9/17/2012 04:12:00 PM

Billy Corgan Opens Madam Zuzu’s Teahouse, Complete With $7 Teas

Beware the $7 cup of tea.
Word trickled into the city last week that Smashing Pumpkins frontman, Billy Corgan, has opened his teashop in Highland Park. As soon as we heard, we dragged ourselves out to the suburbs to try a cup of Madame Zuzu’s tea.

The name suggests that this may be a front for a brothel, and single red light bulbs hanging in the black brick entryway don't do much to dispel this image. The immediate presence of pastries on the counter eased our concerns - it was all sweets no scandal once we were inside. In addition to pastries, the intimate café serves tea and pour-over coffee.

The specialty teas are measured on a digital scale before steeping for one to ten minutes. The varieties range from black to green, white and an herbal blend. There are also a few organic and Intelligentsia teas, while the only coffee served is Intelligentsia pour over. The teas with whimsical names like “Dragon Jasmine Phoenix Pearl” and “Moroccan Nana Mint” confused us, so we asked the tea-baristas behind the counter for guidance before we embarked on an herbal adventure.

Besides receiving a thumb up when we inquired about a variety that turned out to be sold out, we were left in the land of exotic leaves without a map. After some shot-in-the-dark tea picking, we landed with one green (ZuZu’s Gunpowder) and one white (Moonlight White) variety and a bill for $10 (watch out for the surprise $7 price tag on a few cups of tea).

We sat down at one of the black metal chairs and tables, below a bouquet of peacock feathers and next to a black lacquer piano. The décor is a mix of traditional Asian with Nouveau French art and psychedelic accents. Bright red wallpaper dances with dragons while the floor it tiled with zigzag black and white stripes.

This teahouse surely has its place in the suburbs, adding a bit of spice between the bank and that other bank If it were located in the city, it would most likely attract a crowd of hipsters looking to say “I was in that guy from that band’s teahouse.” Hey, with so many caffeinated options available these days, we say whatever works..


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