Chicago Tea Garden

Recent Tasting Notes

I love this one. Clean and simple tasting like the Zealong Pure, but with a little bit of roasty goodness. Never got bitter or astringent (you know I have a tendency to oversteep, I think I like things dark). And still held that sweetness that was in the Zealong Pure, a kind of oolongy sweetness.

This tea clears the mind, like the Pure, and puts a smile on your face. I think between this and the Pure, I would use the Pure for relaxing days and the Dark for I want to relax but I have some things to do days.

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Wasn’t sold on the idea of a tea from New Zealand until I saw the rave reviews this was getting, so I finally sprung for it.

Gong fu in a 5-ounce yixing. Pretty darn good, if I may say so. Buttery, smooth, slightly floral. Not the absolute most amazing unroasted oolong I’ve had, but very, very good. I’ll drink what I have happily, and I’ll probably be first in line to try next year’s crop.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 0 min, 15 sec

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drank Zealong Dark by Chicago Tea Garden
1876 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 Zealong Dark by Chicago Tea Garden
1876 tasting notes

I finally got to taste this tea, which was sent to me by Lori! Thank you, Lori! It took this long for me to get it to my friend in New Zealand so we could have a virtual tea tasting on Skype and then to arrange a time we could do this.

The funny thing is that I am in the States getting this in a swap from someone and I mailed a portion to someone who is two hours away from the plantation where it is grown! They have just opened a tea room there called the Camellia House.

The dry leaves smell really good. The wet leaves smell REALLY smokey! The tea is very smooth, not bitter or astringent at all, nutty, nice planty and not nasty planty. First steep was two minutes and I was generous with the leaves. WOW! They really open up!

The second steep was dark DARK yellow and full bodied, and there was a creaminess I hadn’t noticed in the first steep. I only added an extra 30 seconds.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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This is one of the best TGY I can find in the states. Fabulous. Lasts many infusions and has a pleasant floral and smooth TGY flavor. Highly recommended for any TGY fan.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C

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First, I have to admit I have been steeping this one too long. The consensus is 1 min and I have been steeping for 3 mins! Luckily my tea did not go bitter……the overall taste is a pleasant smokiness. Not a burn your mouth w a campfire tar taste like some lapsang souchongs but subtle and pleasant. As the tea cooled, some cocoa notes were detected which took me off guard. I want to try this tea again w shorter steep times and maybe it will be even better.

Preparation
1 min, 15 sec

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We had the privileged of trying this Tea last night via Tony at Chicago Tea Garden. Upon opening the tea was really excited by the sweet smell from the unbrewed leaves. I used my favorite Yixing pot to steep. Chicago Tea garden recommended 30sec steep time for the 1st and 2nd steeping. I did my 1st steeping for 1minute. The Zealong had a really nice pale yellow/greenish color. The smell of the brewed Zealong was still a pleasant sweet smell. 1st sip and I noticed that it had a much milder taste than a Dong Ding or Milk Oolong . Each cup still had a much milder taste.

Second steeping I steeped for 2.5 minutes and found it to be a bit bolder in taste and color was a tad bit darker and smell was still a sweet smell. Me personally, I like bolder tasting Oolongs better than the milder ones. This Oolong will be a perfect fit for those people who find the taste of most Oolongs a bit strong. If you are just becoming familiar with Oolongs this is a great start into a wonderful would of Teas!

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

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I really dig this tea. It smelled amazing in the package that I received yesterday! I’m steeping it tonight while indulging in Alice in Wonderland again(such a good movie!). My initial reaction is the steeped smell of the wet leaves and the liquor is overwhelmingly like you stuck you nose into a freshly made plate of rice. Rice is the overwhelming smell. The taste, reminds me of a genmaicha meets green tea meets pu erh. The flavor profiles of all three of those remind me of this tea.The genmaicha is most likely because of the rice as well. I like this tea, it’s very unique! Bravo, Tony on another great tea you offer! :)

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 45 sec
Nicole Martin

This was one of my favorites. I love how it smells. I normally don’t like puerh but haven’t had a bad one from them yet.

LissaMarie

I agree with you. Normally puerhs smell, well, pretty gross sometimes. This one was great.

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I go this as a free sample from Chicago Tea Company so thank you so much. This looks like black and brown twisted circles. Smelled like black tea.This smells like black tea. I steeped this up. This taste like a good black tea abit malty strong but not over the top and I added sugar. This tea is really good.

silvermage2000

I had a cup this morning It was good as the first.

silvermage2000

I had another cup awhile ago.

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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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83

Sipdown, 199. This was a very tasty tea so it is kind of sad to see it go because it’s never coming back! CTG being closed and all. I’m also sad that I wasn’t as into tea when I lived in Chicago because it would have been great to visit this place while it was still open.

For whatever reason this cup isn’t quite so buttery as the last one; I think it is possibly that the last one I had was more concentrated that I originally intended, although it turned out very well. Still, it’s fresh and green and floral with light buttery notes, so it’s making me a happy camper anyway.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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83

Thanks to Ellen for sending me some of this tea in our recent swap! It’s sad that Chicago Tea Garden is no more because they had a lot of nice teas.

Upon steeping, this tea smelled amazingly buttery and floral and delicious. I tell you, I’ve been tasting a lot of teas this weekend that are not quite up my alley, but this is a return to form. This is a green green TGY, and I love it. Lots of warm, thick buttery notes, a certain creaminess, and a bunch of florals. Mmmm. Almost makes up for the fact that it is snowing heavily today (and is supposed to continue into tomorrow!)

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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83
drank Zealong Dark by Chicago Tea Garden
1012 tasting notes

Goooone! I bought this like over a year ago from Rachel on Teatra.de. It looks like it might be being sold at another vendor since CTG closed. It only got through about 5-6 steeps before it lost its zazz.

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83
drank Zealong Dark by Chicago Tea Garden
1012 tasting notes

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85

Another sample to finish and use for my post dinner tea with my husband. He doesn’t mind Oolong so hopefully this will be a hit with him, I notice other Steepsterites have rated it highly.

I love the little hand rolled balls that Oolong come in with each one unique in shape and colours. This Oolong is a mixture of dark green, brown and dark brown but I also want to note that I can also see what looks like stem in a few places. The scent is buttery and floral and there is also a delicacy to it.

Once steeped my tea is golden yellow in colour with a sweet floral toasted aroma. Very refreshing and warming at the same time. In taste the toasted flavour is the first element before it changes to a floral rather buttery affair that vanishes very quickly. There is also a little buttery hint at the end whilst it’s mellowed and the flavours truly are spot on. It does pick up in strength but remains smooth.

Delicious. It’s a hit for my husband too and is a very nice introduction to our pudding (home made orange sponge cake with vanilla custard..hubbies favourite).

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C

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