As you sip your last cup of herbal tea or look at the less-than-appealing offerings at your local supermarket, have you wondered – where to buy tea near me?
You are not alone. Local tea shops do not exist like they once did. It is an odd phenomenon! As I am sure you have noticed, coffee shops seem to be at every corner despite there being more tea drinkers than coffee drinkers. According to the Global Dubai Tea Forum, tea is the most popular prepared drink in the world, greatly exceeding coffee, milk, juice, and carbonated beverages. In addition to being drunk more, tea also has a much longer history.
The History of the Tea Shop
Tea shops were often called teahouses or tearooms and have historical significance in cultures around the world. In the 8th and 9th centuries, tea became more of a social custom in China. Teas were drunk for pleasure and enjoyment, as well as for their medicinal purposes. In Japan, teahouses were a place for tea ceremonies. During the Edo period, these houses also became a place for geisha to take clients. Teahouses are still commonly found in China and Japan, although they often serve other refreshments as well.
In Britain, tea is much more than a beverage. In the Victorian Era, tearooms were a popular hangout for women. Tearooms in Britain today typically serve afternoon tea and light meals of tea sandwiches and scones. They also have a history in France and the Czech Republic. Both countries still have many tearooms across the country. In fact, there are more than 50 tearooms in Prague alone!
North America has not seen the same number of teahouses as Asia and Europe. Although there are tea shops that sell loose leaf tea, tea accessories, and wellness teas, they often function more as tea retailers than a traditional tea shop.
So, that begs the question - where can you buy loose leaf tea near you?
When looking for a tea shop, are you looking to purchase tea you can make at home? Or are you looking for a nice place to sit and enjoy a pot of tea? Here are my recommendations for both.
When you buy tea to make at home, you need to ensure you are purchasing high-quality tea. If you want to read more about quality tea, check out the article I wrote on toxic teas. Simply put, you want to buy locally sourced, USA grown tea. So, although you are purchasing from a website, you are still buying tea near you!
Whether you are looking for green tea, caffeine-free tea, or wellness teas, your best bet is an online tea store. When you buy tea online, you are often buying straight from the source. This means you will pay less for high-quality tea. Further, online retailers cannot hide from reviews. You can search for customer testimonials and identify any red flags before purchasing.
Read up on the ingredients, whether or not it is organic and where the tea is made. If all looks good, you can have your tea shipped right to your door! I will order at least a month’s worth of my favorite teas, and then as I get about halfway through, I will place another order. This way, you know your tea is fresh, and you do not have to worry about running out.
If you are looking for a tea experience and a place to sit down and enjoy a cuppa, there are a few things to keep in mind. There are different types of tea shops or teahouses in the US.
For a high-tea experience complete with scones and Devonshire cream, you are going to look for a British afternoon tea service. This is often offered during specified times at restaurants attached to upscale hotels. Although herbal teas are often available, classic English breakfast or earl grey are the standard choices for afternoon tea.
If you prefer green or herbal tea, you may be more inclined to check out a Chinese or Japanese teahouse for a greater selection. Typically, you will be presented with an expansive menu of teas, including black tea, green tea, white tea, and herbal blends. Traditionally it is served in an individual teapot and small glasses.
Alternatively, you could also visit a café and order a tea. Many coffee houses will also serve them. More craft, boutique cafes are likely to have higher-end teas where drive-thru locations have the cheap stuff. Although it will cost more, the difference in quality ingredients and the taste is worth the extra money.
Best Tea Shops in the USA
As an avid tea-drinker, I usually brew my own. However, I do appreciate an upscale tea experience every now and again. These are a few of my favorites located across the United States:
- Chiya Chai in Chicago, Illinois
- Tea Cellar at Park Hyatt in Washington, DC
- St. Regis in San Francisco, California
- Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse in Boulder, Colorado
- Lady M with locations in NY, California, Boston, and Chicago (you must try the green tea mille crepe!)
Although you do not see them on every corner like a Starbucks or Dunkin’, tea shops aren’t difficult to find. Several reputable online retailers are selling high-quality loose-leaf and wellness teas that will be delivered right to your door. For an in-person cuppa, a quick search in Google Maps will show options near you.
By exploring different teahouse near me, I learned about different tea customs and traditions in different cultures. As you can see from some of my favorites, there are amazing Himalayan, Persian, English, and Japanese teahouses right here in the United States that will both enlighten and delight your taste buds.