Chicago Tea Garden

Recent Tasting Notes

76

Brewed this in a gaiwan. It’s amazing how much it really does smell and taste like sticky rice. The first steeping was a bit too astringent but all of the other ones (I think I must have done around 6 or so) were very nice.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 30 sec

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100

A new tea vendor selling a time-honored tea. My humans had the honor of trying it out awhile ago. http://bit.ly/a6wgcR

Preparation
Boiling 1 min, 0 sec
Lori

I tried this one as well. But it seemed VERY MILD

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95
drank Golden Bi Luo by Chicago Tea Garden
328 tasting notes

I have grown to really appreciate this tea. This holds up well to multiple infusions – which is quite convenient at work using Puritea’s personal tea kettle. It is warm and toasty. Cannot get bitter even if you let it steep to long. No need for sugar. When I first tried this one, I did not use enough tea leaves to water, and the tea tasted too mild. Now that I have mastered the steeping parameters, I really like this one. So I am upping the rating and am considering a purchase!

LauraR

What are your brewing parameters with this one?

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95
drank Golden Bi Luo by Chicago Tea Garden
328 tasting notes

Another $3 sample (including shipping)from the Chicago Tea Garden. The tea is EXACTLY like the photo with tightly coiled golden balls. I followed the recommended steeping times of 1 minute for the first infusion. This was a very mild black tea- no need to add milk to this one. There was no astringency and only a mild malty flavor was present. The vendor suggested that 8 infusions would be possible- after about 4 infusions, the taste faded for me.

As this tea is so mild, this tea would be perfect for someone who is not a fan of black teas. Personally, I prefer a punchier tea but I can certainly appreciate this tea’s quality…

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85

This vendor offers a great deal on samples. For $3 bucks including shipping- you get a sample of tea. So I was pretty suprised when I opened my package and received a small orange filled with pu-erh tea – all for $3. Warning – the orange was a bit moldy-well the orange and the tea have been sitting in a cave since at least 2005…

Onto the tasting- this was my first pu-erh. I rinsed the leaves first and steeped for 30 seconds as recommended by the vendor. Suprisingly, this tea is mild w/only a subtle (and I mean subtle) orange flavor. The earthiness is very slight and no bitterness. Also, suprising, is that no sweetener is needed for this tea (and I love my sugar in tea). The orange flavor was more sweet and did not have the usual tang associated with citrus…

According to the vendor, this tea is good for multiple steepings. Next time, I am going to try a longer steeping time to get the more traditional earthy flavor expected from a typical pu-erh. Unsure if I am going to purchase a larger amount but I am definitely pleased and am looking forward to trying more pu-erhs…

__Morgana__

Sounds cool — orange filled with tea!

malomorgen

looks like i should find some puehr’s that aren’t shipped directly from china :D

Lori

Definitely different and aged in the US….

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94

First tea of the day for me. I really like this tea, it’s a rich black tea and a bit creamy with vanilla tones mixed in. I like this a lot.

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69

Steep Information:
Amount: 1 nest ~4.6g
Water: ~16 oz
Tool: ceramic Tea Forte solstice teapot
Steep Time: a little over 1 minute
Served: Hot

Tasting Notes:
Dry Leaf Smell: rice
Steeped Tea Smell: rice
Flavor: bitter, astringent, rice, green tea
Body: Medium
Aftertaste: bitter green tea
Liquor: translucent yellow-green

As an aside this online shop has amazing customer service, packaging, and products. I highly recommend them.

MilitiaJim appreciates that it is what it says, rice tea.

I started with a quick rinse steep to loosen everything up. As the nest unfurled the leaves were smaller than I expected. I ended up needed to strain the tea as I poured into my cup.

I think I was not patient enough in letting the water cool from a boil, or 1 minute was too long to steep the leaves as it was bitter. I could both smell and taste the rice.

I’m intrigued and can’t wait to try this tea again later, I am still new to pu-erh teas so the whole rinse and tiny steep concept is difficult for me to time correctly. To add trouble I also always over heat my whites and greens!

Post-Steep Additives: none

Resteep: same as the first in preparation and taste

This gets extra points just for being different and fun.

Images: http://amazonv.blogspot.com/2010/04/chicago-tea-garden-tuocha-green-pu-erh.html

Preparation
1 min, 0 sec
Alex Seasock

Hey, AmazonV. I just had a quick couple of questions regarding Pu-Erhs in general, as I am quite new to them. Did you pick the tuocha apart before steeping? I heard you are also supposed to “rinse” the leaves. Does this mean first rinsing the dust and such off (as some cakes, tuochas, and bricks may be of a very old vintage), or should one just plop the tea right in the cup? Thanks!

AmazonV

Hey Alex – no i don’t pick apart the litte touchas as they are for single servings, cakes need to be pried apart with a knife (i think there are good youtube videos on this)

some people rinse (steep fast and throw out) the tea first to get rid of dust and such, just pour in the water to the pot as if steeping, swirl around, then right into the sink (only a second or so) you don’t have to though if you don’t want to (don’t just rinse it in the sink, you might end up loosing leaves, use your strainer or teapot or gaiwan)

AmazonV

you’ll notice the toucha coming apart the more you steep, these steep many times, until it looks like loose leaf wiht no help needed

Alex Seasock

Great! Thanks!

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63

Infusion is a pretty copper color—not as dark nor as opaque as I would expect from a pu-erh. Substantial and full-bodied, earthy with fleeting orange notes. This could grow on me—

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 30 sec

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100

My humans felt so honored to be included in group that got to preview this tea. (No, they aren’t “buds” with the owner, just loud-mouthed tweeters who doubted that a tea could be steeped in 30 seconds). http://bit.ly/dCjcEC

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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99

Wow—just wow! If one needs proof that tea can be an amazing experience, this is it. This is the best oolong I have tried—beautifully floral, sweet, complex—wow!

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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4

Steep Information:
Amount: 1 tsp
Additives: none
Water: 6 ounces boiling
Tool: Mesh basket strainer in cup
Served: Hot

Tasting Notes:
Dry Leaf Smell: leafy, muddy

Steep Time: a little over 30 seconds
Steeped Tea Smell: leaves
Flavor: muddy
Body: Medium
Liquor: translucent orange brown

Tossed, I guess this counts as the rinse

Steep Time: a little over 30 seconds
Steeped Tea Smell: sweet, leaves
Flavor: muddy, sweet, silky
Body: Medium
Liquor: translucent orange brown

Steep Time: a little over 45 seconds
Steeped Tea Smell: sweet, leaves
Flavor: muddy, sweet, silky
Body: Medium
Liquor: translucent brown with an orange hint

Steep Time: a little over 45 seconds
Steeped Tea Smell: sweet, leaves
Flavor: muddy, sweet, silky, bitter
Body: Medium
Liquor: translucent light orange-brown

Since it got bitter I stopped.

I think next time I may try 2 tsp / 6 ounces. Perhaps this will raise the rating?

I am very new to pu-erh so I’m finding may way through. I may end up not liking it. So I am not sure if I do or do not like pu-erh in general, or even if I prepared these leaves correctly.

Images: http://amazonv.blogspot.com/2010/03/chicago-tea-garden-loose-leaf-pu-erh.html

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 30 sec
RMC

For someone who was new to pu-erhs, you chose one that wasn’t for beginners. I respectfully disagree with the rating you gave this tea. This tea isn’t for everybody and requires a very refined palette or some experience with the gamut of ripe and raw pu-erhs. Peace.

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93

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93

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93

Prepared with the recommended short steeps—1 min., 1 min., 1.5 min., 1.5 min., etc. Very fresh, creamy, definite sweet, vanilla notes. About the 3rd steep, a toasty nuttiness emerges. Tea remains smooth throughout—a very good anytime cup.

Preparation
Boiling 1 min, 0 sec

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88

This was an unusual find but I actually quite liked it. It was smooth and mellow with just a hint of a citrus aftertaste. My boyfriend even liked it and he sweetens everything he drinks :p

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 30 sec
LissaMarie

Just tried this the other day. I really enjoyed it and I usually don’t ‘love’ pu-erhs, but maybe I just haven’t tried the right pu-erhs.

Cofftea

LissaMarie, what kind have you tried? Cooked? Raw? Amber?

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96

I followed the steeping/resteeping suggestions: 1 tsp./6oz. 1. 1 min.—very pale greeny-yellow tea. Sweet aroma with undernote of something more toasty, almost roasted spice. Light flavor with starchy finish. Wet leaves smelled like almond cookies. 2. 1 min—something in the aroma I can’t quite identify, cardamom-like maybe. Not overly vegetal but in a good way. 3. 1 1/2 min.—very light flavor with a glaze of sweet spice. 4. 1 3/4 min.—floral aroma!! Starchy with a hint of sweetness.

Overall, I found this one of the most interesting, complex green teas I have tried. I liked the spicy surprises and the fact that the vegetal notes were there but subdued to allow other elements to come forward. I want more of this tea!

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 0 sec
Earth & Water Tea Lounge

Thanks for posting the brewing recommendation you received – they helped me capture the subtleties and overall delicious flavor I knew this tea must have.

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79

Amazing! I am not a Pu-erh person, as this is only my third try. I really liked this – very smooth, very pleasant, with a nice bit of orange. Earthy like the good clean dirt of a forest fllor. May be a hint of pine.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 30 sec

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