Since its inception in 1999, Adagio Teas has filled the cups of its ever-growing customer base with farm-fresh gourmet teas harvested from across the globe. Seasoned sippers and new tea drinkers alike gather around the fragrant vapors of Adagio's expansive selection, which includes thousands of unique green, chai, and herbal teas. In addition to its stockpile of potables, Adagio Teas puts an innovative spin on tea ware with a varied collection of ceramic sets, Asian-inspired pots, and electric kettles that purr when plugged in or tickled gently with unused leaves. Adagio Teas' products fill the virtual shelves of its online store, and can also be found in many gourmet and health-food shops.
The result of a variety of visits to Italy by two childhood friends sharing an intense love of coffee, Blanell Coffee was brewed on a hotplate of passion to deliver American audiences fine Italian coffees and accessories. The distributor dispenses coffees from brands such as Lucaffe, Pellini, Passalacqua, and New York Caffe. These brands cater to coffee connoisseurs that prefer espresso pods, pre-ground batches, grinding their own beans with their shaking teeth. To brighten drinks with flavors such as passion fruit, almond, and amaretto, Blanell Coffee also purveys syrups from Monin—a century-old French company.
When faced with lemons—or many other fruits—the proprietors of Oh, Olive! don't contemplate lemonade. Instead, they envision freshly pressed batches of extra-virgin olive oil, such as their tangy Eureka-lemon variant. The family-run shops specialize in this flexible condiment and stock their shelves with estate-produced Delizia oils. Their catalog covers both plain and fused types with flavors that range from the spicy notes of chipotle peppers to the sweetness of blood oranges, a fitting complement to cuts of chicken and fish. They also vend balsamic vinegars from Modena, Italy. Fruits feature heavily in the imported collection, which includes pomegranate, blackberry-ginger, and cinnamon-pear vinegars in addition to a dark-chocolate infusion and the 18-year balsamic—a traditional vinegar aged in oak barrels and given a high-school diploma.
Often, the staff members don't separate the acts of purchasing and cooking with their wares. They prefer to interact with customers and host tastings, classes, and contests to encourage innovative recipes. Amid more than 60 kinds of oil and vinegar, Oh, Olive! sells meal add-ons as well. Tiesta Tea produces soothing, toasty brews, and stuffed olives contain hidden servings of jalapeños, sharp cheddar, and asparagus.
At Go Chicago Golf, group and private indoor lessons are available year-round so students can hone their craft even in winter's foulest depths. Players take most of their lessons in front of a projection screen that simulates a sunny day out on the links. They can play their choice of 9 or 18 holes on a 100- or 300-yard practice course, or, if they fear spending another 20 years trapped in an arcade game, practice on the learning center's nonvirtual targets. Students can also use an onsite video-analysis room to objectively check their swings and postures.
In the city, coffee shops tend to thrive so much that guests often have to circle the seating area like airplanes until a seat opens up. Coffee Planet tries to bring the appeal of city cafes to its family-owned suburban location in Rolling Meadows, which features a fireplace, couches, and board games, but without the seating backlog. Even the name of its beans smack of urbanity: Metropolis Coffees get brewed in the traditional manner or poured over into cups, dripping slowly into a hot mug and thawing the palate after a stressful morning or a snowcone binge. The coffee comes in a variety of options, including a Guatemalan and Honduran mix. But the baristas can appeal to other tastes, too, by brewing Rishi Teas or hand-crafting espressos.