The Harbinger Online

Tea for three

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I hate coffee. There, I said it. I am avidly ‘team tea,’ so going to a café exclusively dedicated to tea always warms my heart. I hate going to coffee places like Starbucks or Latte Land and seeing only a couple of tea options, all tasting like water sprinkled with a little bit of dirt. And quite frankly, it’s a coffee shop – so why do I expect good tea? I shouldn’t. Thus began my journey to find the best tea places – ones with bigger selections and greater quality than the chain coffeehouse down the street.

T-Loft

I have been to t. Loft on a few occasions, typically for a brainberry juice or a scramble bowl, but I have never tried their tea. I had been missing out. They have a huge variety of white, green, black, wellness and matcha teas.

Loft has four locations – on the Country Club Plaza, Park Place, State Line and in Lawrence. The State Line location is great to stop by on the way to school or over lunch. The Plaza location is my favorite because it’s closest to my house, and it makes for a great stop in the middle of a shopping trip.

I ordered an iced pomegranate green tea, which tasted like classic green tea, but with a sweeter aftertaste. It was flavorful without being overbearing.

I tried my friends iced jasmine blueberry green tea. I liked it a lot better than what I picked – but mine was still great. The jasmine blueberry had a stronger flavor, but it wasn’t overwhelmingly sweet.

The environment at t. Loft’s Plaza location is chic and trendy. Each table has a different inscription with an inspirational quote. If you’re getting your order to go, you can sit on a comfy porch swing and feel like a kid for a bit.

Loft gets an A+ for me with their wide selection of teas and a warm, welcoming spirit. They easily have the best atmosphere and environment of any tea place I’ve been to.

Dragonfly Tea Zone

I drove about 30 minutes to Dragonfly Tea Zone before realizing that there was a location in River market. So it’s safe to say that I felt like an idiot, but the drive ended up being totally worth it.

Dragonfly has a have a huge selection of bubble teas – their specialty – but they also offer smoothies, juices and tea lattes.

I ordered a passion fruit boba tea. It was a huge sugarbomb, and I could feel the cavities setting in as I drank it. But I like that kind of thing, so I slurped it down joyously.

The bottom third of my cup was filled with boba, which I have tried many times. But every time I slurp one up through my straw, I seem to hate it even more. It tastes so unnatural – like eating oysters. Luckily, they are easy to avoid so I was able to avoid cringing every time I took a sip. I should’ve just asked for my tea without boba, but I wanted to be adventurous.

My friend got a spiced apple chai latte, and it was spectacular. Once again, I liked what she got better than what I got. It tasted like warm apple cider mixed with a chai latte. And it wasn’t watered down like Starbucks’, it was full and rich.

Dragonfly also offers a huge range of loose-leaf teas including green, white, oolong, black, red, herbal and tisanes teas. I was overwhelmed, yet impressed, when I walked up to the expansive display of glass jars full of tea waiting to be brewed. It smelled spectacular, like a warm and inviting garden.

Besides the location switch up, Dragonfly Tea Zone remains one of my favorite tea venues because of its huge selection of teas and great quality.

Tea Drops

Tucked neatly into a side street in the heart of Westport, Tea Drops brims with character. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else on a rainy Sunday.

I got a matcha latte, something I’ve never tried before. It tasted like grass. I think matcha is an acquired taste – one which I have not acquired.

In the past, I have tried various flavors of their bubble teas. And while I may not like boba, the tea is still spectacular. One of my favorites is the strawberry lemon flavor.

They offer them iced, blended, hot or lassi (blended with yogurt). I usually prefer mine iced, but a blended one would make a great treat on a hot summer day.

They have two categories of flavors – milk and juice. The milk flavors are more chocolatey, and the juice flavors are more fruity. You can mix any flavors to create your own custom drink. That’s what I did with strawberry and lemon.

They also offer loose-leaf teas, but their selection is not nearly as extensive as Dragonfly Tea Zone’s. You can purchase them in the store or online and have them shipped.

Parking can be a little difficult because the closest lot is all reserved and is a tow-away zone, but a short walk through Westport never bothers me. It is surrounded by tons of other cute shops and restaurants, so it makes it the perfect stop on a shopping trip or after a breakfast date.

Tea Drops is one of my favorite tea places because of the ability to customize your drink and come up with your own unique flavor, and it’s charming and convenient location.

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