid Earl Grey, High Mountain Darjeeling, and Yunnan Pu-erh. The Peony White Tea features spring-harvested buds. The different Oolong teas feature various leaf sizes and color and orchid flavors.
Popular is the Dragonwell Green Tea with a mellow-sweet taste with chestnut overtones. Hasting’s signature tea is made with the Drangonwell Green, a ginger twist and honey.
Herbal teas include hibiscus flowers, fruit and spicy mint.
Teas and lattes are served hot or cold and for those wanting a fresh cup of coffee there is a coffee latte menu. Smoothies come in tea fruit and fruit varieties.
The tea lounge is open Monday to Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.; Thursday and Friday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Sunday.
Hastings Tea will be featured at the ArtsWestchester Holiday Boutique, December 7 to 8 and 14 to 15 at 31 Mamaroneck Avenue, White Plains.
You can also visit them online at www.hastingstea.com.