Steamy or iced, chai or green, bottled or not: Tea is hot, and getting hotter. Tea drinkers can be as passionate and picky about their drink of choice as the most snobby oenophile is about her wine. There are more and more choices. And annual tea sales in the United States have jumped from nearly $2 billion in 1990 to $5.5 billion last year, says Joseph Simrany, president of Tea Association of the USA Inc.
What you'll see in restaurants
Chefs across the country are weaving tea into signature dishes and specialty drinks. Munch on tea-smoked chicken at New York Citys Yumcha (“drink tea” in Cantonese), or sip green-tea martinis infused with pear at Jack Falstaff in San Francisco. And the first green-tea liqueur—Zen—hit the U.S. market this summer and is being served up in hot spots like New York's Sushi Samba.