Hotspot: ExtraSpecialTeas a calm spot for a cup of tea

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The details: ExtraSpecialTeas, 2 Elm St. Great Barrington, 413-645-3247. Open 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Monday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Friday-Sunday.



Recipe for success: During the height of a busy fall weekend in the Berkshires, it's nice to find a spot off the beaten path to take a minute to unwind, and, at the same time, go to a place where your dollars will make an impact. The brightly adorned tea house is located in a small space that resembles a home. Brightly colored throw pillows and tapestries decorate the space and an outdoor garden, where shaded seating helps you forget you are close to downtown. This sweet little tea shop is also a nonprofit that empowers, and employees, young adults with special needs as servers, cashiers and craft makers. The friendly staff members were helpful in navigating the expansive two-sided menu. Open over a year, ExtraSpecialTeas offers a regular day program, group employment program, art therapy and more.



What we can't get enough of: If you are tea connoisseur, you'll be pleased with their options. Their lead tea partner Tiesta Tea, offers classics such as Chinese Gunpowder and Victorian Earl Grey, as well as imaginative blends such as Kokomate (green yerba mate, rooibos, coconut shreds and cinnamon) and Pomegranatopia (apple pieces, white tea, raspberries, strawberry, cornflowers, rose petals, safflowers and marigolds). I went with a hot cup of No. 6 Depot's Witches Blend (hibiscus, blackberry leaves, orange peels, apples and sunflower), for $2.50, and my friend, who wasn't ready for a hot beverage, built his own honeydew bubble tea for $3.50. You can find an array of sweet treats if you are looking for more than tea, and everything is gluten free. Reasonable prices and a friendly atmosphere make this a hotspot of a different kind. ExtraSpecialTeas is a special place to catch your breath.



— Stephanie Gravalese, Special to The Eagle


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