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Chicago Tea Garden

Recent Tasting Notes

31

Okay after a few more cups I have to say that this isn’t my cup of tea taste wise – although it does settle my tummy! That’s what I bought it for, and it was oh so cheap for 500g, so I don’t regret it!

There I feel better now. haha!

(the rating represents how hard it is for me to force myself to have a cup)

Matt

I am with you on this one, though yeah was totally worth it for that 500g bag. I got one myself, not that I have been drinking much of it though hahaha.

Bonnie

I don’t get it. I like this tea. If anyone is sick of their stash, let me know. I didn’t get in on the sale.

DaisyChubb

I will definitely send some your way Bonnie, I’ll PM you! :)

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86

I’ll reiterate what I said about this being a very nice roasted oolong. However I’ve noticed that it doesn’t have as much staying power as its counterpart from Life In Teacup as I only got two good steeps out of it before the flavour really fell off.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C

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57

Smells like rice and tastes like rice. I brewed it gongfu style so I got to taste it as it evolved. After awhile though it got very tiring. I would like to try it western style just to see if I will end up less annoyed by it that way. overall not bad but not really a favorit.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec

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31

I have so much of this tea, I don’t even know what to do with it.

Of course, I ended up not liking it as much as I thought I would – but hey, it was an investment! haha I’ll swap it away and maybe sell some tea sampler packs on teatrade or my etsy shop and all will be well :)

The taste is a little more mushroomy that I expected – it’s quite easy to oversteep (re: bitter mess!) if you use a high temperature – so steep it at as low a temperature as you can (that’s my recommendation).

At first I tried it in my gong-fu pot but the leaves are very very small (smaller than rooibos), so from now on I only brew it with a Perfect Mug steeper – they don’t let anything through :D

I will say that it does settle my tummy, but from now on I know I’m more of a darker shu tuocha fan – I like the dark earthiness (ie: Cornfields Shu from Verdant)

Fjellrev

Yeah, I didn’t like it as much as I thought I would too. Thankfully I only got around a dozen of them haha. But mushroom, that’s interesting. It personally tastes a little too salty to me.

momo

Yeah I’m not a fan either so I’m putting them in the traveling tea boxes. I can’t even actually describe the way it tasted to me without sounding gross, haha, like I purposely taste blood but it had that metallic sort of taste to it.

Bonnie

I like them both. This one was more ricy and the other more corny. (I’m more corny too!). I made a cold sticky rice tea which was quite good and different. Sad they are all gone because I only got a sample.

The Purrfect Cup

I have the 500g bag too…it will never end! :)

Alphakitty

I almost bought a ton of this in the closing sale—the mushroom aspect makes me kind of glad I didn’t, I can’t stand mushrooms!

DaisyChubb

Yes Amanda – I get that coppery taste as well!
It truly is a bag that never ends! haha!

Bonnie – I will definitely have to try it iced! Don’t be too sad, when we have a swap (still working on getting some swap-funds!) I will hook you up ;)

DaisyChubb

Well Alpha, I certainly learned my lesson to maybe not buy a 500g bag of a tea I’ve never tried, even if it sounds amazing. Although it’s not horrible! Just not what I expected haha

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89

I have such mixed feelings about reviewing this tea. It’s been sitting in my cabinet for awhile and I know that I can’t get anymore of it after CTG closed. I loved CTG and was very sad to hear about them closing. Hopefully this review will be more of a sweet requiem for a great online company. This tea reminds me of Chun Mee but is infinitely more interesting. It definitely has the unripened mango which I never knew I even liked but it also has the nice smokiness of a Chun Mee, but not overwhelmingly so. There is a nice sweet aftertaste, almost slightly maple. Subsequent steepings get less smokey and more sweet and nutty. Very nice green and sadly not available anymore. I still love the CTG blog though.

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94

Thank you to Amanda for this interesting tea! It smells exactly like sticky rice. And I love sticky rice! While I was waiting for it to cool I got so hungry smelling it. Well as my luck today would have it… I over steeped it.. But as it’s cooling the bitterness is going away. It tastes like sticky rice with a bit of an earthy note. I will try again later with actually watching the time.. But I really did like this one. It is definitely something different to try.

Preparation
Boiling
Azzrian

These are yummy!

KallieBoo!

Mm I know :D I loved it

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90

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!

Preparation
160 °F / 71 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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86

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.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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80

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.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 30 sec
Bonnie

I had some success cold brewing this one.

Lynne-tea

No problem! Glad it wasn’t repulsive

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85

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!!!

Bonnie

I made this iced too and loved it with a little sweetening.

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I tried.

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.

Bonnie

I really like it. I even made some into iced and sweetened it with splenda.

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95

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.

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87

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.

Will Work For Tea

Really glad you liked this one! I’m still playing around with this tea – I find the first steep to be delicious, but the resteeps are horrible! I really badly want to like this as much as the first steep, but haven’t found the right approach yet. Steeps that are hotter and longer aren’t working for me…

TeaBrat

I love the ones I have too….

DaisyChubb

mmm is it like a rice pudding with a little sugar? I’ll have to add some cream too and experiment ;)

Bonnie

Hum, I rinsed it first. Did 2 minutes in an open container (sort of the PIAO thingy) with about 6oz boiling water and then about 1 minute each steep after that with 4-6 oz water. Maybe your water to toucha ratio is off. The liquor on mine was very rich.

Bonnie

I didn’t like mine with cream but I thought about some richer milk product like sweetened condensed milk like in Asian hot milk tea’s and coffee’s.

DaisyChubb

mmm that would do the trick! Creaminess and sweetness all in one

Bonnie

Now I want something to EAT! (Why are they doing lawn maintanence on Saturday!!! I don’t want to hear the mowers all day!!!)

momo

Herculeaves! That cracks me up. I love this Chinese restaurant nearby because they give you puerh when you eat there so I drink it the entire time to the point my boyfriend thinks I’m gonna just drink the whole pot instead of eat.

Kittenna

I’m with Amanda – Herculeaves!!! :D Made me laugh! Lynne-tea’s sending me a tuocha of this, because I want to try it after all the hype too! Of course I won’t be able to get more….

Bonnie

Golden Moon and some other makes one but don’t know how they are.

Bonnie

Oh Yunnan colorful sells some sticky rice under glutenous rice.

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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.

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

mmm lovely review!
I’m waiting on a package of just this tea, and your review makes me even more excited for it to come!

Sticky Rice & Cornfield puerhs settle my stomach and taste sooo good.

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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!

Azzrian

PLEASE do! I was so bummed that Chicago went out of biz then to top it off when I went to snatch one of these up they were gone. :( Would love to get my hands on one if Sandy knows where to get them. :)

The Purrfect Cup

Glad you liked it!! :)

Lindsay

I’ve seen pu’erhs like this on ebay. No idea how the quality is though.

TeaBrat

my local tea shop, Aroma sells tangerine pu-erhs. Maybe they’d be willing to break up the assortment of 8 if you called them. http://www.aromateashop.com/store/index.php?act=viewProd&productId=84

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82

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.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 45 sec

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84

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

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

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69

Tastes, looks, and smells more like a white tea.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 30 sec

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88

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.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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88

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.

ScottTeaMan

About 18 steepings…….WOW!!

Lynne-tea

I know! It was amazing! I probably could have gone for a little bit more, but why drag out such a beautiful thing if it will only lose flavour and be the last memories of this tea? =)

ScottTeaMan

I tried a Dan Cong from TeaSpring and got 7 good steeps and stopped, but I probably could have gotten 10.

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92

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.

Preparation
Boiling 1 min, 0 sec

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94

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/ :)

TeaBrat

I’ve had these before and they ARE good!

momo

oh my gosh that is the most adorable teapot!

The Purrfect Cup

@Amy – SO GOOD!

@Amanda – thanks I got him at Teavana for a sweet deal!

ashmanra

Oh no! I didn’t know they were closing, and had this on my wish list for a long time. Oh well, you snooze, you lose!

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89

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.

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