Chicago Tea Garden
Popular Teas from Chicago Tea GardenSee All 28 Teas
Recent Tasting Notes
I’ve brewed this tea twice now with very different results. Thank you to PattiM for sharing your experience brewing with Chicago Tea Garden’s suggestions – this method produced a much softer brew that I enjoy and expect from a budset tea. Previously I brewed it for 2 minutes with more leaf and the notes of spice and smoke came out too much – the tea was overall too distinct and assertive for me, especially for a budset tea.
The color is a very pale yellow color similar to Silver Needle. The aroma is sweet and mild with straw and grass, as you might expect. The liquor is unique – gentle, sweet and uplifting feeling with hints of spice and even some smoke near the back of the mouth and in the sinus area during the finish. Delicious!
This is another high-quality roasted green oolong. This time it’s a sample that RachanaC kindly gave me in a trade awhile back. It’s essentially everything its profile said it was – first lightly roasted, followed by sweet floral notes and an aftertatse that reminds me of both nuts and maybe a bit of honey as well. Maybe not quite as rave-worthy as the Charcoal-roasted An Xi Tie Guan Yin from Life in Teacup, but it manages to be an excellent tea on its own merit.
Ok! Time to try this out! I need something nice and relaxing this evening. Trying to get back on a regular schedule. By some miracle, it’s only 11pm! Exciting. Anyways, thanks to Lynne-tea for letting me try one of these! After the one I tried from Amy oh, I was super excited to try more :D
The aroma is that same lovely sticky rice aroma (and that’s pretty much all I can identify), and it intensifies pretty quickly when the hot water hits the tuocha! I did a ~10 second rinse with boiling water, and then 2 30-second infusions. The first was absolutely delicious, and left a lingering sweet flavour in my mouth, while the second tastes fairly similar but a bit too strong/oversteeped, as there’s some bitterness. Next time I try this it will be with a regular infuser basket, so I don’t have to worry so much about overinfusion due to the time it takes to pour the tea out (which may have been a factor here).
One thing I should note is that using my little glass teapot was not ideal for this tea, as the strainer let quite a bit through, and I had to strain the tea again after pouring it out.
Thanks again, Lynne-tea! This was just what I was wanting to try right now, and I’m happy that Amanda put some up to offer so I can have a little stash of them :D It’s not my favourite tea, but it’s interesting and soothing and something I will crave once in a while.
Thanks to The Purrfect Cup for this one!
I had this once before but am so glad I was able to try it again! Sticky Rice, Sticky Rice…yeah, yeah, YEAH!!!!! Totally…see my other notes on this one!!!
It smells like popcorn to me, super buttery. I was excited to try it. But all I taste is metallic. I lowered the water temperature (started @ 205), I gave it a rinse, I don’t think this one and I are going to be friends and that makes me sad because it smells great. I’m also not a fan of how they fall apart, makes any sort of steeping rather difficult with little bits getting through even a strainer. I’d try a bit more (sweetening, whatever else I see from notes) but I am just so turned off it right now because metallic tastes and I will never ever be okay together.
OKAY you know how when you have something sitting there and you absolutely must conquer it? 4th try of steeping I finally got something I like. 30 seconds is far, far too long for me, but it works now. Didn’t bother to pay attention to the water temp though, but this time there isn’t a metallic taste, but delicious toasted rice.
I think it’s the herb in here giving me that metallic flavor, because I still get tinges of it in the aftertaste, and now I can tell that it has to be coming from it. Because now as it’s cooling it’s coming back. Argh.
Well, my order arrived yesterday all 500g of it! That’s right I now have 100+ pieces of this in my house. My husband asked in a sarcastic tone “Think you have enough?” Maybe, maybe not…it is so good! It does in fact smell like sticky rice as it steeps! My niece was visiting and came running into the kitchen in the hopes I was making rice but was sad to see it was “just tea”. What is wrong with my family??
The funny thing is to me this tea tasted like mushrooms and of course very earthy. But I loved it! I did add ice to chill it as it has been in the 90’s here for a few days. But I really did enjoy it and I’m glad I got it while I could.
Thank you Will Work For Tea for this Sample!
I’ve been wanting to try this Sticky Rice Pu-erh for a long time!
I can’t wait…I just can’t wait to blurt out…I love this stuff!
It tastes soooo good!
Now I’ve spoiled everything didn’t I. No need to read further.
Don’t you want to know why I blurted it out? (A few of you just said “No, not really.”)
It’s ok, my feelings won’t be hurt. I’m just an old disabled woman approaching my last breath on this earth! Sniff. (guilt)
Well, now that I’ve stooped so low…let’s get on with it!
The little cute Pu-erh Tuocha seems so harmless…so…‘little bitty cutesy’…until you put some boiling water on the little sucker and it explodes into a MONSTER GREEN floating island!
(Do not use a tea ball for this tuocha). I used a glass PIAO and half expected little fish to come out of the green algae clumpy SEA WORLD at the bottom of the container.
I steeped my pu-erh too long. The color was brassy gold. The flavor…um that was good…a bit bitter with some tannin. I could really taste the sticky rice which was the bomb! I knew that the right steep time would be fantastic tasting. (I finished that first cup of tea…yum!)
I cut the steep time in half but the color of the liquor remained the same. These were some robust leaves…Herculeaves with muscles!
Sipping the sticky rice tea was unbelievably roasty and sweet, like you could chew on your tea and find little pieces of nutmeats or candied things from heaven in a bowl with a spoon. Dessert, coated rice, almost creamy but not quite.
There were many golden cups to come…the liquor was so rich and heavy with flavor that I took my glass mug and put it in the frig for later, just to see how the tea would taste cold.
An old question came to mind…
I’ve asked myself on occasion, would I ever drink a pu-erh with a meal?
Usually, the answer is NO! I like to savor the pu-erh all by itself.
This pu-erh, I would drink to wake up my taste buds before a meal with an appetizer. I might have it with dessert or with a light meal. It expands the way I think about pu-erh’s. My cupboard should have this.
Cold Yes, the cup in the frig was absolutly stunning! Really refreshing!I did sweeten mine a little and loved it that way.
Oy, is it ever hot outside. Drinking hot tea in this weather is borderline torture, but since I finally got this in the mail, I just had to try it out and see what the rave is all about.
Normally, I’m not a fan of pu-erh. I know it’s an acquired taste. I’ve tried it several times in the past and I just didn’t care for the earthiness, or even dirtiness, of the flavour. But I guess it goes with the territory since I don’t care for super earthy essential oils too, like patchouli. But green pu-erh! That’s a first for me, and this sounded a lot more promising.
The smell of both the tuocha and the steeped tea doesn’t remind of sticky rice, but more of salted popcorn, like when my grandma would oil pop some, add some salt, throw it in a brown paper bag, and give that to me. I got my mom to smell it too and right away, it reminded her of tortilla chips. So we’re both getting corn rather than rice here.
It tastes saltier to me too. Not as popcorny as the smell, but it’s like a salted starch. It’s way mellower than any other pu-erh I’ve tried. I’m getting a fuller, richer mouthfeel than most other teas that I’ve tried. As the tea cools down, the salt comes out a little more too. It’s like salted butter on my tongue.
Overall, there is something very wholesome about this tea, like drinking a warm bowl of carbs. I’m not rating this yet because I’m not sure what to think of it. I like it, but I’m just not sure how much I like it yet. So glad I’ve been able to snag some before CTG closes its doors.
This is a tea I had my eye on for quite a while, and then I almost missed out on getting to try it at all! Thanks to The Purrfect Cup I was able to share this with my puerh-loving friend tonight!
First, the unique presentation is awesome! I guess I didn’t stick my nose right on this, but I didn’t get any fishy aroma. Maybe these have aged enough now for that to have dissipated. I put the leaves and the “lid” of the orange in my little gong fu pot. I did a quick rinse and then a short steep of just over thirty seconds.
Tasty! The orange flavor has definitely mingled with the tea, and this is a lightly earthy puerh to me, not very horsey and not fishy. The orange peel flavor is quite a nice accent. We made five steeps so far, and we are really enjoying this! Thank you, TPC, for the generous sample!
Sandy says she just bought some of this on the west coast, so I will try to find out where we can obtain more!
Wow, the herb really smells like rice. Brews nicely, not too bitter, leaves a mild coat – of what I presume to be the herb – behind. First tuocha and first green pu’er; quite liking it.
In the morning 5 grams with a quick brew is perfect. This is a light tea with a subtle grassy nose and bright color. Light on the palate and a perfect way to ease into the day
Tastes, looks, and smells more like a white tea.
Smells like dirt. It tastes like a soggy forest floor; like shoveling dirt into your mouth and maybe a bit of damp moss too. Tastes like dirt. Some people would say “earthy” but that word is only for people who are afraid to say they like drinking dirt. This is exactly how I like my pu-erh – dirty.
I had a great few moments with this tea. I did not want to do a formal review as I was too busy enjoying it. I realized how much leaf I really needed to use in order to get a lot more out of the tea. For this reason I am raising the rating.
Honey thickness on the back of the tongue with orchid notes popping up mid-sip. Delightful. It went for about 18 steepings. Some shared. Some delightfully consumed and enjoyed alone. Thank you again Chicago Tea Garden. You were a lovely company and I am sad to see you go.
Before you read this review, you should know that I have only tried a few puerhs and I don’t feel fully qualified to give all the tasting complexities and details.
That being said, this puerh is AWESOME! I mean it smells and tastes like sticky rice. The whole experience is amazing. The taste is just perfect and every sip comes with the initial sticky rice flavor, followed by a very earthy and dirty puerh taste but in a good way, if that makes any sense.
It is hard to describe but I think this may be one of my favorite puerhs for a while and I see it being very hard to beat.
You must try this tea purely for the interesting flavor. But you better hurry! Chicago tea garden is closing and only have a few 500g bags of this left.
Fantastic! I was lucky enough to get a hold of this when Tony was closing up his shop. I am so glad I did! This has some serious flavor. My first cup was straight up pu-erh. But so far infusions two and three have had a hint of the orange flavoring from the bit of peel I added in while steeping. So good!
I wrote a longer post about it here: http://wifeywoman.teatra.de/2012/06/11/say-goodbye/ :)
A wonderfully roasted green oolong. The roasted flavor is light enough so that it never tastes ashy but instead slowly creeps up on you. You can taste both the light sweetness of the oolong mixing with the roasted flavor and they balance each other nicely. I really like CTG and I’m very sad that they are closing up shop. I am especially sad because I’m from chicago and I wanted to go to one of their tastings or classes on tea. Oh well maybe he will still do some in the future.
So I, like many, have received the recent newsletter about the closing sale of Chicago tea garden, something that saddened me a little. While I had only purchased two teas from them (this one and the Tie Guan Yin), I did see myself purchasing more from them in the future thanks to their amazing presentation (Tea info cards with free quality tins?). I was waiting on their 2012 teas to make my next round of purchases but seems that will never happen. So while I’ve had this for a while, I never bothered to write a note of it (like so many of my other teas, sigh I just have so many right now). So anyways here it is, before it quickly becomes irrelevant.
>Dry Leaf Appearance/Aroma
Small fuzzy golden curls, very uniform in shape. Like little golden nuggets. Aroma is that of a typical yunnan black, spicy and peppery but this one is milder and with maybe a touch of vanilla.
Following CTG’s intructions, boiling water, 1 min. 1 infusion.
Not as aromatic as other yunnans, but taste-wise it is mildly peppery, sweet, and with subtle hints of vanilla. I sometimes pick up a little fruitiness similar to that of a Keemum. It is smooth and has absolutely no bitterness.
>Wet Leaf Appearance
The tight curls unfurl into long thin needle buds, dark clay like in color.
As a fan of Yunnan blacks, I have enjoyed this tea a lot. It is milder in taste than others and notes of vanilla are more apparent in this one than the other I have. These subtle differences make it unique enough to differentiate it from other Yunnans. I will certainly miss it once I run out of it.
I figured I would have this tea again as it is a great comfort and it is cold today. Where’d the beautiful sun go? I don’t want any more rain.
This time drinking the tea, my water was fully boiling (for over 5 minutes… vs previous experience where it was just under boiling or beginning to boil). I find it now has a bitter edge to it that I am not very partial to.
My second steep (not including the rinse) will go back down to just below boiling. I will report back with more once my water is hot enough. I really need a variable temps kettle. This heating-the-water-by-tea-light is cute, but not very precise and takes a year and a half to come to a boil. I am very open to good kettle suggestions (with a reasonable cost as I am a student).
Edit 2 days later: This is crazy. I keep steeping the leaves at least 4 times per day, and they just keep getting better. This steep was the most buttery rice yet!
Aroma: Peat, cedar, jasmine.
Taste: Jasmine compliments pu-erh very well, it seems. It doesn’t mask the “barnyard” taste that some complain of with pu-erhs (including myself on occasion), but it’s more like it adds an earthy complexity and depth to the flavor of jasmine. Jasmine has a very clean taste, so I think that’s part of the reason that they balance each other well.
Texture: Both smooth and astringent.
Leaves: This tea comes in an tuocha. After a couple of steepings, the leaves detach and unfurl. They are olive in color and appear to be coarsely chopped.
Evaluation: This is my favorite pu-erh. I think that the amount of jasmine scent is right on–neither overpowering nor too subtle. The bronze-colored liquor is very nice.
Today I went to a little french cafe with my sister and had the most amazing Earl Grey chocolate mousse. An after breakfast treat that incorporated tea!
The leaves of the Golden Bi Luo are really neat- little snails for sure. They smell almost caramelly..
Liquor 1min: I used 2 tsp per 12 oz cup. This produced a nice rich amber color that smells caramelly vanilla smoke. The taste is great as well. Initially, I taste some carmel vanilla malt… which melts around my tongue… much like butter does. Except this is not so much butter as a cream melt. It’s so hard to describe it, but I like it. I like it a lot. I just got a whiff while going in for a sip and it reminded me of delicious beef broth. I don’t know why. The end of the sip definitely has a lingering aftertaste of smokiness.
I do have a love affair with LS’s and Russian Caravans.. so this really pulls at my heart strings.
Subsequent steeps: Delicious.. though I find the vanilla caramel fades rather quick and is replaced by an interesting tanginess that I rarely find. The malty flavour definitely picks up, as well as the smokey presence. Great. I think I liked the initial steeps though. Thank you very much Chicago Tea Garden for this lovely sample!
I forgot I even had this when I was digging around for new teas to try. I thought I had passed on all my golden teas to my brother. Oh, glorious morning! This tastes just like a Yunnan gold-tipped Dian Hong only with a lighter mouthfeel. It’s sweet, earthy, partially creamy, medium-malty…and quite the waker-upper.
Full Review: Pending on www.teaviews.com
This is a simple nice oolong with a wonderful roasted nut flavor at the end of every sip. It almost tastes like roasted corn at a summer picnic. It doesn’t have the sweetness or vegetal taste of lighter greener oolongs and is perfect when you want a little more bite to your oolong. I love trying teas from places other then china and india and this tea can definitely stand on its own when compared to chinese oolongs. After seeing lord of the rings I’m sure New Zealand has many perfect places to grow and process tea. Very nice.