Yiwu Wild Puerh Cake 2010 from Qing Tea

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Puerh

Where to Buy:  Qing Tea

Product Description:

Yiwu moutain is the biggest mountain among the famous 6 mountains in Yunnan. The region grows a great amount of old tea trees.This puerh cake uses spring tea leaves from Yiwu and is shaped in traditional way. The soup is already friendly and rich of sensation.

Taster’s Review:

I am still a little afraid of Pu-erh… I think more than anything, it’s that very pungent earthy aroma that puts me off on the stuff.  However, I was very pleasantly surprised when I opened the sample pouch that I received of this Pu-erh and noted very little (almost NO) earthy scent.

This translates into the flavor as well, with very little earthiness detected in the taste.  There is some earthiness in the flavor, it just doesn’t dominate the cup.

What I am finding most intriguing about this tea is an almost wild note in the background.  I don’t know if one can actually taste the “wild” in a wild-grown Pu-erh, but, this flavor is a bit different from any other Pu-erh that I’ve tried.

There is a lightness to this particular Pu-erh, and this allows the flavor to come off as a bit more crisp and bright.  I taste notes of spice in this tea, as well as a hint of sweetness.  It has an almost rustic tone to it.  The finish is dry.  A very pleasant Pu-erh!

Chrysanthemum Tuocha from The Tao of Tea

Tea Type: Pu-erh

Where To Buy: The Tao of Tea

Product Description:
(I was unable to locate a product description but wanted to share with you a little something I found in Tao of Tea’s ABOUT US Section on their website)

Love for Tea
I started The Tao of Tea with a love for the leaf. While travelling with my family in the Himalayan mountains of India in 1997, I dreamed about the possibilities that tea offered. For me, it started a journey into the essence that it exudes and the cultures it connects. The dream evolved into a business and the love grew even more. My travels to the source, friendships with tea people and living with wellness have been very rewarding. Over the years, I have been fortunate to be joined with people that share a similar love and philosophy about tea. Our commonality is based on recognizing the purity in the leaf, the surroundings it grows in and the people who nurture it. It has become the purpose of our company.

Veerinder Chawla

Tasters Review:

I’ve had good luck with The Tao of Tea’s Pu-erhs so far and thought I would share my findings on their Chrysanthemum Tuocha today!

The 1st infusion is somewhat light in color and smells like a lighter-scented pu-erh.  It tastes like a lighter black plain tea.

The 2nd infusion is darker in color and in aroma.  It smells like pu-erh but with a little floral aroma as well.  It tastes quite good…both hot and cold. It tastes like a medium flavored black tea with a slight sweet-floral taste.

The 3rd infusion is tremendously dark and  smells more like your stereotypical pu-erh.  It’s bolder in flavor and almost coffee-like…in taste.

As for the 4th infusion it was still very dark in color and in flavor.  It tastes more pu-erhy now and  more like a muddy/earthy/wormy type.

Overall I did enjoy this tuocha and have found most if not all of the Tao of Tea TEAs I have tried to be very tasty and intriguing!

Yunnan Pu Er Small Tuocha (Ripe Pu Er) from auraTeas

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Pu-erh

Where to Buy:  auraTeas

Product Description:

At the time of writing this review, auraTeas had not yet added this tea to their website, so instead, I shall provide you with some information about auraTeas:

We at [auraTeas] strive to bring the best tea to the world, and we hope you could to join us. We insist to purchase from tea growers around the world to insure the quality, and show our respect to tea growers and masters. In tea, we live.

Taster’s Review:

OK… it’s no great secret that I’m just a little scared of Pu-erh.  I had some not so successful experiences with it in the past and the memories of those bad experiences taint my current day encounters with the tea.  Slowly, though, I find myself getting over those bad times, and the more I try it, the more I really enjoy Pu-erh!

This is a lovely Pu-erh from auraTeas.  It comes packaged in a cotton-y paper, and it’s shaped like a bowl (a Tuocha).  I placed the little Tuocha in my gaiwan, and added some near boiling water for 15 seconds just to awaken the leaves.  Then I began brewing with near boiling water – 30 seconds for the first infusion, and 45 for the next… and so on.

The aroma of the brewed liquor is a bit intense.  It is earthy, and it can be a little off-putting to those who don’t really like earthy flavors.  But, rest assured, that the flavor is not quite as earthy as the aroma would lead one to believe.  For those who might find the aroma off-putting, though, I would recommend not inhaling the aroma just before taking a sip (this is something I often do when sipping tea, as it usually enhances the experience).  I find that when I do this, the earthy tones of the tea are brought into focus.

The tea is exceptionally smooth.  One might think from the fragrance of the tea that it would taste a bit more rough or rugged, but, this is anything but!  It has a deep, profound sweetness to it that is quite enchanting.  There are some earthy notes to the taste, but they are not nearly as pronounced as they are in the aroma.

I love the caramel-y sweetness to this tea!  This is a Pu-erh I would recommend to anyone who is finding themselves curious about Pu-erh.  The tuocha makes it very easy to steep (and it’s kind of fun watching it steep too!) and you just may find that you really like Pu-erh.

I also recommend sipping this tea while enjoying a piece of chocolate (dark chocolate, if you please!) – it is a perfect match!  Then again, what doesn’t taste better with a little chocolate?

Dian Hong Pu Erh from Cloudwalker Teas

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Pu Erh

Where to Buy:  Cloudwalker Teas

Product Description:

Sweet, smooth and sparkling. As with all of our teas at Cloudwalker, three year old Dian Hong is a high level pu erh tea. It combines an aquamarine floral taste with fine up-lifting chi characteristics. Dian Hong is a loose leaf pu erh tea processed similar to that of a black tea. It is already deep and rich with full and complex flavors. It is at once enlivening and cooling. A full, floral and rich tea. This tea is an excellent introduction to pu erh, or to entertain guests who have not yet experienced the earthy nature of these fine Chinese teas.

Taster’s Review:

This Pu-erh is so unlike other pu-erh teas that I’ve tried!

I’ve said it before:  I’m not a big fan of Pu-erh.  I am, however, acquiring a taste for it.  And I’ll say this – if this were the first Pu-erh tea that I tried, I don’t think I would have disliked it for so many years!  This is good!

The dry leaf lacks the strong earthy aroma that many other Pu-erh teas possess.  It does have a slight earthy quality to the scent, but, not nearly as strong as other Pu-erh teas I’ve experienced.   Likewise, the brewed liquor – while slightly more earthy than the dry leaf – is still not nearly as earthy as other Pu-erh teas.

This Pu-erh reminds me more of a black tea than of a Pu-erh, but without the bitterness that sometimes accompanies black tea.  This is very smooth and rich in taste, and brews up very dark (most Pu-erh teas brew up darker than the average black tea).  There is an earthy note to the taste, but again, like the aroma – it isn’t as earthy as a typical Pu-erh.

The flavor is sweet with notes of flower and even hints of dark cocoa in the background.  There is a deep sweetness in the background that reminds me of burnt sugar.  There is a damp woodsy note to it as well.

Overall, this is one of the most pleasant Pu-erh experiences I’ve ever had (if not THE most pleasant).  I really like this one, and it is one that I could easily enjoy on a daily basis – unlike a typical Pu-erh which is something I drink only on occasion.

Like I said at the start – this is a Pu-erh that is like no other that I’ve tried!

Puer Toucha (Xiao Tuo Cha) from The Tao of Tea

Tea Type: Pu-erh

Where To Buy: The Tao of Tea

Product Description:

Mini Puer Tuocha has a characteristic full-bodied and earthy flavor. Can endure long steeping times without gaining any astringency and can be re-infused at least three times.

Tasters Review:

I’m continuing to tinker and try messing around with Pu-erh’s.  This one – Puer Tuocha (Xiao Tuo Cha) from The Tao of Tea – is so involved and so complex that the only way I can describe it is to break it down by infusions.  Each infusion had a mind of it’s own.  This aspect alone intrigued me!  So without further a due here are my findings…

For the 1st infusion I went 2 minutes and found that the post infusion liquid color was a Lighter Brown.  The aroma isn’t as wormy/fishy as most pu-erhs and I was very happy about that! The taste was VERY velvety and smooth and lighter tasting with slightly earthy yet honey and cocoa type flavors mixed in.

My 2nd infusion I went with 3 minutes and thought it was much darker in color.  It had a bit more earthy/wormy scent to it and the taste was a hint sweeter.  It was still quite velvety and smooth.

At this point I KNEW this little guy was the “Little Tuocha That Could” and I was eager to taste the differences from one infusion to another!

As for my 3rd infusion I decided to go with 4 minutes.  It was even darker than the first two color-wise!  This specific infusion did smell earthy but not wormy at all.  It was a bit sweeter than the 2nd infusion but there is a ricey-type taste hiding underneath this time.  It’s interesting…the aftertaste is a little nutty but malty and more like a bold black tea.

I moved on to a 4th infusion and stuck with the 4 minutes.  I found it to be jJust as dark as the 3rd infusion.  It smelled like black tea with a hay-like aroma as well.  It was more woodsy-tasting and more malty and less sweet but still velvety.

This is a Very Sturdy Tuocha!  And darn tasty, too!  If you are into playing around with Pu-erh’s – I would suggest you spend some time with this one!

Puer Tuocha (Xiao Tuo Cha) from Tao of Tea

Tea Type: Pu-erh

Where To Buy: The Tao of Tea

Product Description:

Mini Puer Tuocha has a characteristic full-bodied and earthy flavor. Can endure long steeping times without gaining any astringency and can be re-infused at least three times.

Tasters Review:

I had a rough start with my Pu-erh journey.  I have finally determined it wasn’t necessarily that I wasn’t a Pu-erh Fan, per say, it’s more like I am a bit more finicky with my pu-erh personal tastes, I guess you could say.

Having said that…one company that has really impressed me with their pu-erh’s overall has been Tao of Tea.  With this specific selection from them I decided to try an infusion test.  Below are my findings:

1st infusion…2 mins
This was a Lighter Brown in color and the aroma isn’t as wormy/fishy as most pu-erhs and I am very happy about that!  The taste is VERY velvety and smooth and lighter tasting with slightly earthy yet honey and cocoa type flavors mixed in.  1st infusion rating based on personal tastes 95 – I really liked the taste of this one on the first infusion.

2nd infusion…3 minutes
I found it to be much darker in color and a bit more earthy/wormy in aroma but the taste is a hint sweeter and still quite velvety and smooth.  I would say 90 or more for rating on this one…based on my personal tastes.

I’d hated to give up on this one because I KNEW this would be good for more than 3 infusions!   It wasn’t  slowing down anytime soon!

3rd infusion…4 minutes….
This infusion was even darker than the first two! It smelled earthy but not wormy at all.  It was a bit sweeter than the last infusion but there is a ricey-type taste hiding underneath this time.  It’s interesting…the aftertaste is a little nutty but malty and more black tea/bold tasting.  Personal rating on this infusion about an 88-89 – still quite good!

4th infusion…4 minutes…
I could go on with more infusions with this one but have more tea from this great company to try so I will call it quits with this one…

This infusion is just as dark as the 3rd infusion…it smells like black tea with a hay-like aroma as well with a more woodsy-taste as well as being more malty.  I thought it was less sweet but still velvety.

I would still say upper 80’s even with it being the 4th infusion!
This is a very Sturdy Tuocha from The Tao of Tea!

Tao of Tea put a lot of thought in their Pu-erhs!  The quality is good and they have been known to break Pu-erh stereotypes – at least in my book they have!  If you have had some trials and tribulations with Pu-erhs in the past…give it another try and sample some of Tao of Tea’s Pu-erhs!  Experiment with them!  You just may find the right ones that will work for you!

1999 Vietnamese Cooked Loose Puerh from Canton Tea Company

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Pu-erh

Where to Buy:  Canton Tea Co.

Product Description:

An excellent loose cooked puerh made by a small artisan producer on China’s Yunnan/Vietnam border. The large twisted leaves are bright golden brown and release a clean, satisfying liquor with a good balance of wood and fruit notes.

Taster’s Review:

This is an incredibly smooth Puerh!

There is a strong earthy undertone to this tea, but it doesn’t smell as strong as it tastes, which is the opposite from my past Puerh tasting experiences.  Usually, the smell is much more earthy than the taste.

As I continue to taste, a very pleasant sweetness presents itself.  It is caramel-like in flavor, and is harmonious with the earthy flavor.  I also taste oak and apple.  This puerh has a lot of complexity, and isn’t as heavy in taste as I thought it would be, although the liquor is quite thick to the palate and reminds me a bit of the mouthfeel I’d experience with a green Oolong.  There are even buttery notes to this – browned butter – although it lacks the vegetative taste of a green Oolong.

This is a really enjoyable Puerh.  I do think my palate has finally developed a taste for this stuff!  Puerh is still not something I’d imagine myself wanting to sip on a daily basis, but I do quite enjoy it on occasion.

Cheers!

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