Harney & Sons
If you recall, dear reader, I took a hiatus from coffee last year, so my drink of choice became tea, all day, errday. We happened upon this amazing tea shop in Soho called Harney & Sons that I am still in love with. Even though the store is kind of small, the interior is cavernous and the walls are lined with black and gold boxes of every tea imaginable. There is a bar where you can get free tea samples: they brew tea leaves to a kitchen timer (3-5 minutes, depending on what you're sampling) and pour it into cute little ceramic bowls. They also sell tea accessories: intricate teapots, hand lotion scented like Earl Grey, tea towels, and mugs.
The best part of the whole store is the little tea parlor all the way in the back. Soft lighting illuminates the pale lavender walls and the furniture is accented with dark brown wood-y colors. Besides having a romantic ambiance, the things they serve are delicious.
We've frequented Harney & Sons a few times, but every time we order their vanilla scones with clotted cream and strawberry preserves, along with a pot of tea. The scones are a bit smaller than your fist, dusted with sparkling sugar on top. They are warm for ease of spreadability of clotted cream and jam. Oh, heaven. They're not too sweet, just a bit crumbly, with a crisp exterior and a soft cloud of scone in the middle. The clotted cream is like sweet butter. When we had high tea in London, one of our friends said she could just eat clotted cream straight up. I usually do a thin layer of clotted cream and strawberry preserves to get both the buttery taste along with the sweet fruit. I cannot stress how delicious these are.
When it comes to tea, I'm not that adventurous. I stick to the things that I know I like: flavored black teas like chai and earl grey, or more traditional simple ones like English breakfast and assam. Their teas are delicious, particularly when you mix in the little rock sugar pieces and milk. This time, we tried their Soho blend: black tea with hints of chocolate and coconut. The tea was so fragrant. It was a little bit of cognitive dissonance for me, though, smelling and tasting chocolate and coconut while drinking hot tea instead of while lounging on a beach somewhere...time to go back to Puerto Rico?