Ten Ren Tea★★★★★ – 1 review
Tea Shop - sells its own brand of tea
2247 S Wentworth Ave
Chicago, IL 60616
ReviewsI absolutely love this store, and I make a point of stopping by it every time I'm in Chicago's Chinatown, which is unfortunately not super often.
This store sells a wide range of loose-leaf tea, properly stored in metal pins. The focus is on pure (unflavored) teas, with a particularly good selection of ones that cater towards Chinese and Taiwanese tastes: lots of greener oolongs, and a moderate amount of high-quality green teas. There are very few flavored teas and other teas catering to Western or British tea tastes or coming from those traditions.
The tea is very good quality, very fresh and aromatic, and the prices are fantastic! This store sells some of the lowest-priced pouchong (bao zhong) oolong that I've tried that I still think is good quality.
One interesting thing about this store is that most of the loose teas sold here are available in several grades. I think this is a great thing. If you're not a connoisseur and can't tell the difference between the grades, you can go for the cheap stuff (it's still excellent, IMHO). But in the case that you can tell the difference, they have the higher grade stuff there.
If you've only tried Ten Ren's pre-packaged, boxed loose-leaf teas before, forget you ever tasted them. They're not the same as what's sold in this store, and in my opinion, they're kind of low quality and pretty overpriced for what they are. This store is excellent.
Lastly, as one final comment, they also do sell a wide range of Ten Ren tea bags. I'm a loose tea person, but some of the Ten Ren tea bags (particularly the Ten Wu oolong tea, a high-grown green oolong) are among the best tea bags I've ever tried.
I think this store is a huge asset to Chicago's chinatown. If you're a tea person, especially someone who likes traditional Chinese teas, and greener Taiwanese oolongs, I really recommend checking out this place.