Attention all tea drinkers, a flavorful new tea bar is coming to Andersonville.
What separates Eli Tea is it isn’t branded as a tea shop but rather as a tea bar. It plans to be a popular location for people under 21, those who have battled with different forms of addiction and the “sober-curious” crowd who may be doing it for health reasons.
Founder Elias Majid started Eli Tea Bar while in graduate school back in 2011. Now, Majid is bringing his tea concoctions back to Chicago.
Majid was co-president of the gardening club at Loyola — which he cites as one of the main inspirations for starting his company — where he created a tea blend along with his fellow club members called Loyaltea, a chamomile and lemongrass blend.
Now, Majid has expanded to brewing up much more than just lemongrass tea, featuring an array of loose-leaf tea, tea lattes, cheese tea and bubble tea.
“Bubble tea is huge now,” Majid said. “And our bubble tea is completely different. We use in-house tea concentrates, we can add milk of your choice […] we’re very plant milk friendly.”
While a Loyola undergrad, Majid studied biology and was involved in some of the early stages of urban gardening courses, as well as doing research as a Provost and Mulcahey scholar.
“My research was focused on native and edible plants of the Great Lakes region,” Majid said. “I also mapped out all the edible plants on campus.”
Now, his company sources from all over the world as well as domestically in the U.S.
They source mint from Oregon, lavender from Colorado and cherries from Michigan.
“Seasonally, we’ve worked with different urban gardens for more niche ingredients,” Majid said.
He has been conscious to create a “homestyle and healthy” brand that reflects the modern American consumer. Eli Tea doesn’t use any high fructose corn syrups or artificial colors. When they do use colors, Majid said they’re “pretty much entirely plant-based” — for example, they’ll use butterfly pea flowers for a vibrant blue color. For sweetness, they’ll use cane sugar, stevia, splenda or honey rather than artificial flavors.
“That definitely distinguishes us from other bubble tea shops,” Majid said. “You know we’re trying to make the product an everyday product that you want to order. Something that’s high on caffeine, high in antioxidants, and something healthy.”
“We are very focused on the atmosphere and that’s why we brand it as a tea bar rather than just a tea shop,” Majid said.
The new location will be open until 11 p.m. on the weekends, with plans to expand to midnight everyday by next summer. Majid plans to have six chess tables and a board game wall, as well as events such as tea tastings. There will also be a mini stage in the back for programming planned.
Eli Tea Bar opens Dec. 4.