Chicago

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Shine Magical
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Sat May 11, 2019 9:51 am

I’ll be in Chicago in 2 weeks. Are there any tea shops I should check out?
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pedant
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Sat May 11, 2019 10:45 am

no

:lol:

:(
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Victoria
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Sat May 11, 2019 11:08 am

I think @pedant’s stash qualifies as a shop :lol: ..Would be nice for you to meet 🍃.
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pedant
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Sat May 11, 2019 11:48 am

there are shops, but i don't think they're worth visiting, especially on a trip with limited time. imho there are cooler things to do in the city.

i say this because i just don't think there is much of a chicago tea scene, and they don't have good tea compared to what you've been buying online. imo it's like this in most of the US with a couple of exceptions. i know there's a couple of shops in NYC that have good tea (of course with commensurate brick & mortar + NYC markup). same in cali. but i'm not aware of shops like that here.

we seem to only have shops that push this kind of thing:

Image

they might have some normal teas too, but nothing worth making a trip out of.

i'll share a few though and let you decide

https://www.teegschwendner.de/en -- legit, respected german tea biz, but again, the tea is not as good as what i think you're accustomed to drinking. i liked going here when i was starting out though.

https://easthilltea.com/ -- relatively new, this is the only gongfu-aware biz i know of. problem is there's not enough of a tea scene here to justify stocking good tea. i had a few teas here with friends, but they were just like bulk wholesale low quality oolong. also, it was an odd experience. they have a higher end section of the menu, and we wanted to order one tea at a time from there and share. however, we were told those are reserved for special appointments with the 'tea master' (who was not in at the time), and we could not brew them ourselves because we wouldn't know how :lol:
also, we couldn't just do one at a time and share because that's not how it worked. they insisted on giving each of us our own bamboo tea tray place setting with teapot and tea pet (which they wouldn't let me remove from the tray), and the server buzzed around us with 4 beeping kitchen timers clipped to her apron trying to micromanage everyone's experience.

https://todd-holland.com/ -- nice little shop. if the owner Bill Todd is there, he'll talk your ear off. nice guy with some cool stories. but again not worth the trip just for the tea.

https://tealula.com/ -- i can't remember if they sell tea or potpourri
Chadrinkincat
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Sat May 11, 2019 11:59 am

There is one place in Evanston that @Emmett recommend. Worth siting down for tea but prices for puerh cakes was high so I wouldn’t buy any there.
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pedant
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Sat May 11, 2019 12:53 pm

Chadrinkincat wrote:
Sat May 11, 2019 11:59 am
There is one place in Evanston that Emmett recommend. Worth siting down for tea but prices for puerh cakes was high so I wouldn’t buy any there.
http://www.dreamabouttea.com/ -- i'm guessing it's this place
i've never been there, maybe it's good
Chadrinkincat
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Sat May 11, 2019 1:19 pm

@pedant

That’s it. I stopped by last time I was in Chicago but wasn’t feeling well so I didn’t stay for tea. Seems like a decent place to have a pot compared to the few other spots that exist. Probably not the best city for tea.
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Victoria
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Sat May 11, 2019 1:59 pm

That tea shop micromanaging you guys is hilarious. Since 99% of Americans only know tea bag culture, they are unfortunately assuming no one knows anything about loose leaf tea. Bad business model. Here in Santa Monica there is a pretty good tea shop with Taiwan oolong, but their prices are high and quality medium. I asked where is your highest quality oolong, answer by the owner “in my private stash”. Again, the owner is assuming that 1% doesn’t exist, so I don’t go there. Also, I mentioned to owner that we have an LA club with many Taiwan oolong drinkers, she showed no interest. Kind of surprised me since tea in Asia is social, and this was an opportunity for her to meet serious LA oolong drinkers. I think the idea that there are any serious tea drinkers in the USA simply didn’t register.
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