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Hot, iced or bubble: 10 places to get a cup of tea in Charlotte—plus a bonus

The Charlotte Observer archives
The Ballantyne Hotel
The Charlotte Observer archives The Ballantyne Hotel

A good cup of tea can take many forms:

  • a chai latte to go on the way into the office in the morning;
  • a pitcher of freshly-brewed iced tea shared with friends on the front porch in the afternoon; or
  • a soothing cup of warm chamomile before bed.

Tea can wake you up, help put you to sleep or simply quench your thirst on a hot summer day. No matter how you like it, tea is a universally loved beverage.

Wendy Favreau opened Unwind Tea & Coffee House in Pineville after moving here six years ago and struggling to find places with large selections of tea. She has since noticed the experience of drinking tea sparks connections and community within her shop.  

“There were people who would come in, and they would bring a friend, and then those people would meet a friend,” she said. “Tea brings people together. It is good for the body, good for the heart and good for the soul.”

If you are wishing you were holding a cup right now while reading this, here’s your guide to 10 local spots to experience flavors and cultures of tea from around the world: 

(1) Abugida Ethiopian Cafe

3007 Central Ave.

Stop by Abugida Ethiopian cafe for a cup of Ethiopean tea. Served hot or iced, the unique blend of ginger, cardamom and cinnamon will be a great accompaniment to your Ethiopian food or enjoyed on its own for a healthy and sugar-free treat. 

(2) The Ballantyne Hotel

10000 Ballantyne Commons Parkway

The Ballantyne Hotel offers a British afternoon tea with a southern twist from 1-4 p.m. Thursday through Sunday. For $42, you get a tea experience complete with tea sandwiches, scones, gourmet cakes and tarts that will make you feel like you are on the set of Downton Abbey. Upgrade to the Royal Afternoon Tea for an extra $16 and get a glass of Moet & Chandon Imperial Champagne with your tea service. 

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(3) Coppa Coffee and Tea

3611 Mt. Holly-Huntersville Rd., Suite 201 or 4400 Sharon Rd.

This organic and free trade cafe has a large selection of loose leaf gourmet black and green teas. A percentage of your purchase will go to a local charity, as part of Coppa Coffee’s mission to give back to the community. 

(4) Chantilly’s Tea Room and Restaurant

1003 Union Rd., Gastonia 

Chantilly’s offers guests a charming tea experience in a quaint historic home. Get a large pot of tea for the table to accompany a selection of soups, sandwiches and scratch-made bakery treats. 

(5) Okra

1912 Commonwealth Ave.

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This quaint Plaza Midwood yoga studio also features a tea room in its lobby with a variety of herbal, ayurvedic and chai loose leaf teas. For a caffeinated kick, try one of five flavored yerba mate teas. 

(6) Queen City Grounds

644 N. Church St.

Conveniently located uptown in Fourth Ward, Queen City Grounds has a variety of unique tea lattes including a matcha latte, a black tea latte and a green tea latte. Try the golden chai latte for a unique infusion of chai tea and turmeric. 

(7) QC Tea Bar

3615 Whitehall Park Drive

This south Charlotte gem has a great selection of green, oolong and black teas. Try kumquat green tea for a twist on a standard classic. QC tea bar also offers 19 flavors of milk tea, which is iced tea served with milk. These flavors include flavors like rose, honeydew and traditional thai milk tea.

(8) Tea Fusion Cafe

440 E McCullough Dr., #116 

Tea fusion cafe features a wide variety of refreshing and creative tea-inspired beverages, such as bubble tea, a cold milk tea with tapioca “bubbles” that can be sucked up through a wide straw, and a Mason Jar Refresher — a mason jar filled with a blend of tea, juice, fresh fruit and chia seeds.

(9) Trade & Lore

3306 N Davidson St. or 933 Louise Ave.

Photo by Jillian Mueller<br>Lavender tea at Trade & Lore

Any of Trade and Lore’s loose-leaf tea blends can be made into a delicious latte. The tumeric-ginger tea latte with oat milk is a spicy delight with anti-inflammatory benefits, and the chai tea blend is mixed in-house, making it a unique treat. 

(10) Unwind Tea and Coffee

333 Main St., Pineville

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Unwind Tea and Coffee sells loose leaf tea by the ounce, so you can have your favorites freshly brewed at home or be adventurous and blend your own flavors. The walls of this shop are lined with jars of teas consisting of 100 flavors of dried leaves, flowers and fruits, each with unique flavor profile and health benefits. You can also grab a cup to enjoy in the store. 

Honorable Mention: Teas of the British Isles

3500 Shamrock Drive

On Sunday, the Charlotte Museum of History will kick off its Teas of the British Isles series. In this four-lecture series, held on the last Sunday of every month, CPCC history professor and Brit Hugh Dussek will give a lecture on history, culture and etiquette while attendants enjoy delicious teas.

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The first event centers on the foundations of liberty, and guests are encouraged to sport their most patriotic red, white and blue attire. Other topics include Agatha Christie and Hercule Poirot, Downton Abbey and the Scotts-Irish of the Back County. 

What’s your favorite place to get a good cup of tea, and what do you typically order? Let us know in the comments.