BEST TEA SHOP - 2010
In a country fueled by high-octane coffee, drinking tea can seem downright subversive, a foreign affectation of pinkie-in-the-air aesthetes. Which is why TeaSource is such a breath of fresh air. Through the wide windows of its shop in Highland Park, it looks like any ordinary coffeehouse, bright and airy, with a clutch of laptop-toting 20-somethings vying for the handful of tables and dreadlocked baristas behind the counter. But they aren't baristas, of course, they're tea professionals. And behind that counter, lined with brochures and books about tea, are the makings of some 200 varieties of the stuff, from popular favorites like Earl Grey to incredibly exotic finds acquired by owner Bill Waddington on his frequent visits to tea growers in India, China, and elsewhere. But don't worry if you don't know your Iron Silk Puerh from your Iron Goddess of Mercy—the staff realizes that tea is still somewhat mysterious to Americans and will gladly explain the infinite blessings of the Camellia sinensis plant, from which all tea flows. Or they can point you, like any good proselytizer, to the proper brochure.