On stage, Billy Corgan (front man of 90’s rock icon – Smashing Pumpkins) is a towering god of rock, all sound and fury. But in between tours, he takes on a different persona: that of the tea and bingo-loving owner of Madame Zuzu’s Tea Shop.
Nestled just off the shore of Lake Michigan in Chicago’s Highland Park area, Madame Zuzu’s has built up a reputation as one of Chicago’s most stylish destinations for tea, cakes, and entertainment.
Madame Zuzu’s mirrors Corgan’s eclectic tastes. Bingo nights, for example, take place alongside art and music events. Bingo’s popularity may now center around online gaming portals that offer everything from automated Iron Man games to actual live dealers, but the games at Madame Zuzu’s have introduced the more communal aspects of the game to a whole new generation of players.
Beyond the music, the art shows, and the bingo games, however, Madame Zuzu’s is best known for its specialty: tea. Not just any tea, either — Madame Zuzu’s prides itself on serving only certified organic and all-natural tea curated by exotic tea hunter Rodrick Markus of Rare Tea Cellars.
The tea menu at Madame Zuzu’s is a veritable encyclopedia of the world’s most exquisitely brewed and steeped tea. Black, oolong, and pu-erh teas make up a large portion of the tea shop’s menu. They also offer premium grade teas such as oak barrel aged keemun, which is produced exclusively in the Qimen County of China’s Huangshan City. Caffeine-free herbal concoctions are also available.
Madame Zuzu’s doesn’t make have any secrets when it comes to ingredients and they come from, either. Each item on the shop’s menu is clearly labeled, whether it’s organic or bio-dynamic, imported from China or the Amazon.
Perhaps the best thing about Madame Zuzu’s tea menu, however, is the fact that it’s fairly newbie-friendly. Each tea blend is lovingly described in detail, complete with clear notes on taste as well as pairing suggestions. The tea shop’s website even has a short tea FAQ section for those who want to learn more.
Whether you’re a hardcore tea addict or a fresh-faced newcomer, Madame Zuzu’s is definitely worth a stop.