The Metropolitan Museum of Art's culinary team proudly serves the many guests, Members, and staff of the Museum every day, and when called upon to support The Met’s mission to educate, we are always excited to oblige. Recently, the Museum hosted "Art, Food & Culture of China," an evening of inspired conversation with Maxwell K. Hearn, Douglas Dillon Chairman in the Department of Asian Art, and Executive Chef Nicholas Ciccone. Enlightening the guests about the terroir of Chinese teas was Shunan Teng, the proprietor of the celebrated East Village teahouse Tea Drunk. Ms. Teng deftly and devotedly demonstrated traditional Chinese tea service for the onlooking guests.
The evening's lineup of speakers led to a marvelous partnership, which has culminated in the March 8 opening of Tea Drunk at The Met. This limited-time pop-up teahouse offers authentic Chinese tea and light delicacies, and is located on the second-floor balcony overlooking the Museum's majestic Great Hall. The opening, timed to coincide with both Asia Week and the highly anticipated exhibition Age of Empires: Chinese Art of the Qin and Han Dynasties (221 B.C.–A.D. 220) (on view April 3), offers guests a unique opportunity to experience a tea-drinking culture that emerged in medieval China around the eighth century. Practiced for over 1,000 years, this Chinese tradition continues at The Met through the beginning of June.
The name "Tea Drunk" piques interest, and is explained by Ms. Teng: "In Chinese culture, the term 'drunk' doesn't have a negative connotation. Instead, it is a romantic expression to describe one's indulgence in true passion." Ms. Teng and our team at Tea Drunk at The Met exemplify the message of knowledge about and passion for tea, and are eager to share their enthusiasm with tea-lovers and newcomers alike.
The teas, provided by Tea Drunk, are harvested annually in China's historic tea mountains. In pursuit of exceptional tea, Ms. Teng and her staff eat, sleep, and work alongside heritage famers to handpick teas from all six Chinese tea categories: Green (Guapian), Yellow, White, Wu Long (Oolong), Red and Black. Of these six categories, five are offered at Tea Drunk at The Met. We brew the teas by the cup or by Gong Fu (Kung-fu), a traditional tableside service for two accompanied by a complimentary plate of cookies and cakes.
Guests are welcome to enjoy these artisanal, handcrafted teas on the grand Great Hall balcony, where they can reflect and refresh amidst antique Asian ceramics in long wall cases. Only The Met can deliver such an awe-inspiring setting accompanied by a culturally rich, authentic experience. We are confident that you will enjoy these unique offerings just as much as we have enjoyed bringing them to you and our treasured museum. We look forward to hosting you and your guests. Please be sure to tag us @themetdining when you visit, so we can share in your Instagram-worthy experience!
Age of Empires: Chinese Art of the Qin and Han Dynasties (221 B.C.–A.D. 220), on view at The Met Fifth Avenue April 3–July 16, 2017
Tea Drunk at The Met: Menu