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Tea on the Road - It’s getting a lot more interesting for tea lovers to travel in the US

Posted Apr 24 2009 12:00am
Those of us who are tea fanatics, and/or drink tea like our lives depend on it, all have our own little tricks for getting our fix on the road. How many times have TSA guys been all over my “scissor” tea ball… (I carry my X-ray stealthy TUFFY STEEPER silicone infuser now!) or my Automatic Teapots - “does that thing play a tune?”… And we all know that “place” in every city to rush off to between meetings (Alice’s Tea Cup on the upper West side of New York City; Teaism in Dupont Circle, Washington, DC; the Imperial Tea Court in San Francisco, to name some of my favorites). Well, I’m finding less need to be frenetic about my travel stash any more, as more and more quality tea sellers pop up in new and surprising locations.

On a recent 3-day trip from Boulder to Cleveland and Rochester (a friend of mine offered condolences when I explained why I had to decline a dinner invite that weekend!) I had an amazing cup of freshly steeped tea on all three days away from home, none of which I had to prepare myself!

My departure from the Denver International Airport (DIA) was over an hour after my bus got to the terminal, so I started the trip well by chatting it up with my old friend and owner of the Cof-Tea café on the Main Concourse, Zach McNeal, over my morning standard Bolder Breakfast. Such a great treat to get my favorite breakfast tea, freshly made, at the airport! No longer a chore to have to wait for an arriving or departing flight at DIA with his loose leaf tea selection… Cof-Tea is open early, closes late, and is so central in DIA.

The next day, we had a quick lunch with my older daughter’s boyfriend in Cleveland. He recommended a sandwich place on the Case Western/Cleveland Institute of Music campus called Arabica Café. And oh, what a tea list! All 3 of us got different pots of loose-leaf tea, and they were all great – Japanese Sencha, Russian Caravan, and Oolong. My daughter sheepishly admitted that she never thought she’d find teas to rival what she got at home, until she discovered this place. Definitely fueled our 4+ hour drive to Rochester nicely…

Java’s, the café with an awesome vibe that will warm you inside and out, is located next door to the Eastman School of Music. Not only does it boast a nice tea list, but an entire second room of 20+ teas that you can also purchase in bulk. Way cool. I got to start my chilly Rochester morning with a cup of Puerh and a cup of Assam, then mixing the two and sharing with my daughter.

3 days, 3 locations - with no freshly steeped loose leaf tea until recently - and we enjoyed some of the best teas ever… Yes indeed, Change has come to America!
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