Adagio Teas in Chicago

Greetings from Chicago! I’m in the Windy City this week searching for the most comforting fall blends I can find. Many people come to Chicago searching for some buttery deep dish pizza or a snappy hot dog. But what do I look for? Teas that I can’t find in a sunny, 90-degrees-in-October place like Los Angeles.

There’s something about Chicago that makes it uniquely tea-friendly. Long wool coats and bone chilling temps set the stage for a thriving tea culture, and Adagio Teas is one of those tea shops that makes tea drinking that much more enticing.

Although Adagio Teas is actually based out of New Jersey, they have 3 brick and mortar retail stores, all located in Chicago. I visited the Adagio store on State Street in Downtown Chicago. The store isn’t exceptionally large but it is filled with a huge variety of tea goodies from clay teapots to tea flavored chocolate bars to zodiac themed teas.

The Masters Collection is a set of high-quality international specialty teas at Adagio. Most of the teas from this collection are from China or Japan, and are single origin teas not blends. These teas come in Asian-inspired decorative tins where Formosa Ali Shan, Fujian Ti Kuan Yin, and Fujian Silver Needle are among the most popular steeps from this collection.

This tea shop is currently holding a World of Artisan Teas tasting tour, where each week 3 teas from one tea-producing country are featured for your tasting pleasure, free of charge. After your tea tastings, you’ll get a stamp in your “tea passport” just as you would if you had traveled to that country. A fully stamped passport entitles you to a gift from Adagio at the end of your travels.

If you are a picky tea drinker or want to try your hand at creating your own personal blend, there’s a station at the back of the store where you can mix and match teas to suit your taste. You can even schedule private tastings where you can learn about and discover new teas.

On the day I visited, I selected Adagio’s Formosa Bai Hao to try. This tea has a distinctive honey-like peachy essence that transforms into a sweet, woody brew once steeped. Bai Hao is also known as Oriental Beauty, and is highly oxidized which makes it reminiscent of fallen autumn leaves.

The friendly and knowledgable staff at Adagio Teas on State Street do a great job at taking the mystery out of tea drinking. I love that the brand celebrates tea in so many dynamic and creative ways, and aims to educate customers at the same time. You can also find some of Adagio’s teas and teaware on Amazon, but if you are in the Chicago area, a trip over to one of their vibrant stores is well worth your time. 

18 thoughts on “Adagio Teas in Chicago

    • Yes, that’s what I was doing too…luckily the shop workers are understanding and don’t get annoyed at all my questions (at least they didn’t seem too). 🙂 The passport is so cute Marta, I took one even though I can’t participate…each page has a small bio of a tea-growing country. 🙂

  1. If you have time, check out Tea Geschwender. Chicago has the only store locations in N. America. Incredible selection of looseleaf teas! Enjoy Chicago!

    Dora

  2. Glad to see you’re exploring Chicago! It’s a fun city. Adagio teas currently has a Groupon for a tea tasting for 2 for those interested in checking it out. You get to try three of their teas and take home a ceramic teapot. I haven’t been yet, but I plan to soon–especially now that I read this post and know you recommend it.

    If you’re looking for other tea related adventures in Chicago, I’d check out having afternoon tea at The Drake. I’ve been there countless times and it’s always a nice experience.

    Best,
    Rosanna

    • Thank you so much for the info Rosanna! I loved my time at Adagio…if I could participate in their tastings I totally would! If you visit their site they have a weekly schedule of their happenings/current promotions so that you can plan ahead.

      Since I didn’t have much time in Chicago I ended up at The Langham for afternoon tea instead of The Drake (right across from my hotel). I’ll actually be posting about it on Sunday. 🙂 Per your suggestion, I will definitely be dropping by The Drake the next time I am back in Chicago as my hubby has a yearly conference there. Thanks so much for the insightful comment…such a pleasure hearing from you Rosanna! 🙂

  3. Wonderful! I see they serve Matcha lattes which I’ve just discovered this week and am sort of bingeing on . . . . just bought my first entry level matcha powder for home! I think your blog has formally converted me to tea from coffee!!!

    • Oooo…that would be a huge accomplishment on my side Sue! Are you the cold turkey type or are you better with gradual changes? I recently discovered some coffee-tea blends that could give you a jump start on the path to going strictly tea. Matcha, dark black teas (like pu-erh or Irish Breakfast) would be good starter teas for you now as you may be going through caffeine withdrawals. I cut out coffee about 2 years ago, because I was getting so addicted, and it felt like I was starting to burn a hole through my stomach. The best thing about tea is that the boost it gives you will be more subtle, yet constant throughout the day–no “crashes.” If you have some specific taste preferences, don’t hesitate to let me know…I’d love to find you a blend to call your own! 🙂

  4. Chicago is definitely still on my list of places to visit. I’m glad that you got to visit to Tea Gschwendner too. We used to have one in NYC and I miss it. They had a special blend called Big Apple that was delicious 🙂

    • Nicole, when you visit Chicago someday soon, you are going to have the best time ever. It’s a tea city, through and through…they even had a teapot display at the city’s main art museum, the Art Institute of Chicago. At TeaGschwender on State St. they had a blend called Windy City that has a strawberry essence to it, which I found surprising since I don’t associate Chicago with strawberries at all! I’ll have to check on their site to see if they still have that Big Apple blend…sounds very yummy! 🙂

  5. Adagio Tea sounds so lovely, especially the idea of the free sampling and then having a passport to go with it! How cute is that?! I will check them out on amazing, thanks for the suggestion Bonnie! I hope you have a lovely time in Chicago and can enjoy lots of tea and food 🙂

    • I love how creative Adagio Teas is with bringing their blends to life! One way or another, I hope you can find some soon Beatrice. And if you are ever in Chicago and visit, I know you will love their store! 🙂

    • Yes Tina! I stopped by the one next to the Oriental Theater and actually blogged from there! Love how colorful it is and I picked up a few delicious teas that I’ll be featuring on Tea of the Week soon. I’d still take London over Chicago anyday, but the city does have unique charm…:). Thanks so much for stopping by and Happy Friday!!

  6. Love that you go looking for tea when there is pizza around the corner! I have heard of this brand but have yet to try it. Thank you for the review. One of these days, I’m really going to kick the coffee habit and just invest in tea.

    • Rest assure, I got my pizza in too Ngan! Haha! My hubby and I are wimps though and just did a thin crust. 🙂 Some of Argo’s brewed teas can be found at Whole Foods on the West Coast. Their green tea ginger twist blend is excellent. I just had a discussion with Sue from BurgerBird about converting from coffee to tea (see above). Perhaps I should do a post on this soon! 🙂

      • Oooo, will you write a post about converting from coffee to tea? I did quit cold turkey while in law school, but when I started working I took it up again (to be social and stay awake). I am on one or two cups a day now but I don’t like how I am dependent on it. I would love to hear your thoughts and tips. Please challenge us (me) to convert!

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