Chicago Tea Garden

Recent Tasting Notes

I got my sample in, so here’s my notes and thoughts. The initial smell is a mix between okra still on the branch and super glue. I’m not going to lie, the smell of the leaves and first steep made me want to vomit. The initial taste also made me want to vomit (sorry… I know), but I also don’t like “green foods”. Because of the reviews, I couldn’t give it up… I wanted to see where it’d take me. The first steep was gross, and I hated every moment of it, so I’ll just skip to the second steep (third including the wash) for the review. So from here on, I’m going to forget everything else about the tea and pretend it’s my first sip ;)…

The following is a composite break-down of one sip

Initial: Very thin… crisp. This is far from bold in every way. Don’t take this the wrong way- it’s still VERY flavorful. I would say that if I had to name any faults in the initial taste it’d be that it’s TOO fresh (is this actually possible!?)… but it may be that it’s just not oxidized to my preference.

Apex: I feel the apex is a bit anticlimactic. Did I say anticlimactic? I think I meant that the “Initial” taste was so “in your face” that it can only go down-hill. There is a buttery taste that parabolas itself into the picture. It’s a welcome addition to the flavor.

Lingering Taste: The oddest thing happens right here. The flavors seem to split up. The low-notes are a very obvious oolong that’s VERY pleasant. The high-notes are something I’d compare to a wad of grass and is repulsive. With these combined tastes you have this weird effect of a pretty descent and unusual linger. One part of me really does want to say it taste bad, but with the good? I just can’t. It’s like walking on a very very scary trail on a stormy day… surrounded by bare shaking trees with the wind howling and random animal sounds in the distance…….. but then out of nowhere a beam of light breaks through the clouds and lights up the most beautiful flower you’ve ever seen- for this split moment you forget about everything else…. it’s so beautiful and you want that moment to last forever. Yeah it’s a lot like that lol.

Final Exhale: Right back to square one. Sweet green okra smell and taste. It’s a nonchalant reminder of the loves and hates that I just experienced.

I can’t deny that this is the most unusual tea that I’ve ever tasted. It’s epic in a literal sense, and I can’t say that I enjoy it or hate it or anything. It’s almost an experience really… like reading a story. I wish I could say that I hate it so I’d never have to taste some of it’s notes again, but I also want to say that I love it more than any other tea because of the wonderful notes it showed me. I don’t feel like I should rate it based on everything I’ve tasted… if I did it’d be about half way because I’d want to rate it a 100 and a 1 at the same time lol. Take that how you want. I do think that being a supertaster has drastically affected my thoughts on the sweeter greener high-notes, so if you like green foods and teas, then I’d definitely recommend this tea in a heartbeat.

Outside of flavor and aroma, I feel I should comment on the quality. These leaves are TOP-NOTCH. They opened up at least 500% of the initial size with no loose stems or dust. I made this tea in my 4oz yixing and had absolutely no rogue dust or particles- I think that says a lot.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 30 sec
SunnyinNY

Wonks, I love reading truly honest reviews. Thanks for this one. I really admire your writing style too. Very well thought out.

Wonks

Thanks Sunny. I’m actually terrible at writing, so I think that I over-compensate in these notes lol.

ScottTeaMan

Tea loos very high quality & delicious! Great review.

Tony Gebely

thanks for this bad-ass post on my tea Wonks!

Wonks

No problem Tony! I have high expectations from your company now so I can’t wait to order some more varieties from you ;).

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I just couldn’t get my sample tuocha to work for me. I rinsed the leaves and then played with infusion times for three infusions but it was either very light and dull or bitter. The jasmine was nice and I think this might have potential, so I’m glad I have more to try with. I think I need to try working on my pu-erh appreciation, though. This felt odd and briney when it hit my mouth for the first time. My interest is peaked again, though, and I have a few different pu-erhs to try out.

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Of all the delicate, champagne-y colored oolongs I’ve tried, this is by far the sweetest. Has a really nice, pale steeped color and feels smooth in your mouth. (And if I say it tastes like sweet satin sheets K S had better not laugh at me.)

Definitely too light for anything but a quiet afternoon, but perfect in a silent Sunday afternoon house. (Sort of. My head is still echoing from a morning full of 10-year-olds at church. Today’s deep philosophical question: What would happen if Lady Gaga came to our church and what would she wear?)

K S

Fighting the urge… not gonna do it… :P

So did the kids think Lady Gaga would feel welcome? She likes tea. Tetley I think maybe PG Tips… More of a cotton polyester blend.. Hahahaha. I tried I really did.

Bonnie

dressed as a nun in a mini skirt covered with crucifixes and chains

gmathis

Somebody recently posted that she specifies PG Tips in her contract riders.

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When I took my first sniff, I got so much sweet-vanilla-cream scent I was afraid something else had scented it. (It was in a little zip-lock sample; my storage facilities at Shabby House aren’t the greatest.)

I think this tea has some of the biggest leaves, steeped, I’ve ever seen. And the creamy-sweet wasn’t an accident … that’s just the nature of this stuff. Still pretty astringent (cream and pucker are an odd combination, eh?) but really, really good! I have to apologize because my care packages have gotten a little mixed…OK, a lot jumbled…but my thanks to the kind donor! (Doulton, I think!)

ashmanra

I got some of this in a silver pouch from Quiltguppy, but I am saving until I can have a virtual tea party via Skype with Sandy since she was just in NZ for six months and went to the plantation for tea. It has been very hard to hold off drinking it.

gmathis

May willpower prevail!

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I broke the orange open and steeped 1 tsp of leaves with a bit of peel for 30 sec in about 6 oz boiling water. I forgot to rinse it, and it smelled a bit too funky to drink so I discarded that steep, and went straight to steep #2 (also 30 sec.) Much better! There’s a slightly funky scent overtop, but mostly it’s just earthy with a hint of, well, decomposing hay? Maybe I should just call that “malty”…?

It’s drinkable, but not my favorite thing ever. I was hoping for a bit more orange scent or flavor. Next time I will add more peel and see where that gets me. I’m tempted to add a bit of honey to see what it bring out, but I’m sure there are some pu-erh purists that will jump all over me…

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 30 sec
Janefan

decided against the honey (for now) but paired it with a biscuit & orange marmalade instead. Not bad. I think I prefer this tea as an accompaniment rather than a solo act.

Janefan

3rd stepp – 45 sec. Added a tiny bit of vanilla honey. I think this brought out the orange a bit (or could it be lingering on my taste buds from the marmalade?) and added a slight floral note. I like it better than the 2nd steep, but it does seem a bit more drying (tannic?). Not sure how that could be but there you have it.

Geoffrey Norman

Ooooh, man. I so want this.

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drank Bi Luo Chun by Chicago Tea Garden
983 tasting notes

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drank Bi Luo Chun by Chicago Tea Garden
983 tasting notes

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drank Bi Luo Chun by Chicago Tea Garden
983 tasting notes

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drank Bi Luo Chun by Chicago Tea Garden
983 tasting notes

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drank Bi Luo Chun by Chicago Tea Garden
983 tasting notes

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drank Bi Luo Chun by Chicago Tea Garden
983 tasting notes

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drank Bi Luo Chun by Chicago Tea Garden
983 tasting notes

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drank Bi Luo Chun by Chicago Tea Garden
983 tasting notes

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trying this tea for the first time. I’m fairly new to Pu-erh so i wasn’t sure how long to brew it. Ended up washing the leaves, then brewing it for as long as it took to stop by 14 month old from eating food out of the cat’s dish. resulting brew was slightly smokey, and has the leathery taste I’ve been encountering with the few Pu-erh’s I’ve had. similar to tobacco, or a chinese herb shop. a very subtle hint of sweetness. Didn’t notice the chrysanthemum at all.

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Thank you to Paul for sending me one of these cakes to try. I have actually had it for some time now, and I apologize to Paul for not trying it sooner – it wasn’t because I didn’t appreciate it, because I do! I must admit though, I was intimidated to try it. I generally get that way with most Pu-erh. But… none more than one called “Camel’s Breath”

Very brine-y, earthy aroma and that does translate into the flavor, although I am finding that the flavor is considerably more mild than the aroma – at least it is after a very short steep. It is mellow and sweet, with a very smooth character. A somewhat savory note in the distance. Almost like it beckons me to add a grain of salt or two to bring that out… A very intriguing tea to say the least.

Before I rate it and write a longer review for SororiTea Sisters, though, I will put it through a few more infusions and see what comes of it.

Thanks again Paul! Let this be a lesson (for me, if for nobody else) – don’t let the name of a tea influence you from experiencing it.

LiberTEAS

2nd infusion: Sweeter this time… a little stronger this time (less mellow) but still very smooth. Quite nice.

LiberTEAS

3rd infusion: I like how the flavor develops with this cup. It is still a mild tasting pu-erh, although it progressively becomes a little stronger – both in its sweet and savory qualities.

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I had this after my almost daily cup of coffee. Yes, coffee just one cup though. Nevertheless, as for teas this one started my day. I was lucky to first sample this goodie at Tony’s Tea Tasting at the Chicago Tea Garden and since I enjoyed it I picked some of it up on my way out along with others in his delicious tea arsenal.

I found this one to be bold and smooth, a little smokey and toasty. It was a delicious cup, especially in the morning.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 1 min, 0 sec
JacquelineM

I have a cup of coffee in the morning too – on the weekends sometimes two! I don’t feel like I have to choose :)

Tabby

This is sorta off-topic, but I saw your sales post on Tea Trade and I am SO getting some. I’ll probably do two orders because I couldn’t pick just five. :D

RachanaC (Rachel)-iHeartTeas

Sweet, Tabby! If you want to get it today I can ship it out tomorrow. :-)

RachanaC (Rachel)-iHeartTeas

I agree JacquelineM. I too enjoy a great cup of coffee. Nothing wrong with that. :-)

Tabby

Sure, I’ll PM you. :)

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Jason: “Butt tea”

Brewed in Yixing Pot

TeaEqualsBliss

Jason loves Butt Tea, doesn’t he!? I think that’s two days in a row, isn’t it!? LOL

Ricky

Haha, I’m the one who keeps brewing this tea. Everyone at the office (except Jason) loves pu-erh.

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