LINCOLN PARK — A high-quality Germany-based tea merchant is set to open its second shop in the U.S. this weekend.
TeaGschwendner and its 250 blends of tea will host a soft opening Friday afternoon at 557 W. Diversey Parkway and a grand opening all day Saturday.
The company, which was started in the late 1970s in Trier, Germany, has about 150 locations in Germany, shops in Austria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Brazil.
The Lincoln Park location will be the second TeaGschwendner in Chicago, with the first being in the Gold Coast, at 1160 N. State St.
"Recently we are having people come in who want to switch from coffee to tea,"said Agnieszka Rapacz, owner of the Chicago locations. "A lot of people are switching."
All of TeaGschwendner's teas come direct from tea gardens throughout the world and are blended and packed in Germany.
"I always compare our teas like when you go to a car dealer. Our product is Porsche quality," Rapacz said.
Customers will be able to buy quantities anywhere from 100 grams to a full kilo in the shop to take home, or can have one of the 250 blends brewed up on the spot.
One hundred grams start around $6 and can run as high as $76 for a rare tea such as the New Zealand Oolong Loose Leaf.
The staff at TeaGschwendner is highly educated on their blends and teas in general and can help novices who fear the wall of choices.
One employee just returned from a trip to Nepal where she visited a tea garden that works in tandem with the shops.
The company opened its first location in Chicago in 2005 at 1160 N State St. and is viewing the Midwest as a testing ground as tea becomes more popular in the states.
"Chicago especially," Rapacz said. "It's so diverse it helps to analyze the market."