More than one million pounds of tea are consumed daily by Americans, which got me thinking about Winston-Salem: I know it’s not as popular as coffee, but where’s the best spot to get a cup of tea?
Admittedly, I’m only a tea drinker, and with so many different types of tea options available — preparation, flavors, ingredients — I set out across the Twin City to explore the beverages’ versatility and availability. Luckily, there are many tea options for buying and dining throughout Winston-Salem.
Our journey starts off Stratford Road at an establishment going on its 14th year of business. Angelina’s Teas sell numerous blends of teas, china sets, and even pottery by local High Point potters Bruce and Sandy Bohom. The store is owned by Michael Dibbert, who named the store after his daughter after relocating from Nebraska as a baker. After two years and a lot of research, he decided to open his own tea shop.
“Most people buy what they know and grew up with. So, Earl Grey and English breakfast are my best sellers,” says Dibbert, who has paid close attention to tea trends. “But as the years have passed, more of the high-end whites, greens, and oolongs have begun to sell very well.”
Teas have seen a spike in popularity thanks to pop culture icons and the overall health benefits, of which there are many.
“Pu-erh helps lower cholesterol and helps with digestion. Oolong teas help with skin conditions like psoriasis, dermatitis, and weight loss,” Dibbert says. “White and green teas are high in antioxidants and help prevent cancer, and help at a small level [with] controlling blood sugar levels. Hibiscus tea helps with blood pressure and is high in vitamin C.”
Today, several local restaurants serve Angelina’s Teas, so if you are looking for a dine-in experience with a cup of tea, you don’t have to look far.
“Krankies, Ardmore Coffee, Camel City Coffee, Mary’s Gourmet Diner, and The Factory Coffeehouse & Deli shop in Mocksville all use Angelina’s Teas,” Dibbert says. “Some even have their own special blends that I make for them.”
But downtown, a tea lover’s haven awaits at 6th & Vine. Their ‘Cuppa Love Teas’ menu includes four delicious teas with clever names: The ‘WS Green Tea Blend’ is an organic genmaicha green tea with coconut flakes, lime peel, and spearmint. Another locally named tea is the ‘Piedmont Triad.’ It’s caffeine free and includes spearmint, peppermint, and lemon balm. ‘Rose Citrus Hibiscus’ is a wonderful blend of organic rooibos and hibiscus with rose buds and petals, and orange and lemon peels. Meanwhile, ‘Petals Please’ includes pink rose buds and petals, chamomile, and lavender.
For those who enjoy little pops of fun in their tea, boba or bubble tea has also gained popularity. This flavored milk tea originated from Taiwan during the 1980s and features chewy, sweet tapioca balls, aka boba or bubbles. Some folks go out of their way to get this specialty tea, like Josh Carlin and his family when they make a visit to Rena Marie’s Coffees & Bubble Tea.
“My kids and I love this place,” he says in a Facebook review of the café. “Anytime we’re in the area we have to stop by and get bubble tea. The people there are always so friendly.”
Café Gelato also sells boba tea at both of their locations, and menu items include Fruit Tea, Infusion Tea, Boba Floats, and Boba Blends.
The Flour Box Tea Room and Café, located at the Henry F. Shaffner House off Marshall Street, offers full English-style tea services. Reservations are strongly encouraged and are required on Sundays. They do require a 48-hour notice for any special dietary restrictions, such as gluten free.
Lastly, another well-known alternative to coffee is chai, and no one does it better than Chad’s Chai. The business specializes oxidized and fermented black tea leaves that are then combine with a mixture of various spices and herbs.
So, where will you join us for tea time?