Bellocq Tea Atelier opened its first shop on London’s King’s Road five years ago. An opportunity too good to pass up, the partners, Michael Shannon, Heidi Johannsen Stewart and Scott Stewart were presented with the challenge of creating a shop within a couple of weeks. A process Scott compares to ‘creating a sculpture’, an organic, intuitive process. The aubergine wall color came first, which informed the iconic yellow, navy and silver plated tea caddies. The Chelsea location, originally planned for a few months as a pop up shop, was so successful that it remained open for a year. This was followed by a shop in Greenpoint at Bellocq’s 9,000 SF headquarters, where teas are blended, packaged and shipped around the world. The Brooklyn shop has a serene ambiance, beautifully crafted interior and the delicious aroma of brewed tea. Michael and Heidi’s tea journey began many years ago, whilst working as designer and stylist at Martha Stewart Living they discovered a shared passion for tea. Inspired to start blending their own tea brand, they started Bellocq Tea Atelier in 2010. They embarked upon a tea odyssey researching, traveling, tasting leaves from different crops and gardens. They use only whole leaf and the finest quality herbs and flowers to blend their teas, and have also added pure teas to their offering. They view tea drinking as an everyday luxury, moments to experience the ritual of tea making and drinking. Various products that complement the tea are for sale in the shop: glass teapots, tea strainers, ceramics and stoneware, and table linens. Beautiful brass encased candles available in six tea inspired scents are proudly displayed, developed for Bellocq by Michael and Heidi. As Bellocq Tea Atelier’s reputation grows, visitors to Manhattan make the journey to Brooklyn to experience the shop for themselves. Originally with limited opening hours, tourists would knock on the door and both Heidi and Michael would always welcome them in. They realized how much they enjoyed meeting their customers, sharing stories, explaining how blends are created and tasting teas together. The partners are currently expanding the tea salon to include a tasting counter and café, which they plan to open this fall. They are excited that clients can taste Heidi’s favourite Bellocq Breakfast that she drinks every morning, Michael’s preferred evening blend, Ashram Afternoon, or one of more than 100 teas they offer.
Shopkeeper Photograph: Anna Williams
104 West Street, Brooklyn NY