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Wednesday
Aug252010

Zealong: Chicago Tea Garden

I received two of the Zealongs from Chicago Tea Garden some time ago, thought that I'd written about them but just realized that I hadn't posted.  This is the only tea that's grown in New Zealand and it's grown completely organically, free of any chemicals, and it shows in the clean taste.

I have the Aromatic and the Pure and I'm still not sure which one I favor though I'm leaning towards the roasted one.  The Pure, of course, has a lighter, cleaner taste, while the Aromatic has a bit of a flowery taste from the roasting.  They both hold up well to multiple steepings with the Aromatic giving me more of a nutty taste by the last infustion.

I've been spending my days with Zealongs (almost out, must order more).  Starting with a quick 45 second steep in 190 F water, then increasing the steep time throughout the day.  The cooler water keeps the leaves from unfurling completely on the first steep,  then they gradually open all the way on the last. I've stopped counting the number of steeps I'm getting, thinking it's around eight.  I've never gotten a bitter taste from this tea, not even when I accidently used water that was too hot.   One day, I had my JoeMo with me, went to make some tea and realized I'd forgotten the infuser basket (mild panic).  I can't go without tea so I put some Zealong straight in my JoeMo, sans filter, and hoped for the best.  It steeped up beautifully and I didn't get any bits of leaves in my mouth.  There is zero dust in this tea, it's beautifully clean.

By the end of the day, people start asking about the tea when they see the full leaves in my travel mug and I've found it's hard to explain.  I know that, technically, it's categorized as an oolong but it's so different from other oolongs that I've had that I find myself saying "it's not an oolong, it's a Zealong". 

If you've been interested in trying Zealong tea, now is the time.  Chicago Tea Garden is being featured on Steepster Select today, with a crazy discount on Zealongs.  Open your mind to new tastes, close your eyes and imagine yourself in a tea field in New Zealand, will help you forget that our summer is coming to an end... 

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