Chicago Tea Garden
Popular Teas from Chicago Tea GardenSee All 26 Teas
Recent Tasting Notes
Holy roasty toasty awesome in my cup! I’ve had this for a while now and this is the first time I’ve had it since I purchased it way back when Tony was closing shop. But half of it is off to a friend of mine from New Zealand who was very interested in this tea. So I’m just getting around to enjoy this. This is just a damn good cup of tea. The smell is slightly vegital with hints of a toasted flavor. The taste is just amazing. Glad I can get multiple infusions out of this one!
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?)
I got this during CTG’s going out of business sale in summer. I’ve only started brewing it lately and I don’t know what went wrong but it has hardly any aroma whatsoever. Perhaps when I opened the bag upon receiving it, I didn’t close it back properly, and these loose leaves got aired out to the point of tastelessness. Perhaps this was old stock held too long by either Tony or David Lee Hoffman. Perhaps I need to change my water filter. In any case, brewed in a gaiwan, this yields a dark, silky smooth liquor, with a faint smell of wet autumn leaves. But that’s it. It’s far too faint. I’m constantly reminded of a public bath house for some reason, from a long-ago visit to Korea in my childhood. I wonder why. After my sixth steep I start to get an unpleasant feeling in my stomach, and a bit of nausea. The big, blackish wet leaves shimmer in an interesting way, though barely any of them open up even after 10 steeps. They’re still a bit crumbly. I rub one between my fingers and only get the same faint wet leaves smell. If I ever fill out a mail order for tea from the Phoenix Collection, I might consider throwing a unit of this in, just to give it another try. The numerical rating I give this tea doesn’t show the whole picture, but it’s foolish to try to be objective about something as experiential, ephemeral, and personal as tea, so I choose a rating that represents my own personal experience.
Thanks to Autumn Hearth for this!
I was in such an oolong mood today. I don’t know why. But I remembered I had this in my drawer!
It’s just what I want in an oolong: buttery, floral, a little creamy. There’s a natural sweetness to it that’s great. I’m on steep #3 (Western-style) and it’s still going strong.
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)
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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!