Bellocq tea atelier in Greenpoint Brooklyn is an absolute delight. The poetic atmosphere with curated selections of organic full leaf teas is a dream. Tea begun as a medicine and grew into a beverage. In the 15th century Japan made Teaism a religion of aestheticism, founded on the adoration and beauty of tea. Its purity, simplicity, mystery and harmony make tea a cherished ceremony. The beverage grew to be an excuse for the worship of purity and refinement, a sacred moment of the day. The tea room was an oasis of the senses. The tea ceremony was a development of Zen ritual. Bellocq’s founders, Heidi Johannsen Stewart, Michael Shannon and Scott Stewart joined creative forces with a desire to collaborate on a shared aesthetic vision that captures their appreciation of traditional artisan work and a love of fine tea.
“Tea is a work of art and needs a master hand to bring out its noblest qualities. Each preparation of the leaves has its individuality, its special affinity with water and heat, its hereditary memories to recall, its own method of telling a story. The truly beautiful must be always in it. Like art, tea has its periods and its schools. Its evolution may be roughly divided into three main stages: the boiled tea, the whipped tea, and the steeped tea. Luwuh, a poet, saw in the tea service the same harmony and order which reigned through all things. In his celebrated work, the Chaking ( the holy scripture of tea ) he formulated the code of tea. The Chaking consists of three volumes and ten chapters. In the first chapter Luwuh treats of the nature of the tea plant, in the second of the implements for gathering the leaves, in the third of the selection of the leaves. The fourth chapter is devoted to the enumeration and description of the twenty four members of the tea equipage, beginning with the tripod brazier and ending with the bamboo cabinet for containing all the utensils. In the fifth chapter Luwuh describes the method of making tea.” The Book of Tea Okakura Kakuzo
“Bellocq’s Greenpoint ‘tea atelier’ is a tasting and design studio, a place to inspire and realize new and ever-evolving ideas. In this spirit, new product will be arriving regularly, including sumptuous shearling tea cozies. Michael shares, “Tea cozies are an extremely useful component to the teapot but are often dowdy. We wanted to make them fashionable, even humorous. We fondly refer to them as ‘wigs’.” They’ll also offer tea “cupping” services on site, giving clients an opportunity to learn more about the product through a full-sensory experience. Small-batch tea blends will continue to evolve, reflecting the seasons and Bellocq will be offering bespoke blending opportunities as well. Heidi concludes with “Scent and flavor not only bring back forgotten emotions and memories, but envelopes one in the present and influences mood. It’s a powerful conduit. I read that tea is, essentially, a journey of water and I feel that’s a wonderfully poetic sentiment and here I am, first in London, now in New York on a great journey thanks to tea. I can’t think of a lovelier place to be.”
“The craftsmanship of tea is an art-form in itself. The growing, handling and firing of the leaves requires great skill and sensitivity, I continue to be amazed and humbled.”
” The first cup moistens my lips and throat, the second cup breaks my loneliness, the third cup searches my barren entrail but to find therein some five thousand volumes odd ideographs. The fourth cup raises a slight perspiration,-all the wrong of life passes away through my pores. At the fifth cup I am purified; the sixth cup calls me to the realms of immortals. The seventh cup-ah, but I could take no more! I only feel the breath of cool wind that rises in my sleeves.Where is Horaisan? Let me ride on this sweet breeze and waft away thither” Poem by Lotung
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