Chicago Tea Garden

Recent Tasting Notes

85

First off, I haven’t been on steepster at all in months! Bad me :<

But today I woke up and decided it was a sticky rice puerh day so I’m baaaaaack :P

Pulled out my last piece of sticky rice pu-erh that was so generously gifted me and stuck it in my new-to-me tea for one set :) http://i58.tinypic.com/34odili.jpg

Preheated both pot and cup (via sitting under the pot) and steeped for 30 seconds. Such a delightful tea…I forgot how light it comes out! Wonderfully earthy and grassy with that sticky rice finish :)

Flavors: Earth, Grass, Rice, Wet Earth

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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89

I loved this tea. It was a new tasting experience. Earthy, citrus, dark, and complex.

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90

This tea was extraordinary. I’ve not been able to find a Golden Bi Luo that compares in taste, freshness, and price.

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85

I usually have fruit for breakfast but this morning I have gone all out and made a good veggie style English breakfast. Two veggie sausages, baked beans, fried chestnut mushrooms, two fried eggs and some toast to mop up the food explosion that is on my plate. Not healthy but it will keep me going until dinner time and with something substantial in my stomach I am free to taste teas for the rest of the day without getting tea belly.

This sample of Golden Bi Luo Chun has been sat with me for just over a year and I don’t know why I was worried about sampling it before, or perhaps I forgot about it. Anyone’s guess is as good as my own. Either way an English breakfast is never complete without a cup of black tea.

The tea balls were nice and reflective and golden but they were also very small, I’ve had larger versions of this before elsewhere. I brewed this while I was cooking so I had a mixture of smells (my bad) but I could pick up silky malt tones.

I love my personaliTEA teapot from Adagio, it’s perfect size for 2 mugs of tea and comes in handy when I have days off.

Once steeped a dark brown liquid is produced that bares a sweet malt and chocolate scent that is light and silky. Very nice.

Flavour is mild but matches the scent very much ie soft, sweet, silky, malt, chocolate tones. Also a little smoky though it’s very subtle and hints of wood. After a few sips I can also taste a mature raisin or plum fruit.

This tea is wonderful and I’m sorry for keeping it on my shelf for so long. It makes the perfect start to my day.

Flavors: Chocolate, Malt, Plums, Raisins, Wood

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 30 sec 3 tsp 7 OZ / 200 ML
whatshesaid

English breakfast, yum!

TeaBrat

sounds good to me!

Terri HarpLady

That sounds like an awesome breakfast! I can’t even imagine that there is anything unhealthy about it!

Tealizzy

Yes! Awesome breakfast!

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90

The sweetness and floral notes make this one of my favorite Oolongs.

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Sip down in that I gave the rest to Ceylon Star since he really liked it. He’ll clearly enjoy it more than I. It was good, but there was always something else that I’d rather drink since I’m not crazy over pu-erh.

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85

Finishing up my second steep of this and felt like it needed a separate review. I can already tell each steep will be quite unique and I’m excited.

Unfortunately for this steep in particular, I let it sit to cool and forgot about it for 2+ hours.

It’s still tasty though. The same notes (earth, compost, rice) are present though it’s more compost and less rice. In addition, while steeping or cooling, it seems to have picked up an edge of smokiness.

Delightful cup. Looking forward to the third steep.

Flavors: Earth

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 45 sec

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85

Thanks to moraiwe I had a small sample of this and finally got around to tasting it.

In fact, I started the day out right all around. Drew a warm bath for myself that I enhanced with green tea and then relaxed in the bath while sipping my pu-erh. Ahhh~ ♥

I once described pu-erh as “compost in the best possible way” and this cup reminds me why. It is wonderfully robust and earthy with the flavor of rice lightly intermingling through the cup – especially in the aftertaste, which is made lighter/less bitter because of it.

This is an amazing morning cup for me not only because of its “wake me up with the smell and taste of nature” properties, which make me a happy witch, but also because of the rice. I’m on a thyroid medication that prevents me from eating for an hour after I wake up. With this tea I can have my rice and drink it too ;)

Will definitely resteep throughout the day.

(Thanks also to Auggy, whose review I referenced when preparing this tea!)

Flavors: Earth

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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86

Got this sample of the 2004 Yue Guang Bai aka Moonlight White, from the tea shop, and, when the moon hits my eye, like a big pizza pie, it’s gaiwan time.
First impression, beautiful mix of green and white leaves. Second impression, nice color, very fruity and sweet, strong ‘hui tian’. The package says mysterious infusion, but I miss out on that one, the sweetness makes it a rather easy and in-your-face drink. On the other hand, quite amazing, one would say they’ve really put some sweet stuff in it. This diversity makes me love tea so much. Next!

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec

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Oh, this is really neat. Thanks, Incendiare!

I made 3 steeps at the same time, so I’m sitting here with a plate containing 3 8oz tea mugs and a brownie cupcake. Yum!

From the smells, I like the second steep better. (I did a 30s rinse, 1 min steep, 1.5min steep, 2 min steep.) It smells of green tea, and sweet sticky rice dessert. The stuff a Filipino coworker made for me once so I could eat something at a company potluck. So. Good.

Now for taste… It is indeed sweet and green, reminiscent of rice pudding that’s been toasted onto the side of the pan. Really quite interesting. I overdid it for the second steep, and prefer the first. The second is going bitter, so I’m going to toss it. Oh boo, the third is going bitter too. (It’s 10:30 pm and I have 3 cups of tea to drink, so I think this is acceptable!)

Let that be a lesson for people who are going to try this. 1:30 and 2:00 are too long for the second and third steeps. Best to be more conservative.

Well, I’m going to drink the first steep, eat my brownie, and try a fourth steep. :)

Courtney

Something about toasty toasty rice pudding just sounds delicious.

OMGsrsly

It makes me want to buy a stone bowl and put rice pudding in it so I get crunchy chewy rice like when I order bibimbap. Don’t know if it would work with anything other than plain rice, though.

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Thanks Incendiare for the sample!
I was a bit nervous about trying it because I’d never had tuocha, but after reading what everyone else did, I feel fairly confident I’m doing this ok.

And wow – it really smells like sticky rice! It does taste as deliver, with the slightest tackiest mouthfeel and a slightly sour aftertaste. This is… unusual? I’m happy I tried it but I don’t know that it’s for me. :P

OMGsrsly

Mine’s sitting out on my counter, waiting for me to try! Kind of excited now that I’ve read how to steep it. :)

Amariel

I liked mine.

Cavocorax

It was interesting! But I don’t know that I’d crave it. :)

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drank Bi Luo Chun by Chicago Tea Garden
956 tasting notes

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71

I think this one is pretty good, but I think it depends on the palate. It does smell just like sticky rice, though in taste, it is mildly pu erh. It is probably one of the lighter pu erh infusions I have had before. I think this could be a really nice tea when you want something with a bit of body, but not overwhelming. This one comes from Incendiare and she has it when we was sick, and I think that is a good time to have it, though for me tonight, it is a cooler night, so it has just the right body and depth.

It is pretty unremarkable in flavour, because it it rather plain, but it is still tasty. I know that sounds contrasting, but I just mean that there isn’t a wow factor, just a nice and simple yum factor..but I don’t think I would go out and buy this for regular use. I wouldn’t mind haveing a few of the tuochas around though, do those rare occasions where I want something simple and tasty like this.

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64

I had one piece from the Traveling Tea Box Pass B, which I think is stuck at the moment! Anyhow, this is a good tea! It smells like sticky rice, and it almost tastes like it too! It is green and crumbly when steeped. I removed the first steep like I usually do with pu-erh, and I drank the next one. I would have done more steeps if I had more time, but I didn’t. It is a mild tasting pu-erh for sure. It is light and brews a pale yellow green color. There is some rice taste to this green pu-erh with slight astringency towards the end of a sip. I am glad to have tried this interesting and new-to-me tea!

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drank Bi Luo Chun by Chicago Tea Garden
956 tasting notes

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85

What? I had this tea ages ago and I thought that I had finished it off and written tasting note. Two surprises: I found a little tuocha today in my collection AND I guess that I haven’t logged this at all.

Puerh and I have an odd relationship — sometimes it’s brilliant and a nice change from my usual cups and sometimes it’s too earthy, dirty, fishy. I never know which to expect, but I usually know right after the water has been added. Giving this cup a sniff, it’s starchy, very much like cooked, dry rice. You know the rice that is a bit dried, but not toasted? That’s what I picture with this tea. I’m surprised that it calls for a 30 second steep time. It’s like dipping your toe in the water, hardly enough time or area for a dip!

Sipping… most of the flavor comes at the very beginning of the sip. I don’t find there to be much substance as the sip fades. It’s reminiscent of rice, but there is something leafy.. almost a little dried & and hay-like in the background. I almost want a little bit more of that starchy, sweetness.. but it is quite yummy the way it is. I’m sad that Chicago Tea Garden isn’t around any more… so I’m going to have to find an alternative supplier of sticky rice tuocha. I could definitely see myself drinking more of this kind of tea in the future.

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drank Zealong Dark by Chicago Tea Garden
1796 tasting notes

I cheated a little bit with this one, but it was totally worth it. I wanted…..NEEDED….tea this morning. Lots and lots of stress – nuff said. I wanted a black or oolong tea and this sample caught my eye. I can not believe I have had it for three years! When I poured the leaves into the pot it looked a little shy of how much I needed so I added quite literally just a few hard little pellets of Zealong Aromatic.

The result was excellent. This may have suffered a bit for aging, I don’t know, but I do know that having a good cuppa shifted a few burdens and lightened the load.

The liquor was very light, but the flavor had lots of body and heft, and there was a floral sweetness running alongside the dark roasted oolong, possibly from the addition of that tiny amount of ZA.

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drank Bi Luo Chun by Chicago Tea Garden
956 tasting notes

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