Iced tea used to consist of the basics: Lipton, sugar, and a squeeze of lemon. But in recent years, it’s become big business—big enough that Tazo Tea now operates under the Starbucks umbrella, and, as of last spring, McDonald’s began serving Southern-style sweet tea at all of its U.S. locations. In Denver, we’ve got a handful of tea shops putting their own spin on the refreshing sip. Here, four to cool off with.
Wystone’s World Tea
At this bustling Belmar cafe, even chef Mark Kalix’s dishes get boosts of tea. For drinking, though, we recommend the smooth and creamy soy matcha latte. Matcha (which is traditionally used in Japanese tea ceremonies) is a fine green-tea powder, and in this beverage it tastes like green-tea ice cream. The bonus is the wallop of antioxidants that comes with every serving. 7323 W. Alaska Drive, Lakewood, 303-663-5775, www.wystonestea.com
In-Tea’s 120-plus varieties of loose-leaf can be more than intimidating—even for a tea lover. But answer owner Carole Bright-Alvarez’s series of personal taste questions and she’ll “fit” you to a tea—or five. (We ended up loving the pineapple-mango, a summery black tea blend.) Ask for your selection iced and add boba (those squishy little tapioca pearls) for a revitalizing twist. 8174 S. Kipling Parkway, #170, Littleton, 720-981-2512, www.in-tea.net
Crema Coffee House
While not solely a tea shop (in fact, Crema exists primarily to showcase the art of coffee making), Noah Price’s establishment infuses iced black, green, or white tea with freshly juiced fruit such as pear, pineapple, or strawberry, along with herbs like mint or ginger. Don’t miss the cool strawberry and basil. 2862 Larimer St., Unit B, 720-235-2995, www.cremacoffeehouse.net
Don’t be deterred by the road construction that makes getting to this Broadway shop difficult. The serenity of Capital Tea’s smart, cozy space is more than worth the trip—especially when you order a C Tea Fizz. This reviving sparkler combines brewed whole-leaf black tea, flavored syrup (try the blackberry), and a splash of Perrier. 1450 S. Broadway, 303-777-2255, www.captea.com