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A few weeks back, the Haven’s Kitchen team took a field trip out of the balmy summer rain and into the dreamy workshop of Bellocq Tea Atelier in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Bellocq founders Heidi Johannsen Stewart and Michael Shannon welcomed us inside and immediately, we were taken by the warmth and beauty of the atelier. The unfinished wood floors and bold eggplant walls, offset by bright yellow tea canisters, made for a warm and tranquil setting to taste an elegant selection of Bellocq teas.
Heidi and Michael shared their story as we began a tasting of carefully blended teas. They told us how the atelier was born of sophisticated taste, an appreciation for producers and authentic products, and a love of fine teas. We smelled the various blends — inhaling deeply, we swooned over the intoxicating bouquets of beautifully rolled leaves, flecked with colorful herbs and flower petals.
We sampled a range of teas, expertly brewed for us at optimal temperatures, starting with Bellocq Breakfast, a blend of three black tea leaves. Heidi and Michael explained tasting notes and weighed in on which teas would benefit from milk or honey, which would pair well with a triple creme cheese, or which would gracefully finish a late evening meal. We then tasted two different chai blends — an intensely warm combination of red poppy flowers, green cardamon, star anise, ginger, clove and black pepper, and another more floral, summer blend of South African rooibos, cardamon, and ginger with rose, jasmine and marigold petals.
Among my favorites were lighter blends with floral and herbal components, like Siam Basil Lemongrass and Etoile de l’Inde — a tropical blend of organic green tea, passion-fruit, rose and marigold — unsurprising for an avid consumer of tropical-fruit-forward Sauvignon Blanc. An overall HK favorite was The Queen’s Guard, an aromatic blend of black tea, rose, and lavender, inspired by English gardens.
From the selection of Bakeri pastries on the communal tasting table, to the elegant packaging of bulk teas and tea samplers alike, the Bellocq Tea Atelier exuded elegance, sophistication, warmth, and sharing. We left the workshop feeling so inspired by the beauty of Heidi’s blends and the opportunity to share them at Haven’s Kitchen, that we almost didn’t mind the rain.