Brewing a cup of tea seems simple.
For the founders of Bellocq Tea Atelier, however, that basic act holds a world of nuance.
Heidi Johannsen Stewart, Michael Shannon, Young Yoon and Scott Stewart, who formerly drove the creative side of such brands as Martha Stewart Living and Anthropologie, have united to source unusual teas, working with farmers to sell only what is fresh (yes, tea has a season) and grown using sustainable practices.
Their diligent hunting has led to bespoke, imaginative blends. Break your allegiance to ho-hum Earl Grey with Bellocq's White Duke ($24 for 2 ounces), in which delicate white-tea buds allow the signature Sicilian bergamot notes to sing in tune with the tea's citrus flavors. The lemongrass, ginger and Thai basil components in the restorative blend No. 31 ($13 for 2 ounces) each resound clearly in the cup.
Just as important as the tea on offer is the ceremony around preparing and drinking it, so Bellocq also carries a handful of tea-making accessories, from bamboo tea strainers to Burleigh teapots. And when the brick-and-mortar store opens in New York this fall, visitors can expect even more curated selections, plus cupping classes and other events.
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