Best Tea Shop - 2009
Northern Lights Tea Company
The scaling back of Starbucks' store-every-block saturation is just one more reason caffeine addicts are turning to tea to fill the void. More specifically, they are heading to Northern Lights Tea Company, where owner Sandy Nelson happily advises newbies on the differences in darjeelings (do you want a flush or a specific season?) and recently helped a customer find the perfect product for her diabetic husband. Thera are more than 150 loose-leaf teas to choose from in the pocket-size skyway space (Northern Lights moved from St. Paul to Minneapolis last fall), making Nelson's wide-ranging know-how the store's biggest asset. Chocolate rooibos is perfect for those weaning themselves from a mocha fixation, while monkey-picked oolong is just fun to say. Customers looking for more than flavor from their tea can choose special detox blends as well as mixes that offer gender-specific benefits. All forms of tea-related accoutrements are also for sale, and regulars can reuse their bags for a discount on loose-leaf purchases.