There are easily a dozen places to buy tea on the University of Michigan campus, but my favorite is Lab. Located on East Liberty across from Dawntreader, Lab is a very posh coffee shop and student hangout. However, they’re also hands down the best at preparing tea. Lab buys from exciting vendors, though never has more than ten or twelve available at a time and prepares each tea to perfection.
Today I’m drinking their Rose Melange White Tea, which is a very lovely wild rose, jasmine with peppermint and lavender. The consistency is definitely that of a delicate white tea, though usually when white tea is made from jasmine it has a much stringent unrefined quality. Rose is the strongest note, followed by peppermint and finally jasmine. The aroma is all peppermint and it has slightly darker than you’d expect color. Rose Melange is a wonderful tea that I was able to pay for out-of-pocket change.
I should note that East Liberty will soon be getting a Sweetwater’s Coffee and Tea house (basically just across the street in the sliced up former Border’s property at 604) and I’m afraid it’ll create a climate of unfair competition as they also serve a similar menu. But where Sweetwater’s established with a four other locations in town, Lab is still a new venture and I’d really hate to see them go away. It’s frustrating because I do like Sweetwater’s and I would buy from them as well, though probably not every day.