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Le Hammeau Named 2012 sofi™ Silver Finalists

May 16, 2012

Bellocq Tea Named Silver Finalist for the 2012 sofi™ Award!

Tea No. 12, Le Hammeau has been named a Silver Finalist in the 2012 sofi™ Awards from the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade, Inc. The sofi Awards are the top honor in the $75 billion specialty food industry. “sofi” stands for Specialty Outstanding Food Innovation.


Le Hammeau was selected as a Silver Finalist in the Diet and Lifestyle Category by a national panel of specialty food experts. The judges evaluated 1,935 entries across 30 Awards categories. The Gold Winners will be announced by noted chef José Andrés at a red-carpet ceremony June 18, 2012, at the Summer Fancy Food Show in Washington, D.C.

“We are thrilled the quality and sophistication of Le Hammeau was recognized by this knowledgable panel of judges. Bellocq teas are truely a wonderful addition to a healthy lifestyle” says Michael Shannon, from Bellocq. Bellocq's teas are sold at Bergdorf Goodman, Lane Crawford, Louis, H.P. Deco and finer stockists throughout the US, Canada, Great Britain and Japan. Bellocq teas are also available online at .

The sofi Awards are open to members of the NASFT, a not-for-profit trade association established in 1952 for food artisans, importers and entrepreneurs with more than 2,900 members throughout the U.S. and abroad. For more information on the NASFT and its Fancy Food Shows, go to Learn more about the 2012 sofi Awards at

“This year’s contest was the most competitive yet,” says NASFT President Ann Daw. “The foods and beverages that made it to the finals are proof that the spirit of innovation and creativity is thriving in the specialty food industry.”

NASFT Media Contacts:

Ron Tanner, VP Communications & Education; 646-878-0115,

Louise Kramer, Communications Director; 646-878-0130,

The Queen's Guard (Iced!) with Fresh Radishes

April 30, 2012

This elegant pairing is a gorgeous way to celebrate the return of outdoor entertaining season. Start with No. 47, The Queen's Guard (iced and garnished with lemon rind & scented geranium); Then serve with a plate of fresh radishes (raw with a side of firm butter & sea salt). Iced tea season is returning... and fresher then ever!

This combination is amazingly simple and yet... Absolutely Heavenly!!! xx @bellocq

Serious Eats - Where We Steep: Bellocq Tea Atelier

November 15, 2011

For a tea lover, the arrival of Bellocq Tea Atelier to Greenpoint, Brooklyn's western shores was intriguing. In an economic climate where serious tea shops are dwindling, what would this recent London transplant to the banks of industrial Brooklyn offer (besides, apparently, dozens upon dozens of intriguing custom blends)?


[Photos: Liz Clayton]

Upon finding one's way to the almost-unmarked door of Bellocq's Friday-Saturday-only showroom, understanding is almost immediate: as a front-end to their wholesale and online tea business, owners Heidi Johannsen Stewart and her business partners Michael Shannon and Scott Stewart have created a feeling very specific to the teas they purvey. It's less like a food establishment than a rustic salon in which to discuss and experience tea (with an emphasis on the rustic—horseback riding is referenced more than once during my visit, including as a flavor note.)

And the teas themselves—from expectedly earthy pu-erhs to the woodsy custom blends to the selections of pure (unblended) teas—all lilt towards a particular profile of leathery, mushroomy, organic (in the truest meaning) flavors.

But it's the in-house blends, created by Heidi Stewart, that make up the backbone of the boutique (and by boutique I mean you can buy real fur tea cozies that look like Russian hats, yes I do.) From a background in New York restaurants and food styling, blending came instinctively to Stewart. "It's almost like creating perfume. Some things want to work together—they ask to go together." For Stewart, those things might include the passionfruit, rose, green tea and marigold of her "Etoile de L'Inde"blend, or perhaps the juniper and fir tip black tea blend "Noble Savage".

Their blending is based on a respect for the original teas.

Stewart stresses that their blending is based on a respect for the original teas, rather than used to mask low-quality teas with scent or disguise. They source their own teas (sometimes abandoning a tea for an entire season if they do not prefer it that particular harvest), and continue to build farm relationships which inspire their blends. Though they're clearly influenced by British tea culture (Stewart herself is addicted to "Bellocq Breakfast"), the world of fine Parisian blends is their muse as well. As well, of course, as the tea.

"We create with the base leaf in mind. It's not just a base for some synthetic flavor, we're using botanicals to complement the spirit of the tea leaves themselves," says Stewart, noting that the botanical ingredients used for blending are sourced from all over—farmers they know, people they meet. Which is no surprise—Stewart and in-house tea expert Ravi Kroesen are eager to talk and share, and the shop has a casual linger-and-sniff-and-taste vibe, with no retail packages to paw through. You have to get right up into the teas, some of which they are not at all afraid to delightedly describe to a customer as smelling "gamey". (There's a pink-veloury lounge adjacent, but sadly we are not invited back to down a few champagne flutes of "White Nixon" blend.)

And whether you think blends are your thing or not, there's no doubt they're innovative and sensitively conceived: the at-first startling "White Wolf" is so cedary and anise forward you worry you'll lose the white tea beneath, but as the tea opens up each constituent part arrives on your palate in its own time. There's the black currant, spearmint, star anise, tea, cedar. Herbal blends, like the "chocolate-kissed Rooibos" are a little on the daring side as well, and don't forget to sniff the "Charleston" blend and get lost deciding whether it's tea or perfume.

Pure teas are of good quality as well, from their small selection of oolongs I sampled a dry-honeyed, stone fruity Phoenix oolong, delicately flavored with an almost elliptical body and a slightly blush-colored liquor. Their Dragonwell eschews the nuttiness usually associated to the classic green tea, while Kroesen is a particular fan of the Ali Shan oolong.

Though Bellocq is new to the off-the-beaten path landscape it's recently inhabited (its previous London pop-up is currently mothballed for future considerations), the store is already building out further, making room and plans for more tea wares, retail space, and—if Kroesen gets his dream—a pu-erh cave.

Posted by Liz Clayton, November 15, 2011 at 7:45 AM

Style Saloniste - My Totally Delicious New Taste Discovery

October 19, 2011


The Best Teas in the World 
I love fine tea. It restores, inspires, encourages, and uplifts.

You can imagine how delighted I am to discover the most elegant new tea company, Bellocq.

I’ve traveled the world—Paris, Tokyo, London, remote high-elevation corners of India, St. Petersburg, Colombo and Nuwara Eliya in Sri Lanka and beyond—in search of the most delicious and fragrant teas. I’m always looking for rare Broken Orange Pekoes, First Flush teas, single estate teas (Margaret’s Hope), velvety Assams, refreshing Moroccan mints, the best-quality tea leaves, the loveliest and most delicate blends, and for breakfast always a fortifying brewed tea.

And now I’ve found the very best tea, in Brooklyn.

It’s the chic new tea company, Bellocq. Such a divine name, and dozens of extraordinary blends and teas. I’ve added a complete listing of Bellocq teas below. One or two will tickle your fancy.

Come and meet the three fabulous and poetic talents who created Bellocq, discover their glorious teas, and then you must taste them yourself. Order a canister. Brew. Instant bliss.

“We wanted to create something that we couldn't find that represented the kind of integrity that we feel is lacking in the tea market. This was a chance for all of us to use the multitudes of skills we’ve been honing for so long but that might not be needed or appreciated in the corporate/mass-market world.” – Michael Shannon, co-founder of Bellocq

Bellocq’s founders, Heidi Johannsen Stewart, Michael Shannon and Scott Stewart joined creative forces a few years ago. They wanted to collaborate on a shared aesthetic vision—an appreciation of traditional artisan work and a passion for tea.

“Tea is an affordable, everyday luxury,” said Heidi, a former Martha Stewart Living editor, stylist and columnist, whose work is featured on the pages of publications including Food and Wine magazine, and the New York Times.

“Bellocq’s approach to flavor and fragrance is tailored to a stylish, well-traveled, and knowledgeable client,” said Heidi. “We are re-imagining the tea business to suit the needs and desires of the modern discerning tea drinker. We want to cultivate a genuine relationship with our clients and provide the highest level of service which is, to some extent, intuitive.

Michael Shannon worked in the world of product design for notable companies such as Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, where he contributed to the beloved catalogue Martha-by-Mail. He also contributed his style and savoir-faire to cult favorite clothing and housewares company, Anthropologie.

“I’m fascinated with early techniques so I continue my education in many forms of artistry including blacksmithing, tailoring, glassblowing and carpentry,” said Shannon.

“The craftsmanship of tea is an art-form in itself,” he noted. “Growing and processing leaves requires great skill and sensitivity, I continue to be amazed and humbled.”

Scott Stewart, partner in Bellocq, is co-owner and founder of fabrication firm, SAAW, inc. the firm behind high-end commercial interiors such as Anthropologie and Barney’s New York.

As a sitting member on the board of directors for the pioneering eco-clothing label Stewart+Brown, Scott notes, “There is a choice to be made and we have committed ourselves to working with responsible gardens and merchants to select the finest and freshest organic teas. Teas are a seasonal commodity, but you wouldn’t know it from looking at most of the product available, it’s been on the shelves for a long time. For us, it’s quality over quantity. Furthermore, as a company committed to preserving traditional craft techniques and the communities in which they thrive, it’s not just about the product, but also the process, which includes the health and well-being for all involved. For Bellocq, it’s not about providing an incredible product and honoring relationships along the way.”

The trio find themselves traveling, often with children in tow, to far-flung locations in search of traditional techniques to integrate into Bellocq’s modern expression.

The fabulous Bellocq teas

What sets them apart: the leaves are fresh, the leaves and flowers and pods and natural ingredients are of the best quality.

These are incredibly refined and complex flavors, the best of the best. They are sold as loose-leaf teas, though you can make bags from provided sachets.

I love the Bellocq Breakfast tea—and a tea-lover only has to look at the tealeaves, which are twiggy and long, with a bracing bouquet.

Bellocq teas were introduced in the first tea atelier in London last year. Now the Bellocq teas are selling like…er, hot cakes…at Bergdorf Goodman in New York.
Restoration Hardware in Los Angeles, where I first discovered Bellocq, can’t keep some blends in stock. And the Bellocq team is constantly traveling to find more tea.

“Picture us, traveling through deepest Central Mexico, packed to the rafters in our little rental car—indigenous textiles tucked into every available nook and cranny—our bumper nearly dragging along the highway while the rear window is obscured of vision because of the 20 pounds of tuberoses we didn’t have the heart to leave behind. But we’re loving every minute of it and are so inspired by the wonderful people we’ve met along the way. We’ve been fortunate to be part of an exceptional creative community and wish to share our knowledge and inspiration with each and every customer.” – Michael Shannon


“It is in Brooklyn where it all happens. Our showroom has been a labor of love which makes it all the more enjoyable when we get to entertain others. We are now working on a series of events that will include everything from lectures to intimate musical performances.”

The showroom/tea atelier will also act as a retail store several days a week. It's an opportunity to interact with customers in a way that we feel closest. Customers are able to try any tea they find curious. "We are also beginning to carry teas that are too rare to wholesale. It is important to us that any environment we create touch upon the senses in more than just taste. We create everything here by ourselves right down to the plaster of the walls, building and upholstering of furniture... not to mention the work that goes into creating and producing the teas,”  said Michael Shannon of Bellocq.

Small-batch tea blends will continue to evolve, reflecting the seasons and Bellocq will be offering bespoke blending opportunities as well.

Heidi said, “Scent and flavor not only bring back forgotten emotions and memories, but envelope us in the present and influences mood. It’s a powerful conduit. I read, somewhere, that tea is, essentially, a journey of water.” That’s a wonderfully poetic sentiment.

Bellocq Teas:
Prices from $15.95 for the vivid yellow Bellocq box of Ceylon OP, to $104 for a large, luxurious silver tea caddy full of Darjeeling Second Flush.

Tea Atelier:
37 Greenpoint Ave. Brooklyn, NY 11222
{entrance at 104 West St.}
open to the public Fridays and Saturdays
T: 1.800.495.5416 

“The Brooklyn Atelier is only open on Friday and Saturdays 12-7 and it is our main focus now. We are hosting events all all kinds and the experience here is the true experience that one would have gotten in London. Customers are able to taste and smell anything they like. We also are carrying teas that are too rare for our wholesale line as well as short run blends that we can't help our selves from creating!” said Michael Shannon.

Please read the full article...
Thank you to Diane Dorrans Saeks! You are a great inspiration!