American culture typically prioritizes speed and efficiency over slowing down to savor a moment. Nowhere is this more evident than in our conception of tea and coffee in to-go cups, which do not exist in much of the rest of the world. A cup of tea is something to be carefully brewed and savored—or so the thinking goes.
But where can you possibly do this in an American landscape overrun with Starbucks and Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf? A tea atelier in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, from the prestige tea company Bellocq, might just be the perfect place to start.
For those who think of ornate hotels like the Plaza in New York and Claridges in London as the spot to go for afternoon tea, it will come as a surprise that the façade of the atelier is highly un-ornamented. Marked only by a small metal sign, the atelier sits in a former pencil factory.
But step inside, and you’ll realize that these humble beginnings are unrelated to the space’s current use by Bellocq. The salon is a working wonderland, as reflected by the brand’s decision to have the shop function as an atelier, which is the French word for workshop.
The décor is enough to make you feel like you’ve been transported to multiple exotic locations around the world all at once. On one wooden table, tea artisans measure out loose leaf tea in exacting combinations before serving them to visitors or canning them in the brand’s signature yellow canisters with silver lids.
Elsewhere in the atelier, a big pink velvet window seat encourages patrons to take a break to savor their tea. Moody florals are spread throughout the space, overseeing bowls of loose leaf tea. Some walls are painted dark purple, while others are overrun with hanging plants. Antique picture frames are casually propped against exposed brick. A selection of carefully curated tea-related products, such as gorgeous teacups, are available for sale.
And not to worry if you’re a tea neophyte, or unsure of how to prepare and enjoy loose leaf tea. Everyone who works at the atelier will be happy to show you how and offer you taste tests to figure out whether you’re more of an Afghan Chai or Ceylon kind of person.
When you step out of this former pencil factory-turned-transportive salon, you may be surprised to realize that a significant amount of time has passed. And in America’s always busy culture, that may be almost as significant a luxury as Bellocq’s beautiful, handcrafted teas.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.