How about some tea with your wine?
Tucked away in the little alleyway across from the carousel on Front Street stands the Greenport Tea Company. The shop may be small, but it is filled with many different varieties of loose tea and tea accessories.
Jan Kirwan, the owner, decided to move to this smaller storefront back in December because she no longer had the desire to run the café in its first location. Originally, when she first opened up shop eight years ago, she did strictly food with a small selection of tea. Then, the demand for more types of tea began to rise, so she decided to concentrate more on the tea and expand the online-side of the business.
Kirwan imports teas from all over the world and has fun making her own custom blends, especially for local restaurants. She says that is “the good thing about being small” because this way she gets to be more creative and can concentrate on each client’s needs. She also enjoys experimenting with mixing her teas with food, particularly sweets, such as chocolate brownies with mint tea mixed into the batter and topped with dark chocolate ganache; since it is summer, she is mixing a seasonal tea with fresh strawberries.
In addition to all of her wonderful teas, Kirwan sells teapots with infusers and different teacups. She likes to sell “functional items that are still fun” she doesn’t want her customers to think of tea as a high-class thing where people have china that they are too afraid to touch because it might get broken. Everything she sells has a whimsical twist to it, from dishtowels with funny quotes to rubber trivets with animals on them.
To further educate her customers on tea, Kirwan has a tasting the first Thursday of every month and it is encouraged that you bring your own mug because she doesn’t do the dishes since the closing of the café. There is something for everybody and if you decide to buy some tea, Kirwan will write down how much of the loose leaves you should use and how long you should steep it; every tea is different and preparation time also depends on how strong people prefer their tea, so she advises that you should try her directions first, then take it from there.
Kirwan’s tea ranges from black to white, from fruity to sweet, and some are even decaffeinated. Many of her sweet teas sound like they could be dessert themselves, like Peaches n’ Cream and Rooibos Crème au Caramel, and her more traditional teas, like Peppermint Herbal and Earl Grey, seem perfect to kick back on the couch with after a long day at work.
Kirwan is hoping to start carrying more biscuits and cookies to accompany the tea, but for now she is just focusing on the online sales for people that visit her shop and can’t trek all the way out to the East End for some tea; though…it is worth the trip.
Greenport Tea Company, 120-122 Front Street, Greenport, 631-477-8744, www.greenportteacompany.com.