One long wall of this narrow State Street storefront is taken up almost entirely by a substantial selection of pre-packaged teas; the other, by a blond wood counter behind which eager staff stand by, ready to brew up complimentary samples of any offerings that pique your interest. Perhaps it’s all the identical packaging or just the general glossiness of the space, but Adagio—predominantly an online retailer whose sole brick and mortar presence is here in Chicago—gives off a faintly corporate vibe. Yet its free and frequent tasting events exploring the world’s tea regions (“Passport to South Africa,” “Passport to India” and so on), plus the fact that its products are available in both loose-leaf and bagged formats, make the shop a great entry point for tea newbies.
Whether you're looking for hot tea to warm up in the winter or iced tea to stave off summer humidity, don't settle for weak grocery store tea bags. Our guide will help you find a Chicago tea shop that sells a wide variety of special teas, from oolong to more obscure varieties, and has knowledgeable staffers (and maybe even Smashing Pumpkin-turned-tea-purveyor Billy Corgan). Chicago may not be experiencing the spike in tea popularity that forecasters have been predicting for years, but when you need your Earl Grey or yerba mate, there are plenty of places to get a steaming cup.