On July 31st, I held my first Chicago Tea Meetup @ Todd and Holland in Forest Park, IL. Meetup Groups are a great way to meet people in your area with similar interests. The Chicago Tea Lovers group has around 250 members (As of August 2010) and has held 56 meetups in the Chicago area since 2006, so I am very excited to head up this group. Seven members came out to Todd and Holland, a tea shop owned by Janet and Bill Todd that has been in the Chicago area for over 15 years. Bill frequently travels to tea origins and buys direct from farmers, which as you know is right up my alley! Janet asked what type of teas we’d like to taste for our private tasting, I suggested Japanese teas – not having enough time to consult the group. Everyone was happy with my choice nonetheless, we started with a Japanese Black Tea – an unusual offering from Japan called “Shizuika Kohcha” it reminded me of a nutty Yunnan black with less maltiness. We also tried their Yame Sencha, Kukicha Supreme, and Gyokuro Imperial. Bill taught us all proper cupping techniques, so loud slurps were heard throughout the shop. Todd and Holland is a great local Chicago tea shop and their online shop is great as well, I recommend checking them out!