Coming soon, in the first few weeks of March, Tony Gebley and his partner, Erin Murphy will be opening the doors online to Chicago’s latest tea merchant – Chicago Tea Garden (you can also keep track of Tony’s progress with his business on twitter, @worldoftea). To celebrate this, we’ve received a sampling from them of a Tie Guan Yin Oolong tea. This tea is a competition-grade Oolong from Anxi County, China. According to Tony, this tea was sourced by the infamous American tea guru, David Lee Hoffman from one of the organizers of the Chinese National Tea Competition. This particular tea is part of Mr Hoffman’s prized Phoenix Collection. Chicago Tea Garden is making this special tea available to American tea drinkers where it will retail at $14.99 for 50 grams and will be available online. Newer tea drinkers may feel this is expensive, but it’s really an excellent example of the accessibility that comes with fine, upper-level teas.

This particular Oolong is very much considered a fine tea, and those 50 grams will easily give you upwards to 50 cups of tea or more with resteepings. A typical teaspoon measurement holds about 3 grams of tea so you’ll get about 16 initial cups, but due to the hardiness and quality of the leaves, this tea can be resteeped 3-4 times. We found that one measurement of this tea resteeped well enough to keep our cups full for an entire afternoon.

Tie Guan Yin is a historical tea and was used as a tribute tea to the Royal Court. It is often translated as, “Iron Goddess of Mercy” and is a reference to the Buddhist goddess of love which is associated with the legend behind this tea’s birth. Click through to read what we thought