Blue Heron Tea & Coffee Opens in Westchester

Blue Heron Tea & Coffee offers a curated blend of vintage charm and artisanal tea and coffee in Mount Kisco.

As the Harlem line train squeals to a stop a penny’s toss away, step into a bygone era for a curated cup at Blue Heron Tea & Coffee.

The sultry sound of a crooning Ella Fitzgerald winds its way over the 1905-patented Victoria Arduino espresso machine hammered in copper, across the polished hardwood floors, by the vanilla-and-sage wainscoted walls, and under the original pressed-tin ceiling with garland crown molding.

In May, business partners Matthew Paratore and John Mullen opened the café, formerly a barber shop, in the family-owned building erected in 1930.

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“This is ‘40s style interior,” says Paratore, who used to work in NYC’s fashion garment industry before shifting to cigar lounges, restaurants, cafes, and a vintage luncheonette.
“I’ve always been inspired by that period, from film to fashion to autos. Besides the war, it was a time of high style.”

owners

With the door open from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, visitors can be enveloped by Frank Sinatra’s lilt, lingering over the cream-colored leather nailhead stools nestled under four round marble tables and two bars: one at the window facing the train station and one facing the baristas.

To further differentiate this bright and airy café from others nearby, tea falls first in the name intentionally and comes in 36 organic whole-leaf flavors, all purchasable by the ounce, says Mullen. He worked for Mount Kisco Seafood for more than a dozen years, studied business in college, and worked in real estate until he met Paratore and hatched this business plan.

Vintage Phone
Photo by Amy Sowder

“We really wanted to emphasize the tea aspect, because if you put coffee first in the name, people will forget all about the tea,” Mullen says.

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Let’s not do that.

The teas are categorized by black, such as assam, Ceylon, Darjeeling, keemum first grade and Nepalese black; green such as cereal matcha, dragonwell, jasmine, and mao feng; oolong such as Hairy Crab (mia xie), Iron Goddess (tieguanyin), and honey orchid (Phoenix oolong); white such as white peony and Silver Needle; and herbal such as hibiscus, peppermint, and rooibos.

Tea blends, “almost like a mixologist,” Mullen says, include the Blue Bellini with pineapple pieces, white peony, butterfly pea flower, lemon myrtle, orange peel, and peach and orange flavor. Other blends range from masala chai and turmeric ginger to sage lavender white and Savannah Sunrise, which has Ceylon-OP, rose petals, blue cornflower, and cranberry and orange flavors.

On a recent late morning, a woman in running gear sidled up to the bar with an easy familiarity that indicated her early adoption of Blue Heron. “I already have a usual: hibiscus iced tea. When I find something that’s good, I stick with it,” says Mount Kisco Deputy Mayor Theresa Flora as she sips her cool pink drink.

bar stools, shelves
Photo by Amy Sowder

The café’s name stems from the birds Mullen grew up seeing on the lake behind his Mount Kisco house, giving wings to the local emphasis of this downtown spot.

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The baristas’ brewing action at the bar is backgrounded by shelves painted in pale sage and filled with brown glass growlers, clear glass jars of tea, scoopable canisters of chocolate confections, coffee-brewing supplies, and vintage scales. For regionally-made nibbles besides candies, expect a couple covered platters of baked goods fresh from NYC bakeries such as Sullivan Street Bakery, Hungry Gnome, and Petit Bakery.

For a seasonal summer refresher, try an Italian spritzer, lavender lemonade, or cold brew Palmer — a twist on the ol’ lemonade-iced tea. “It’s a cold brew topped with an herbal iced tea for a brighter finish,” Mullen says. “The hibiscus is great. It reminds me of a raspberry tart.”

coffee supplies
Photo by Amy Sowder

The coffee isn’t an afterthought by any means.

Expect specialty, fourth-wave, single origin, and micro lots sourced from an East Coast and a West Coast roaster. There are five espresso blends and four drip blends at Blue Heron Tea & Coffee, and coffee can be purchased to brew at home. Sold as pour-over cups and in 250-, 500-, and 1,000-gram bags, the single-origin, farm-certified organic, and Fair Trade coffees come from Sumatra, Oaxaca in Mexico, Ethiopia Yirgacheffe, Costa Rica, and Colombia.

There’s also a cold brew growler program to offer a zero-waste way to bring coffee home in 32 and 64 ounces. Buy the bottle once and the refill it indefinitely for only the price of the cold brew.

Besides barista-crafted drinks such as cold brew lattes, matcha lattes, cortados, piccolo lattes, and simple espressos, there are botanical sodas like rose lemonade, cherry cola, and ginger beer.

Children have options they’re even more likely to sip (gulp) and savor, such as chocolate milk and Martinelli’s apple juice. But no shame if adult you wants that, too.

A classic is a classic for a reason.

biscotti at Blue Heron Tea & Coffee
Photo by Amy Sowder

Blue Heron Tea & Coffee
9 Kirby Plz, Mount Kisco; 914.218.3280

Related: Where to Get Bubble Tea and Boba Drinks in Westchester

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