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Touring Downtown WIFI: siptea

By Ed Fuentes
Published: Wednesday, December 03, 2008, at 05:42PM
sip tea Ed Fuentes

New teahouse siptea is so particular about its product that owner Laura Stewart refuses to serve coffee for fear that the overpowering aroma would drown out the experience of the organic teas.

The shop is also a great place to get some work done, featuring WIFI and available power for those seeking out a serene setting for productivity. If you find yourself stumped writing that email, you can get some added inspiration by looking out the front window to the turquoise terra cotta Eastern Columbia Building, located across the street.

Or you can have some more tea.

Stewart is such a purist in her private tea-dom, she admits she's becoming the tea version of Seinfeld’s Soup Nazi. “No tea balls for you!,” she will say with a smile when people ask for them, explaining that tea stuffed in a ball is too compacted to steep correctly. Fortunately, Stewart does have a small collection of tea-pots to sell for gifts.

OVERALL PROS: Good light and soft music fill the space built for lounging, and two strategic outlets are placed apart from each other. No password is needed for the connection, and if you take in a large pot of tea, and its not busy, the staff doesn’t mind if you linger a bit. Stewart says power strips can be available if the demand for more outlets increases.

OVERALL CONS: Not many cons, unless I become fussy about price. But even so, when you have a fresh iced tea their way, it’s worth it.

NO COFFEE FOR YOU: Don’t even go there. And don’t even think you will see a tea bag. It’s all organic loose tea, thank you very much, and the selection would take an completely separate story.

THE WILD CARD: A good time to try out siptea is this weekend. On December 6, the shop will be hosting artists selling organic clothing, gifts, stationary, art and jewelry from 11am to 6pm. The vendors range from XB’S T’S, Swamp Pink to Tupperware and Kate Holland Jewelry.

If you've visited before, note that siptea has been playing with its hours. The teahouse is open Tuesday to Friday from 10am to 8pm, and on Saturday through Sunday from 11am to 6pm. It's closed Mondays.

siptea / 852 S. Broadway / 213-622-8007


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