The most recent addition to the Poughkeepsie Plaza shopping center is Tea Talk, a sleek shop celebrating all things tea. Poughkeepsie resident Jenna McCarthy says she opened the store to fulfill her late mother’s dream. “My mom always wanted a tea shop of her own, but raising kids is a hard job, so she never had time.” The store stocks mostly Harney & Sons’ blends; McCarthy prefers the Millerton company’s products because “they are local and have real premium teas.” A variety of bagged and loose-leaf teas are also available, as are an assortment of teapots and other accessories.
One popular item on the menu is bubble tea. This Taiwanese drink is more or less a combination of iced tea and a milk shake, with tapioca balls at the bottom of the cup; according to McCarthy, it is “something that college kids really like.”
Last month, Tea Talk began offering tea-tasting classes. Customers pay $10 to spend a half-hour sampling five different varieties of tea, and learning the history and health benefits of each one. Passersby who are short on time can try free samples, which are available every day.
Of course, tea connoisseurs may well want to sit down right in the shop and enjoy a pot along with some scones or other freshly baked treats sold at the shop. With its lime green walls, short stools, and wooden shelves, the Asian-inspired space exudes a harmonious, Zen-like vibe perfect for relaxing. “I tried to create harmony and balance,” says McCarthy, who is of Chinese descent. “I want tea to serve that purpose.”
2600 South Rd., Poughkeepsie