Great places for refreshing beverages in The Berkshires
Chai, papaya, chocolate, coriander—tiramisu—iced tea can blend endless and unexpected tastes. Extra Special Teas on Elm Street in Great Barrington serves more than 50 flavors, and any of them can be iced or served as bubble tea.
“We’ve been called the ice cream shop of teas,” says co-founder Cherri Sanes. Some of their flavors come locally from No. 6 Depot in West Stockbridge, and they carry Fair Trade organic teas by Little Red Cup in Maine, and a riot of flavors from Tiesta Tea in Chicago, a company known for supporting local and global community efforts.
Sanes and her husband, Scott, founded the tea shop as a nonprofit, inspired by their son, Jache, who works with them. Jache is on the autism spectrum, and they have 12 people on their staff with special needs. Some work behind the counter, some help to make tea-infused candles and soaps, and all enjoy tending the garden where mint and chamomile grow.
Great Barrington offers more hotspots on Railroad Street for a cool drink, including Botanica, and ELIXIR serves loose-leaf teas, and morning and afternoon teatimes. Pleasant and Main in Housatonic serves homemade iced tea and Arnold Palmers. And as it gets warmer, many coffee shops serve rotating flavors of black and herbal iced teas, from hibiscus to English breakfast, including Dottie’s in Pittsfield, the Store at Five Corners in Williamstown, and Tunnel City Coffee in Williamstown and North Adams.