Chicago Tea Garden is one of my new favorite tea vendors. I recently ordered a couple of tea cups and a whole bunch of samples from them. I love that they package their samples with a card for writing tasting notes. It certainly came in handy when trying this unusual tea. I prepared it using a gaiwan and successive one minute steepings. The dry leaves were varied shades of brown with silvery white hairs visible. Each leaf was rolled into a snail shell-like curl. According to their website, this unique shape is created by using three different hand movements in a heated wok. They did not have a noticeable aroma to them prior to steeping.
Once completely unfurled, the mostly whole leaves were a uniform chocolate color. This tea was almost puerh like in both in taste and it’s ability to withstand multiple infusions. I reached seven infusions before I thought that I had gotten all that I could out of it. I had the feeling I could have squeaked out a few more weaker infusions as well. The flavor was complex and evolved with each and every infusion. It started out earthy and nutty and changed to a rounder and more gentle flavor that had hints of vanilla. I would definitely recommend this tea.