City of Big Tea Cozies
By Chuck Sudo in Food on Jan 25, 2008 7:23PM
January is National Hot Tea Month. We love tea. Even more, we love places that serve tea – especially when they serve it in a cozy setting accompanied by good food. And while we have several favorite tea-sipping haunts, we’re always on the lookout for more. So when we spotted Susan Blumberg’s All the Tea in Chicago on the guidebook shelf at our favorite bookstore, we grabbed it.
In the last 10 years, tea has exploded into a major commodity, and a few select cafés have opened that serve only tea. Ms. Blumberg uses simple criterion to filter through all of these: a shop or restaurant must have a significant stock of loose-leaf tea available for sale. No Starbucks or Caribou - only the serious tea purveyors here.
In addition to an extensive (38) list of tea shops, Ms. Blumberg also includes 3 other sections. For tea tourists, or those who love the formality and dignity of an afternoon tea service, the guide lists everywhere in Chicago where you can find a formal Afternoon Tea, as well as how much they cost and what you can expect for your money. Ms. Blumberg includes a list of restaurants that serve "Bubble Tea" - that wonderful cold drink filled with tapioca balls that are sucked up with a giant straw. Links to popular tea websites are also provided. All the Tea in Chicago is attractive and pocket-sized, and it provides a needed look at an often-overlooked topic – go pick it up!