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A hand holding a tea infuser filled with pinkish liquid topped with flowers and pouring its contents into a to-go cup.
TeaPotBrew Bakery on the Near South Side is one of many spots in Chicago that serve up a nice, warm cup of tea.
Garrett Sweet/Eater Chicago

16 Outstanding Spots To Sip Tea in Chicago

Terrific fancy and casual ways to enjoy the world’s beverage

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TeaPotBrew Bakery on the Near South Side is one of many spots in Chicago that serve up a nice, warm cup of tea.
| Garrett Sweet/Eater Chicago

While Chicago counts one of the country’s strongest coffee scenes, thanks to the great work of local tea sellers — like Rare Tea Cellar, Spirit Tea, and Kilogram from Intelligentsia — the city’s tea culture is becoming ever more sophisticated, too. Beyond trendy drinks like matcha lattes, Chicago is experiencing a swell in establishments serving properly-brewed teas, wherein the temperature of the water is taken into consideration, along with brew method, and ratio of leaves to water.

From oolongs to greens to blacks, below, 16 of Chicago’s best places to sip tea.

As of January 3, the city has mandated that those ages 5 and up be fully vaccinated and masked at public places indoors while not actively eating or drinking. For updated information on coronavirus cases, please visit the city of Chicago’s COVID-19 dashboard. Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; it may pose a risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial COVID transmission. The latest CDC guidance is here; find a COVID-19 vaccination site here.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Eli Tea Bar

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5507 N Clark St
Chicago, IL 60640

Michigan import Eli Tea Bar is a sober-friendly nightlife alternative in Andersonville, with an LGBTQ-friendly atmosphere (including drag queen bingo), late hours, and an extensive menu of 100 loose-leaf teas and blends from all over the world. Owner Eli Majid studied botany and uses that background to mix drinks. There are also pastries from Spoke & Bird and samosas from Tasting India.

A countertop with a stack of tea canisters in front of shelves filled with more canisters.
Eli’s Tea Bar in Andersonville sells 100 loose leaf teas.
Kim Kovacik/Eater Chicago

2. First Sip Cafe

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1057 W Argyle St
Chicago, IL 60640

This cozy cafe in Uptown serves sweet and loose leaf teas in a storefront filled with plants and antique furniture. First Sip also hosts musical performances and community events, such as Lunar New Year celebrations.

3. Backlot Coffee

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3982 N Avondale Ave
Chicago, IL 60641
(773) 657-3797
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Backlot Coffee, which now counts three locations (two in Evanston and one in Old Irving Park), serves brews mostly made from Rare Tea Cellar teas. And for those keen on unique tea-based beverages, pop in to try the lavender-imbued matcha, sweetened with a house-made lavender syrup. There’s also the chai option, made from a chai concentrate, chai spice-infused steamed milk, and — for an extra rush — make it “dirty” with a double shot of espresso.

A Mason jar with a creamy white liquid.
Backlot Coffee’s Chai.
Backlot Coffee [Official Photo]

4. Superkhana International

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3059 W Diversey Ave
Chicago, IL 60647
(773) 661-9028
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The tea options at mod Indian haunt Superkhana International in Logan Square skew, well, Indian. Try chef Zeeshan Shah’s auntie-approved extra-strong milk chai, made with Red Label loose tea, ginger, green cardamom, black peppercorns, water, milk, and sugar. The recipe was inspired by a family recipe that he grew up drinking. Beyond chai, beverage director and general manager Colleen Malone built a list using Spirit Tea, including Nepal white, rosella, and okumidori sencha.

A photo of a long bar with black chairs.
Superkhana International offers a sterling tea selection.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

5. Chiya Chai Cafe

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2770 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60647
(773) 360-7541
Visit Website

Chiya is the place for chai fans. This modest Nepalese cafe in Logan Square serves more than 150 different combinations, with classic and creative flavors like masala and cardamom to “Salty Pink Himalayan” with almond butter. Order some momos (dumplings) to eat on the side. 

Three glasses of colorful chai teas.
Assorted chai drinks
Chiya Chai [Official Photo]

6. Hugo Tea Space

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1816 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60647
(872) 802-4499
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Hugo Tea in Bucktown offers loose leaf teas from China and Japan, all individually brewed by “teatenders” who are well-versed in traditional methods. Sign up for gongfu tea ceremonies or private tastings of limited edition and seasonal special teas.

7. Intelligentsia Coffee Old Town Coffeebar

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1233 N Wells St
Chicago, IL 60610
(312) 229-1400
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Local specialty coffee chainlet Intelligentsia offers drinks made from Kilogram Tea. Pick from English breakfast, chamomile and jasmine green teas, in addition to matcha drinks. Select locations also offer seasonally rotating sparkling Kilogram teas, like turmeric tonic, schizandra berry, and organic golden needles tea.

Kilogram Tea
Intelligentsia [Official Photo]

8. The Peninsula

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108 E Superior St
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 337-2888
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Served in the heart of the hotel, the Lobby at the Peninsula offers afternoon tea daily from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and from 3:30 to 5 p.m. on Sunday ($85 per person, or $98 with a glass of Champagne). The house tea brand of choice is Le Palais des Thés, served alongside scones, tea sandwiches, and small desserts. 

The Peninsula’s tea time is full of swanky bites and beverages.
The Peninsula [Official Photo]

9. The Langham, Chicago

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330 N Wabash Ave
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 923-9988
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Pavilion at the Langham offers daily afternoon tea service, with tea sandwiches and scones served beside jam and clotted cream served on Wedgewood china. Brews are not outsourced; instead the hotel commands its own proprietary brand with 25 unique blends. From time to time the property also offers specially-curated afternoon tea sessions, including a special for Valentine’s Day.

The Langham has upscale afternoon tea service
The Langham [Official Photo]

10. Metric Coffee Co.

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2021 W Fulton St suite k-101b
Chicago, IL 60612
(312) 982-2196
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Though sleek micro roaster Metric might be best known for its excellent coffee, the tea program here is also one of the city’s best. The team carefully sources its teas from Spirit Tea, offering a mix of whites, blacks, greens, and matcha. Unsurprisingly, their matcha has been the biggest seller lately, available both as a steamed latte and as a shaken iced drink. 

Spirit Tea is the choice of Metric.
Metric Coffee [Official Photo]

11. Gaijin

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950 W Lake St
Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 265-1348
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Over at newly-minted West Loop savory pancake specialist Gaijin, the teas lean Japanese. Beverage director Julius White Jr. sources his teas from Rare Tea Cellar, and guests can choose from five hot and two iced tea options daily. Think samurai chai (sencha tea with popped rice and chai), and sakura Kyoto cherry blossom tea (Japanese green tea with cherry blossom and wild rose).

The inside of a dark-hued restaurant and bar.
Inside Gaijin
Gaijin [Official Photo]

12. Kumiko

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630 W Lake St
Chicago, IL 60661
(312) 285-2912
Visit Website

It’s no surprise that Kumiko, Julia Momose’s Japanese cocktail den in the West Loop, is big into tea. Momose is sourcing all of her teas from a single, family-owned plantation in Hoshinomura, a village located in Fukuoka’s Yame District (an area famous for green tea production). Flavors include gyokuro, kukicha, oolong, hojicha, and kodemari matcha. The latter of which she’s also using in a warm dessert cocktail, the “Matcha Miruku,” with shochu, cashew nut milk, and honey. Those looking to go caffeine-free can choose from tisanes such as red chai and emperor’s chamomile.

A woman pouring matcha into a bowl.
Kumiko’s matcha service.
Sammy Faze Photograhpy

13. Chicago Athletic Association

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12 S Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL 60603
(312) 940-3552
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With its fireplace and comfortable furniture, Drawing Room at the Chicago Athletic Association hotel is one of the city’s coziest places to sip tea during colder months. Here, the team worked with Rare Tea Cellar to draft a menu of unique and seasonal teas, and right now guests can choose from options like emperor’s house chai, magnolia blossom oolong, and royal chamomile mint. Meanwhile, rooftop bar Cindy’s also sources its teas via Rare Tea Cellar, and those brews flavor drinks both boozy and alcohol-free.

Tea cocktails at Cindy’s.
Chicago Athletic Association Hotel [Official Photo]

14. Living Water Tea House

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1453 W Taylor St
Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 846-6919
Visit Website

Find milk tea and other beverages at this East Asian tea parlor situated in Little Italy. Living Water Tea House sports a unique mission and even allows customers to book their own tea ceremonies, a unique way to sip tea and learn about Chinese traditions. Not only does the tea deliver, but ownership is very particularly about the vessels — tea is only as good as the equipment it’s made and served in — and the pots and cups at Living Water are something to behold.

15. TeaPotBrew Bakery

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1802 S Wabash Ave
Chicago, IL 60616
(312) 966-6001
Visit Website

True to its name, TeaPotBrew Bakery offers an extensive selection of teas, plus freshly made baked goods, including cookies, scones, a variety of banana breads, and doughnuts on Fridays. There’s also gelato. The tea comes from Milwaukee-based importer Rishi.

A mural of cakes and cupcakes painted on the side of a brick building.
TeaPotBrew Bakery has tea, plus baked goods.
Garrett Sweet/Eater Chicago

16. Afro Joes Coffee & Tea

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8344 S Halsted St
Chicago, IL 60620
(773) 234-1308
Visit Website

Since it opened in 2020, this family-owned Auburn Gresham cafe has become a community hub with weekly open mics. It also serves both hot and iced tea, chai, and matcha, plus a variety of blended drink specials.

A plastic cup filled with pink liquid topped with foam and flowers
Afro Joe’s serves blended drink specials made with tea.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

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1. Eli Tea Bar

5507 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60640
A countertop with a stack of tea canisters in front of shelves filled with more canisters.
Eli’s Tea Bar in Andersonville sells 100 loose leaf teas.
Kim Kovacik/Eater Chicago

Michigan import Eli Tea Bar is a sober-friendly nightlife alternative in Andersonville, with an LGBTQ-friendly atmosphere (including drag queen bingo), late hours, and an extensive menu of 100 loose-leaf teas and blends from all over the world. Owner Eli Majid studied botany and uses that background to mix drinks. There are also pastries from Spoke & Bird and samosas from Tasting India.

5507 N Clark St
Chicago, IL 60640

2. First Sip Cafe

1057 W Argyle St, Chicago, IL 60640

This cozy cafe in Uptown serves sweet and loose leaf teas in a storefront filled with plants and antique furniture. First Sip also hosts musical performances and community events, such as Lunar New Year celebrations.

1057 W Argyle St
Chicago, IL 60640

3. Backlot Coffee

3982 N Avondale Ave, Chicago, IL 60641
A Mason jar with a creamy white liquid.
Backlot Coffee’s Chai.
Backlot Coffee [Official Photo]

Backlot Coffee, which now counts three locations (two in Evanston and one in Old Irving Park), serves brews mostly made from Rare Tea Cellar teas. And for those keen on unique tea-based beverages, pop in to try the lavender-imbued matcha, sweetened with a house-made lavender syrup. There’s also the chai option, made from a chai concentrate, chai spice-infused steamed milk, and — for an extra rush — make it “dirty” with a double shot of espresso.

3982 N Avondale Ave
Chicago, IL 60641

4. Superkhana International

3059 W Diversey Ave, Chicago, IL 60647
A photo of a long bar with black chairs.
Superkhana International offers a sterling tea selection.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

The tea options at mod Indian haunt Superkhana International in Logan Square skew, well, Indian. Try chef Zeeshan Shah’s auntie-approved extra-strong milk chai, made with Red Label loose tea, ginger, green cardamom, black peppercorns, water, milk, and sugar. The recipe was inspired by a family recipe that he grew up drinking. Beyond chai, beverage director and general manager Colleen Malone built a list using Spirit Tea, including Nepal white, rosella, and okumidori sencha.

3059 W Diversey Ave
Chicago, IL 60647

5. Chiya Chai Cafe

2770 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60647
Three glasses of colorful chai teas.
Assorted chai drinks
Chiya Chai [Official Photo]

Chiya is the place for chai fans. This modest Nepalese cafe in Logan Square serves more than 150 different combinations, with classic and creative flavors like masala and cardamom to “Salty Pink Himalayan” with almond butter. Order some momos (dumplings) to eat on the side. 

2770 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60647

6. Hugo Tea Space

1816 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60647

Hugo Tea in Bucktown offers loose leaf teas from China and Japan, all individually brewed by “teatenders” who are well-versed in traditional methods. Sign up for gongfu tea ceremonies or private tastings of limited edition and seasonal special teas.

1816 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60647

7. Intelligentsia Coffee Old Town Coffeebar

1233 N Wells St, Chicago, IL 60610
Kilogram Tea
Intelligentsia [Official Photo]

Local specialty coffee chainlet Intelligentsia offers drinks made from Kilogram Tea. Pick from English breakfast, chamomile and jasmine green teas, in addition to matcha drinks. Select locations also offer seasonally rotating sparkling Kilogram teas, like turmeric tonic, schizandra berry, and organic golden needles tea.

1233 N Wells St
Chicago, IL 60610

8. The Peninsula

108 E Superior St, Chicago, IL 60611
The Peninsula’s tea time is full of swanky bites and beverages.
The Peninsula [Official Photo]

Served in the heart of the hotel, the Lobby at the Peninsula offers afternoon tea daily from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and from 3:30 to 5 p.m. on Sunday ($85 per person, or $98 with a glass of Champagne). The house tea brand of choice is Le Palais des Thés, served alongside scones, tea sandwiches, and small desserts. 

108 E Superior St
Chicago, IL 60611

9. The Langham, Chicago

330 N Wabash Ave, Chicago, IL 60611
The Langham has upscale afternoon tea service
The Langham [Official Photo]

Pavilion at the Langham offers daily afternoon tea service, with tea sandwiches and scones served beside jam and clotted cream served on Wedgewood china. Brews are not outsourced; instead the hotel commands its own proprietary brand with 25 unique blends. From time to time the property also offers specially-curated afternoon tea sessions, including a special for Valentine’s Day.

330 N Wabash Ave
Chicago, IL 60611

10. Metric Coffee Co.

2021 W Fulton St suite k-101b, Chicago, IL 60612
Spirit Tea is the choice of Metric.
Metric Coffee [Official Photo]

Though sleek micro roaster Metric might be best known for its excellent coffee, the tea program here is also one of the city’s best. The team carefully sources its teas from Spirit Tea, offering a mix of whites, blacks, greens, and matcha. Unsurprisingly, their matcha has been the biggest seller lately, available both as a steamed latte and as a shaken iced drink. 

2021 W Fulton St suite k-101b
Chicago, IL 60612

11. Gaijin

950 W Lake St, Chicago, IL 60607
The inside of a dark-hued restaurant and bar.
Inside Gaijin
Gaijin [Official Photo]

Over at newly-minted West Loop savory pancake specialist Gaijin, the teas lean Japanese. Beverage director Julius White Jr. sources his teas from Rare Tea Cellar, and guests can choose from five hot and two iced tea options daily. Think samurai chai (sencha tea with popped rice and chai), and sakura Kyoto cherry blossom tea (Japanese green tea with cherry blossom and wild rose).

950 W Lake St
Chicago, IL 60607

12. Kumiko

630 W Lake St, Chicago, IL 60661
A woman pouring matcha into a bowl.
Kumiko’s matcha service.
Sammy Faze Photograhpy

It’s no surprise that Kumiko, Julia Momose’s Japanese cocktail den in the West Loop, is big into tea. Momose is sourcing all of her teas from a single, family-owned plantation in Hoshinomura, a village located in Fukuoka’s Yame District (an area famous for green tea production). Flavors include gyokuro, kukicha, oolong, hojicha, and kodemari matcha. The latter of which she’s also using in a warm dessert cocktail, the “Matcha Miruku,” with shochu, cashew nut milk, and honey. Those looking to go caffeine-free can choose from tisanes such as red chai and emperor’s chamomile.

630 W Lake St
Chicago, IL 60661

13. Chicago Athletic Association

12 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60603
Tea cocktails at Cindy’s.
Chicago Athletic Association Hotel [Official Photo]

With its fireplace and comfortable furniture, Drawing Room at the Chicago Athletic Association hotel is one of the city’s coziest places to sip tea during colder months. Here, the team worked with Rare Tea Cellar to draft a menu of unique and seasonal teas, and right now guests can choose from options like emperor’s house chai, magnolia blossom oolong, and royal chamomile mint. Meanwhile, rooftop bar Cindy’s also sources its teas via Rare Tea Cellar, and those brews flavor drinks both boozy and alcohol-free.

12 S Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL 60603

14. Living Water Tea House

1453 W Taylor St, Chicago, IL 60607

Find milk tea and other beverages at this East Asian tea parlor situated in Little Italy. Living Water Tea House sports a unique mission and even allows customers to book their own tea ceremonies, a unique way to sip tea and learn about Chinese traditions. Not only does the tea deliver, but ownership is very particularly about the vessels — tea is only as good as the equipment it’s made and served in — and the pots and cups at Living Water are something to behold.

1453 W Taylor St
Chicago, IL 60607

15. TeaPotBrew Bakery

1802 S Wabash Ave, Chicago, IL 60616
A mural of cakes and cupcakes painted on the side of a brick building.
TeaPotBrew Bakery has tea, plus baked goods.
Garrett Sweet/Eater Chicago

True to its name, TeaPotBrew Bakery offers an extensive selection of teas, plus freshly made baked goods, including cookies, scones, a variety of banana breads, and doughnuts on Fridays. There’s also gelato. The tea comes from Milwaukee-based importer Rishi.

1802 S Wabash Ave
Chicago, IL 60616

Related Maps

16. Afro Joes Coffee & Tea

8344 S Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60620
A plastic cup filled with pink liquid topped with foam and flowers
Afro Joe’s serves blended drink specials made with tea.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

Since it opened in 2020, this family-owned Auburn Gresham cafe has become a community hub with weekly open mics. It also serves both hot and iced tea, chai, and matcha, plus a variety of blended drink specials.

8344 S Halsted St
Chicago, IL 60620

Related Maps