Beans from Chicago-based Intelligentsia Coffee & Tea are so adored that the latter often plays second fiddle and is overlooked despite the tea's excellent quality. In an effort to showcase and increase awareness of their diverse tea offerings, this past April, Intelligentsia Coffee (with a new shortened name) launched a separate brand called Kilogram Tea, which now hosts all their tea-related products. Longtime Intelligentsia tea-buyer Doug Palas continues to hold the same dedication to sustainability, taste and freshness for Kilogram; the biggest change is the message and context—tea isn't a lesser alternative to coffee, but has a story that's just as compelling.
The new bright, contemporary packaging has a practical purpose, with each of the five colors corresponding to a different tea variety (black, green, white, oolong or herbal). The majority of Kilogram's tea is organically certified, and available in both loose-leaf and teabags to suit drinkers's preferences. The pyramid shaped tea bags are larger than standard ones, allowing plenty of room for the leaves to unfurl and steep to their full potential. The range of teas that Kilogram offers is impressive; from traditional Organic Earl Grey to Organic Golden Needles, black tea sourced from Yunnan, China.
While freshly boiled tea may not be a go-to during these hot summer months, Kilogram offers iced tea options such as their Organic Lemongrass Melange, which we found to be refreshing without being sweet. If you're seeking natural tartness, try the King Crimson tisane—the caffeine-free herbal blend of hibiscus, citrus and lemongrass resembles potpourri, is incredibly fragrant and transforms the water into a bewitching shade of ruby red. The Chai Tea concentrate is another great warm weather option.
A two ounce box of tea at Kilogram starts at $8. See the full Kilogram tea range at Intelligentsia Coffee.
Images by Nara Shin