Saving the World with Tea
Posted by Fumiko Sasaki
July 11, 2006
Sympathy For The Kettle
Sympathy for the Kettle is a subtle tea house which curiously appeared one day. Like the subtle forces of tea it is a powerful magnet in the community for anything that ails you. In the small tea house lined with creative concoctions designed exclusively by and only for Sympathy for the Kettle itself carries more than 150 teas from around the world. While the majority of the teas are from China, Sri Lanka, Japan, India, Indonesia, Taiwan, and emerging Rwanda (new to the import world), offering herbs from South Africa, Argentina, Turkey, Iran, Egypt, France and the United States. As well as domestic products including ginseng from Wisconsin and organic peppermint from Oregon.
Antique tea pots and clever tea wares daintily posing on each shelf. One still finds peace and quiet, a hub within the avant garde Saint Marks community for solace and healing chat. Even with its subtle appearance, it has been credited with having the most unique and mysterious name! Sympathy for the Kettle, where you can get what you want and need.
If your wish is an aid to numbing your NYC jitters – With earnest blessings the staff is always ready to make clever suggestions to save the world with tea one moment, one delicious cup at a time. “Oh you are feeling dehydrated and burnt out? Berry Dream, a blend of South African Roi boss, delicate fruits, vanilla and flowers will give you energy, balance, vitamin c and a little peace”
Sympathy for the Kettle embodies the spirit of the famous tea itself named Ti Kuan Yin enrobed in the form of a Rennaissance Goddess and healer. Ti Kuan Yin being the Saint of Tea, She is known for her compassion and healing to all who call her, as the bodhisattva of the people. There must be a sorceress in the tea house? Potions and tinctures to heal what ails you? There is a distinctive feeling of the days of the renaissance at Sympathy for the Kettle. Tea tables deco paged with designs bringing to mind the Canterbury tales. There is a term I have found from the renaissance called “Sprezzatura” “It is an art which does not seem to be an art. It makes whatever is done or said appear to be without effort and almost without any thought about it….obvious effort is the antithesis of grace.” The most important aspect of sprezzatura is its two-layered nature. Things which require effort are to be performed casually. Grace arises out of sprezzatura. Tea in Sympathy for the Kettle has the subtle effect of seeming so cozy and natural, suddenly you feel unfatigued, whilst tea, potent botanicals and spices work its soothing magic. Clever, yes, a very clever cuppa tea indeed.
Sympathy For The Kettle
East Village in Manhattan
109 St. Marks Pl.
Between 1st and Ave. A
Open everyday except Mondays 11-11
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July 11th, 2006
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July 14, 2006 at 12:20 pm
Fantastic review. You’ve really captured the spirit of the place elegantly. Sympathy for the Kettle is refreshingly free of pretense or artiface- peaceful but lively.
It reminds me of a poem by the monk Saigyo:
mizu no oto ni
kozue no semi no
koe mo magirete
Next to murmuring waters
We’re a circle of friends, no longer
Minding the summer’s heat
And the cicada voices in the treetops
Mix in well with all the rest.
Peace to you and your readers, John
July 18, 2006 at 2:57 pm
It is a lovely tea house.
July 18, 2006 at 3:11 pm
Oh yes! perfect poem.
Thank you for sharing