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Tea' Me Cafe & Gifts in Indianapolis, Indiana
5/5
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LefTea rated this place
5/5
and said Edit

When I vacation somewhere I check out yelp for local tea spots. That’s how I found Tea’ Me Cafe. This cafe and The Flying Cupcake were absolute musts for me when visiting Indy.

Indy’s an interesting place with some, um…interesting neighborhoods. You know, the kinds where the houses are disintegrating and you have an uncontrollable urge to drive out of there as fast as your car will take you. Unfortunately, the guidebook provided by the hotel sent us to a few of those areas and we decided to end our vaca a day short and head home. But we still hadn’t gone to Tea’ Me yet so we decided to brave it one more time and go there for lunch before heading home.

I am so glad we did! The Yelp reviews were spot on! This place is awesome for anyone who likes tea or good food. They have a good selection of teas and a nice, albeit, small menu of sandwiches and whatnot. My husband, who is not a tea drinker for the most part, was a bit miffed when he found out they didn’t serve coffee at all and a bit put off by the employee’s suggestion of a mate (he called it ‘pushing the tea agenda and I lol’d), but I was happy. I ordered a tiramisu mate which they brought out in the cutest individual brewer I’ve ever seen with a timer. Their sweetener is a liquid and pretty nice too.

We ordered the grilled cheese and pesto and it was fantastic too!

If we’re ever in the area again we’ll certainly go back!

TeaPots n Treasures in Indianapolis, Indiana
2/5
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LefTea rated this place
2/5
and said Edit

I stopped by this place on my vacation in Indy. I had found out about it on Yelp but hadn’t planned on going as I’m trying desperately not to become a teapot collector but we happened to walk past it when we were downtown and they had a sign out that said they had teas so I had to go in.

Holy cow is there a lot of crap in this place! I seriously think they overshot when they named themselves TeaPots n Treasures. There are a lot of tea pots but who can see them buried under a ton of knick knacks and costume jewelry? It was like an episode of hoarders minus the garbage. I’m a nice, neat, organized person so this was a huge turnoff for me but I was having kind of a crappy day so I persisted to try and find some tea.

Turns out the tea is just as poorly organized as the rest of the store. In fact, it’s scattered throughout the place with no apparent organization (although apparently there is some as the woman working there knew where the different types of tea were). I like signs that tell me where certain types of tea are but sadly, no signs.

The employee was helpful, asking what kinds I liked and pointing me to the area with it and I found a hazelnut matte to try. Prices on the bags of tea were small as it appeared they take the same approach to labeling as they do with the store overall – the label was cluttered with ingredients (which is good) and health claims (less good). I also haven’t found weight on the bag yet so I can’t confirm my suspicion that pricing wasn’t great.

And forget about smelling jars, nope, you just go ahead and open the bags that are there for purchase (which an employee did for me at first and then I did as well). I’m not a germaphobe but that didn’t sit too well with me.

Overall, I wouldn’t go back unless the tea, which I haven’t tried yet, is fantastic (and then I wouldn’t anyway since I was on vacation). Granted, I’m a little OCD when it comes to organization so I’m sure others would find this place charming, and the employee was very nice and helpful, but I just wanted to organize and purge that place rather than look for tea.

Serene Teaz in Elmhurst, Illinois
4/5
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LefTea rated this place
4/5
and said Edit

I was introduced to this little tea shop through Groupon. Apparently I cannot resist a tea-related Groupon (this is my fourth). Overall this is a very nice tea shop in a cute little area of Elmhurst. Their tea collection isn’t quite as extensive as places like Todd and Holland or TeaGschwender, but they have a nice assortment of tea. Best of all they do not commit the cardinal tea sin of sequestering all their tea behind the counter requiring an employee’s help to sniff and sniff again. They have smelling jars for all their tea and the tea is relatively well organized. I would suggest possibly using different colored labels to visually identify the type of tea.

What really sets this place apart is the customer service. Being a Groupon customer you never quite know what kind of service you’ll get as businesses seem to both love and loathe Groupon shoppers. Yes, I’m a bargain hunter, but if you win me over and I can normally afford your product, I’ll be back. Serene Teaz offered amazing customer service despite me carrying around a folded sheet of paper. Smell something you’re not sure of? They’ll brew up a sample. That other person browsing want to try something? They’ll make enough for anyone in the store to try. This is in addition to the samples they already have brewed. They’re also more than happy to give information and recommendations and they seem to know their stuff.

They even have a VIP club that rewards you for your quarterly spending. The spending threshold is a little high, but if you’re nearby and like tea, it’s probably easy to reach.

My complaints about Serene Teaz are relatively minor: the hours and the communication of those hours. With my Groupon fast approaching expiration I drove out to Elmhurst Monday after work. They had posted tea flavors of the day on Facebook so I assumed they were open. They were not, those were the flavors for their Wheaton location. Elmhurst isn’t terribly far but I did waste an hour round-trip with traffic. Not technically their fault as I should have checked their website and made sure they were open, but confusion could have been avoided by either having seperate facebook pages for each location or noting the flavors were for the Wheaton location. That said their hours are a bit restrictive to 9-5ers. If they were open both Saturday and Sunday I wouldn’t have been pushing my Groupon expiration.

Adagio Teas - Naperville, IL in Naperville, Illinois
5/5
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LefTea rated this place
5/5
and said Edit

I went to Adagio’s birthday celebration (of their brick and mortar stores) on Sunday and it was my first time here. I second all the great things in the previous review. This place is fantastic! Granted, it was their birthday celebration so things were a bit different than normal and the place was packed but I think I found my perfect tea place.

The store is very organized with teas along all the walls sorted by type. They have herbals, rooiboses (rooibosi?), decafs, and mate’s along another wall, so aside from the mate, they have the caffienated tea seperate from the decaf which is nice for anyone who may not be able to have caffeine.

The best thing about the store though? They don’t commit any of my tea place sins. They have smelling jars for every tea on the wall by the tea (rather than kept behind the counter making their workers the gatekeepers of the tea), the tea is prepackaged in sealed, dark containers (rather than requiring workers to measure each bag), prices clearly marked too! They also have teas available in both loose and bagged form making this totally accessible to someone who may be new to good tea and a little aprehensive about going loose (that sounds wrong for some reason). Fairly good selection of teaware too although not as extensive as say, Todd and Hollands.

The staff is friendly and knowledgeable and their to-go tea is reasonably priced.

I’m guessing they don’t normally have cupcakes and cheese though so that’ll make subsequent visits a little sad, but I’ll get over it.

Prices are pretty good too!

TeaGschwendner, USA in Chicago, Illinois
4/5
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LefTea rated this place
4/5
and said Edit

I was introduced to TG through a Groupon so bravo to them for their marketing! I really need to do more research on where these places are before I buy though. I live just outside the city and don’t go downtown terribly often so when my husband and I were supposed to meet a friend downtown on Michigan Ave I took the opportunity to check this place out.

Location: It’s a cute spot in a nice are filled with shops and restaurants. While the area has charm, it does not have parking. My husband had to let me out while he went in search of a parking spot. He ended up in a loading zone about 5 minutes away.

The Shop: It was smaller than I was expecting (that’s what she said), but cute. They had a good assortment and balance between tea and hardware. I had a few complaints about the store, however.

1. Some of the pre-bagged tea was marked with a price, most was not. When I shop, especially with a Groupon or other coupon I try to be as little of a bother as possible because I know they’re losing a portion of their margin on the marketing that brought me there. If you don’t have things clearly marked I have to ask. While I’d love to just be able to buy whatever tickles my fancy regardless of price, that’s just not realistic, so price your merchandise already.

2. Some tea was pre-bagged and was out with cute little smelling jars (even if the lids were a bit difficult to get off without feeling like I would end up flinging tea everywhere), most, however, was tucked behind the counter. Teavana does this and it just irritates me on a couple of levels. First, see the above comment about not being a bother. Second, this makes me feel rushed. There’s a tea place down the street from me that has all their tea out with smelling jars. I’ve been known to spend a fair amount of time sniffing and resniffing there before making my decision. I don’t feel like I can do that when I’m relying on the salespeople to scoop some out to smell. Plus I feel weird putting my nose near stuff that other people will eventually buy. Sounds like a good way to spread germs to me.

Service: No complaints here, the staff was very nice and helpful, suggesting teas based on my preferences. The girl didn’t even seem annoyed by the 5-10 tins I had out to smell. She was also very gracious about my Groupon, not all businesses are (you offered it!).

There’s also a tea bar for to-go tea which looked nice (I didn’t partake due to the afformentioned parking situation).

I’d certainly stop back in if I happened to be in the area as I’m loving the two I’ve had so far (O’Connor’s Cream and a Rooibos K-something), but, given the difficulty of its location, I wouldn’t make a special trip.

Madhatters Tea in San Antonio, Texas
5/5
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LefTea rated this place
5/5
and said Edit

LOVE THIS PLACE!

Found it while on vacation (well okay, BEFORE we went on vacation) and ended up eating there twice (a rarity when I’m on vacation as I like to try new places). Their tea selection is good and you can order it by the pot (they even bring you a little timer and everything) or purchase it loose to take home (they even told me it was cheaper elsewhere). Had my first jasmine green there and loved it so much I bought some to take home (Republic of Tea jasmine green, apparently cheaper at Central Market – which I also highly recommend!).

Food was awesome too. I had some manner of turkey sandwich and my husband had a grilled veggie and hummus sandwich that he’s managed to replicate at home. Great restaurant for those of us who enjoy tea!

Todd & Holland Tea Merchants in Forest Park, Illinois
5/5
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LefTea rated this place
5/5
and said Edit

This place is just down the street from me and that is a very dangerous thing! As the previous reviewer said, Bill Todd really knows his tea (although he does perpetuate the decaf tea myth). The store itself is wonderful, the largest variety of tea next to Teavana. Unlike Teavana though, Bill doesn’t hold his tea for ransom behind the counter. Instead there are rows upon rows of teas, each with their own smelling jar. I’ve had my nose declare a strike because I’ve spent so much time sniffing and resniffing as I decide which ones to take home.

There is always a tasting bar with at least two teas out and the employees will fill you in about those teas. Unlike Teavana, they do not add sugar to their samples. I typically do, but prefer this to Teavana’s sampling practices because you get an idea of how the tea itself tastes, rather than their rock sugar. If Bill is working, it’s likely that there’ll be a third, special pot of tea he made for himself, but he always shares!

In addition to the wide variety of teas, the shop also has a bunch of teapots, cups, and infusers. I love their selection of Beehouse teapots! They could use more tins, but it’s not a huge deal. They even have some honey and sugar!

Overall, basically a tea-paradise!

The Spice & Tea Exchange in Madeira Beach, Florida
3/5
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LefTea rated this place
3/5
and said Edit

It should be noted that this review is for the St. Armand’s Circle location (Sarasota), but I couldn’t find it in the places listing.

I had a Groupon for this place for when I was on vacation and planned on using it for tea, but knew that I could also use it on the spices, sugars, etc. My Groupon was for $15, everything (spices, tea, sugars) were priced at 4.89….ok… I realize that Groupon is often a raw deal for businesses since they get so little for each one and Groupon takes so much, but don’t force me to spend more than I want to just to help your profit margins. If it’s not a good deal for you, don’t do it. You also couldn’t use the Groupon on accessories so I had to pay for my travel steeper out of pocket (which is fine, just worth noting)

Anyway, that aside, I was rather disappointed in their selection of teas. For a place that calls itself the Spice and Tea Exchange, you’d think they’d have more tea, but the majority of the shop is filled with spices. The tea is relegated to a small corner in the back where it takes up three shelves. There were probably about 15-20 varieties of tea, which may seem like a lot, but if you prefer one type over another, it really only gave you a few options. I ended up getting two of one kind just to meet the Groupon minimum.

Everything is sold in 1 oz bags for $4.89 and it should be noted that the tea is sold in clear plastic bags (offering no protection from light) and the smell from my coconut oolong bags was so strong it made me think the coconut perfume in my TSA approved toiletry bag had spilled even though it was kept in a completely seperate pocket of my suitcase. I would like to see a litte more care taken in the packaging of the tea, and would have loved the ability to buy in larger quantities, even better with a slight price break.

Worth a stop (coconut oolong and nutty dessert tea FTW) if you’re in the area.

Local Coffee & Tea in Siesta Key, Florida
4/5
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LefTea rated this place
4/5
and said Edit

It seems I cannot vacation anywhere anymore without checking out the local tea (and cupcake) places. I have what I call the trifecta when it comes to souveniers: tea, cupcakes, and jewelry, and I’m just not happy until the trifecta is complete.

The trifecta led me here. Granted, I had already purchased some tea at The Spice and Tea Exchange, but I was missing my kettle and therefore, nervous about temperature, so brewing anything finicky was out of the question and I was longing for a proper cup of tea.

We first got there one evening after it was closed. Sad. I saw through the window that they had a matcha latte and decided we had to go back. So we looked into the hours and planned to return.

I’m so glad we did! The matcha latte (my first) was excellent (then again, to what do I have to compare it?), although she could have mixed it a little better. My husband and I both got them iced and added a little splenda.

They also have loose leaf tea (and coffee) for purchase. I always assume those little bags are sealed so I didn’t even think about smelling them, but I realized when I got home that I could have, although I’m not sure if they would have appreciated that. They had a small, but nice variety. My two main beefs were that I couldn’t smell the tea (but I can’t do that when I order online) and that many of their teas have hibiscus which I don’t think I like. They’re also a bit overpriced at about $9 for 2 ounces (a few were more, a few were less) but they support local businesses and even have a tea dedicated to the nearby Mote Aquarium (and offer free coffee to Mote sea turtle egg protectors).

Overall, worth a stop (the scones looked amazing), but since it’s in a touristy area (Siesta Key Village) be prepared to pay tourist prices. Haven’t tried the tea yet so I can’t comment there.

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Bio

Hello!
I’m Amanda, and I’m new to the world of tea. I got sucked in by a sample at Teavana and have been exploring ever since. I prefer loose tea but will slum it with the occasional, high quality bag.

I live just outside Chicago with my husband and our dog.

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