A Small Mecca of Tea in a Coffee World


It’s tough selling tea in a coffee-fueled, ever working environment. Somehow, the husband and wife team behind Dream About Tea managed to do it. Sitting on a sleepy stretch in Evanston, the small shop is a no-frills foray into the world of loose leaf tea.

If anything, Dream About Tea is a refuge from the bustling of school and work, as the owners intended. It’s an abnormally quiet cafe for a college town, except for maybe a couple exclamations from the owners’ daughter. On lazy afternoons customers sit around plain wooden tables playing a game of mahjohng, or reading a book, or learning Chinese.

More than 20 types of tea are displayed at the counter, with specialty teas running up to $6.75 a cup. Most teas, however, are around $2.25 a cup, and served without sugar or cream. These teas are meant to be savoured simply, served in an assortment of mugs reminiscent of every family’s cupboard - mugs with pictures of cats and inspirational messages.

In some ways visiting the store is like visiting the owner’s house; there’s a play area in the back for their kids, Chinese pastries and tea eggs to nibble, and more than a touch of family decorations. And because of the homey vibe and the clattering of mahjohng tablets, the tea store is the perfect setting to get some reading or real work done. After all, there isn’t any Internet.