Hong Wu and Daquan Yao set out to establish a little respite from the hustle and bustle of the world in the form of a teashop. Originally from China, the couple opened Dream About Tea in early 2004 in suburban Evanston, making it the perfect spot to sit and relax while nestled away from the fast-paced city.
Dream About Tea serves about 45 types of tea, ranging from oolong to green to black to herbal and flavored teas. The majority are $2.25 a cup, but the more authentic teas that require expensive ingredients reach $6.75. In addition to in-store teas, Dream About Tea sells dozens of dried tealeaves and flowers such as ceylon, white peonies and lemon wintermint (many of which are imported from China). These ingredients vary in price just as much as the cups of tea do, ranging from $1.95 to a whopping $14 an ounce.
The spacious shop includes a small market area with teabags and teapots, wares and accessories (basically anything you'd need to brew your own). Alongside generic names like Stash and Mighty Leaf, Dream About Tea carries Life Rising, a brand of herbal teas that claims to literally make your life better by helping maintain normal weight and blood sugar or supporting your immune system.
In an attempt to spread the "tea lifestyle" to novices and connoisseurs alike, Hong Wu Yao teaches a five-session tea program in the back corner of the shop. The two-hour classes cost $50 each (or $230 for all five) and go over the background of tea culture, tea etiquette and different styles of brewing. The classes are tiny (with a max of eight), so take a peek at the Web site to check the upcoming schedule and availability.
Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: Laura Brown