Despite originating in the eighth century, an ancient tea-drinking culture is making its way in the present day, in a sit-down cafe at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, a report from China Daily recounts.
Visitors flock to the Tea Drunk at the Met which is located on a second-floor balcony that is overlooking the museum’s Great Hall. The cafe is also surrounded by antique Asian ceramics in long wall cases.
"Visitors can enjoy the opportunity to sit and relax for a while, adjacent to the tables are beautiful works of Chinese and East Asian ceramics. We think this adds to the visitors’ experience," says Mike Hearn, chairman of the Asian art department at the Met.
“We felt that being in the Asian galleries, it's very appropriate for the Metropolitan Museum to offer authentic tea next to authentic works of art," he adds.
Authentic Chinese tea served every day
According to Hearn, the balcony is often the site of cocktails and exquisite food every Friday and Saturday evening. However, the cafe is trying out a new tactic of having Chinese-style tea served during the open hours, every day of the week.
Harvested from renowned tea-growing mountains in China, the cafe aims to continuously serve authentic Chinese tea to its growing number of customers.
"At Tea Drunk basically we specialize in traditional Chinese tea, so we don't have anything novel or flavored, it's all just tea that comes from the actual tea plant," says founder, Teng Shunan, who is an avid tea enthusiast.
Realizing that there was no single place in New York offering an authentic Chinese tea experience, Teng set out to change that and established the cafe in 2013.
"Tea is a perfect vehicle for someone to really get to know about Chinese culture because it's related to taste and taste is universal," she says. "You do not need to know a lot about Chinese culture in order to appreciate tea."