"Combine the toasty richness of hot cocoa and the nuance of the finest tea, and you get this satisfying blend from Rodrick Markus, master tea blender and owner of Rare Tea Cellar in Chicago."
"Markus currently stocks more than 2,000 kinds of tea (both single-estate variations and blends), in addition to more than 5,000 rare ingredients spanning Sicilian emerald pistachios to Okinawa sea grapes. Between a slew of international phone calls, making trips to the customs counter at O'Hare Airport and hopping on a plane himself, Markus stops at nothing to find products that round out his portfolio—and chefs know it."
“Caviar served on blinis, a common food eaten during holidays in Russia and surrounding countries, was popularized in the United States by Eastern European Jewish immigrants. Steingold’s stock will come from Rare Tea Cellar—a wholesale company in Chicago selling rare food and drink items. In addition to caviar, Steingold’s will also sell Rare Tea Cellar’s tea and spices.”
“A rule of thumb when dining out in Chicago: If you see anything involving Rare Tea Cellar on the menu, order it.”
"Mid-morning, Posey might switch to tea, a blend of Rare Tea Cellar's Freak of Nature oolong and green kukicha (which I tried and tastes like straight-up buttered popcorn, amazing)."
The Adventures of Exotic Tea Hunter Rodrick Markus
"Part Indiana Jones, part Willy Wonka, the 42-year-old Markus helps America's best restaurants maintain their reputations for James Beard Award-winning cuisine by importing the world's rarest ingredients."
"If you've ever found yourself in need of black truffles, cave-aged Pu-erh tea or seaweed caviar then get ready to give your kitchen the Michelin-starred treatment. Chicago's own exotic emporium Rare Tea Cellar retails their inventory to the average consumer."
“Finest teas, ingredients and truffles at Rare Tea Cellar.”
Rare Talent- Chicago's Rodrick Markus is the go-to guy for high-end, esoteric ingredients.
“From black and white truffles on Balena’s $100 pizza to the Aviary’s custom tea cocktails, when savvy chefs and mixoligist needs a hard to find ingredient, they call Rodrick Markus of Rare Tea Cellar.”
Rare Tea Cellar on Hungry Hound
“Some of the best restaurants in the world are getting their hard-to-find products from a hidden warehouse in Ravenswood.”
“Working out of a warehouse in Chicago’s Ravenswood neighborhood, Rodrick Markus is the face behind Rare Tea Cellar. For more than a decade, Rare Tea Cellar has been sourcing and selling tea as well as anything you can eat, drink, or cook with. Markus and Rare Tea Cellar have partnered with some of the world’s most renowned chefs, including Grant Achatz (Alinea, Next, Aviary), Curtis Duffy (Grace), and dozens more. In this short video, we get a privileged peek inside the warehouse and we trace Markus’ journey from small niche businessman into gastronomical rock star.”
“In Chicago, Rare Tea Cellar founder Rodrick Markus has spent the past 22 years traveling the world to uncover the mysteries of tea. Along the way, he’s discovered a number of ways to blend teas and flavoring agents, and he’s been barrel-aging teas for about 10 years.”
“At The Allis in Chicago (pictured above), daily tea service offers classic items as well as seasonal options like cranberry macaroons and lemon-blueberry tart, along with teas from Chicago’s Rare Tea Cellars, including Italian Green Almondine, Mallorca Melon and Chocolate Pu-erh.”
“The doughnuts are the brainchild of the dessert shop's chefs and Rodrick Markus, the owner of Lakeview's Rare Tea Cellar, which has sold truffles since it opened seven years ago.
‘I've always liked to do some crazy mashups. We really had a moment,’ the Ravenswood resident said about sprinkling the truffles on top of some doughnuts at last weekend's Tasting Table Open Market Chicago event. ‘It just turned out amazing.’”
Balena's $99 Truffle Pizza
"Created by chef Chris Pandel and Rare Tea Cellar's Rodrick Markus it features black truffles in the sauce, truffled mortadella, and white truffles shaved on top tableside."
“We’ve seen some great markets in the history of this program. I have not walked into a shop like that, with an impassioned, teddy bear of a Willy Wonka of a guy who knows as much about food as he does. And to see four, five, six, seven things to eat that I had never tasted before. Not only not tasted, but never knew existed. To see Rodrick transform ingredients like that into playthings for the famous chefs around the town… that is the Wizard of Oz in the food world here in Chicago.”
"Rod Markus of Rare Tea Cellar is a certifiable tea ninja, and he's stocked with some of the most beautiful, exotic and top-notch teas on the market. His collection of wild rose teas make me swoon, and his pu-erh (a tea that has been exposed to amicrobial fermentation process) is a savior after giant meals."
“On the other side of the spectrum, Markus makes a piney, smok-y and lush Willet Rye barrel-aged lapsang souchong called Forbidden Forest. It evokes that teenage summer when you stole a bottle of booze and made out with your crush from across the lake.”
“He locates tough-to-acquire things for chefs who, being chefs, want something especially bad when they are told it will be impossible to get. Rare vegetables, salts, oils, spices, nuts, fish eggs — he finds the guy who locates the guy who heard of the guy who knows the guy who knows about, say, a place in the Pacific Northwest where, with the right permit at the right time, you can forage for a rare pine bark that grows 25 feet in the air.”
What We're Reading
“Dave Beran, the chef of Next, called Rodrick Markus, an importer, master tea blender and the owner of Rare Tea Cellar, Inc ‘Do you have a line on [Japanese] maple leaves?’”
Rare Tea Cellar Opens Online Store
“Every time a new restaurant opens, odds are that they will boast a fancy tea selection. And if you look at the fine print at the bottom of the menu, more often than not it comes from Rodrick Markus at Rare Tea Cellars.”
“You see the tea all over town at restaurants like Naha, Blackbird, Boka, Inovasi, Roka Akor, NoMI, Untitled and more, sometimes even mixed into the cocktail program. And owner Rod Markus pops up at events and markets all year promoting his well-sourced higher-end tea from his Rare Tea Cellar. But now you have the chance to get the goods sent directly to you.”
“Zimmern is ‘exploring the idea of Chicago as ground zero of ingredient-driven stories.’ ...He's spending time with Rod Markus at Rare Tea Cellar and seeing how Phillip Foss incorporates tea into dishes at EL Ideas.”
“Rodrick Markus has been making your favorite restaurants taste better for years. Now he's doing the same for your pantry…”
“Serve it hot or on the rocks: Rare Tea Cellar Lemon Berry Meritage tea.”
“Vendors like Spices of Lezzet, specializing in Asian spices; beautiful vintage housewares from Study; and the pop-up Wúcháng Tea House, a collaboration between X-Marx, a pop-up restaurant and catering group, and Rare Tea Cellar, which provides tea consultations for restaurants like the Publican and NoMI Kitchen.”
“Why we love him: Markus is a certifiable tea guru, a member of the Urasake Tea School of Japan and an importer on a mission to stock the city’s best restaurants with tea selections that equal their food in sophistication.”
Reader's Six Degrees of Cooking Bacon
“Purveyors who seem to turn up everywhere you look like Rodrick Markus (Rare Tea Cellars)...”
Summit Bar & Motorino Team Up for Seafood-Centric Prima
“Seider's playing around with Tarragon, Lemon,Thyme, Elderflower, and his own custom blended tea infusions sourced from the Rare Tea Cellar, in Chicago IL.”