Eastern Promises

Plain-T's intoxicating, handcrafted whole-leaf teas

Our morning cup of tea usually isn't exotic.

But now that we've tried Plain-T's all-natural whole-leaf teas, we feel like every morning is a new journey.

Founded by a former professional ballet dancer with a passion for tea's health-boosting and antioxidant qualities, the Southampton, New York-based company imports leaves from small family gardens in China, Japan, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Egypt and India. The teas are entirely handcrafted; even the bags are individually packed and assembled.

One of their most intoxicating offerings is the Lichee Nut Flower ($20 for 2 ounces), a subtly sweet green tea that blossoms in hot water; steep it in a wineglass to give it more space to bloom. We also savored the toasty Japanese genmaicha ($15 for 2 ounces), blended with popped corn and roasted rice, and a caffeine-free, passion-fruit-scented rooibos blend ($12 for 2 ounces).

Although Plain-T's blends aren't inexpensive, we're willing to shell out a little extra for this level of quality.

Not to mention the mental escape it affords us.