As of 11 March 2014, my humans and I are no longer accepting tea samples. Too many tea companies focus on politics instead of tea and are often supporting things that we find injurious. We are now switching to a more information focused blog, telling you not just about the teas we are steeping but about the people and places responsible for them. Enjoy!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Review: Chicago Tea Garden’s Tie Guan Yin Oolong Tea

The Subject: Tie Guan Yin Oolong from Chicago Tea Garden. Note: the site is due to launch in late February or early March.

I tried to get my humans to put up an extra teapot or two, this tea was that good. They wanted to, but it kept looking funny, so just imagine the extras being there.


Water temperature: 190-195° F per tea brewing guide from vendor
Steeping time: 30 seconds for 1st and 2nd infusions per tea brewing guide from vendor

Tea type: Oolong, competition grade
Scents, flavorings, etc.: N/A
Aroma, dry: Very faint plantiness
Aroma in the cup, plain: Planty
Taste, plain: Light, delicate plantiness, no trace of bitterness
Aroma in the cup, enhanced: N/A
Taste, enhanced: N/A

2nd Infusion: Virtually the same as the 1st infusion

Attention, lovers of fine teas everywhere, there are a couple of new kids on the block, or there will be in a few weeks time, selling teas that are such a far cry from what many of us have grown up thinking of as tea that they aren’t even in the same hemisphere.

This is one such tea. Most of the leaf pieces are unbroken and unfold beautifully during steeping loose in the teapot. After carefully following the steeping guide supplied by the vendor, hubby and I sipped cautiously, expecting hot water with virtually no taste. After all, who ever heard of steeping tea for a mere 30 seconds? Apparently, lots of people, just not any I know. I learn something new everyday — what fun! The tea “liquor” was very pale in color but full of flavor, mainly planty.

I’ve recently started experimenting with serving tea gongfu style, where the tea is steeped quickly, drunk, and another infusion prepared, and maybe several more. Sounds like Tie Guan Yin would be a perfect tea for this style, which, in turn, can make the tea last quite awhile, stretching out your tea dollars. Hubby and I only did two infusions for our test, but the vendor’s guide says four are possible. Imagine getting four potfuls of tea out of a regular tea. You would definitely have almost tasteless hot water by the last infusion.

Providing an info card and steeping guide with their teas is a really smart move. We wish other tea vendors would emulate them in this.

Both hubby and I wish Tony Gebely and his partner, Erin Murphy, the best with this new tea business venture. We also encourage all serious tea drinkers to check them out and try a sampling of this tea.

Disclaimer: This tea was provided by the company named. However, the rating of the tea and any opinions concerning it are always strictly objective.


  1. You should be able to get multiple steepings out of any good oolong. That is how I justify paying so much for the good ones :) I have added this one to my list to try.

  2. Great! That makes tea a truly affordable indulgence!


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