Friday, November 13, 2009

Argh! I don't want to go to Argo

This Argo location and I go back a bit.

Since moving to Chicago five years ago, I have sung the praises of our hometown Starbucks competitor Argo Tea. With a celebrated backstory, the company deserves the kudos it gets for staking tea's claim among the continental coffee klatch. But I'm beginning to have my doubts about its tea.

Maybe I'm just hanging around too many tea snobs. Maybe I'm actually developing something barely resembling a palate. Maybe I'm just a fickle American consumer. But there's no getting around the fact that the green tea I've been getting from my workplace Argo recently tastes like Windex. I thought it was just that location. I stopped off at the Argo I used to hit every other morning, the cozy spot near the Armitage L stop. Uh-oh, same nasty, over-brewed, bitter flavor. I know you can ask for a custom cup at any of the shops, but that kind of defeats the point of supporting a store that came up with what's supposed to be a revolutionary idea of getting tea to the masses. Granted, tea is admittedly a troublesome product to prepare for people on the go — and maybe tea's inherent demand for slowness should be all the lesson we need here — but the Argo folks steep strong concentrates to ship to each location, where hot water is added to smooth the brew. Most of the time, it works ... OK. You know, for a cup on the move. But sometimes — and, seemingly, more frequently of late — it tastes exactly like what it is: old tea made this morning downtown.

I tried branching out, too, and ordered their seasonal Pumpkin Chai this week. In the last four days, my pancreas still has not produced enough insulin to fully recover from the diabetic-coma levels of sugar in the thing. It was so sweet my teeth ached. I'm tempted to reload my Starbucks card. I still love the Tazo ...

1 comment:

  1. That's what I do at home with my green Puerh--steep a too-strong pot and then dilute it with water. It works well with the raw, young Puerh but it's not ideal for any other tea as far as I know. The bottoms of my pots end up very strong.