Leaf Type: Pu-erh
Where to Buy: Tao of Tea
Made from the large leaf ‘Da Ye’ tea plant varietal, better known as Camellia Sinensis ‘Assamica’. The Tuocha refers to a family of bowl shaped teas, commonly available as Green tea Tuocha, Black tea Tuocha and Puer Tuocha. Made at one of the few organic tea gardens in Yunnan, this tea is popular among strong, dark tea drinkers.
Learn more about this tea here.
Wow! This Organic Pu-er Tuocha from Tao of Tea is seriously awesome. It isn’t often that I’ll say that about a pu-er! Oh, I may enjoy a pu-er, but I don’t often say the word “awesome” when describing a pu-er. But this … this is AWESOME.
And I think I know why. This tea was actually made from an Assamica plant! That is to say, it’s made with the same plant that makes an Assam tea, but the tea is grown and processed in Yunnan. And the result is something that I could happily curl up to any day.
My first cup is oh-so-smooth. It tastes a lot like a black tea only smoother. I’m not getting the same astringency that I’d get from a black tea. But I get that delicious undertone of molasses-y caramel and even a malty note. It’s sweet. And my first cup disappeared before I could finish coming up with words to describe what I was tasting.
The second cup was darker in color and deeper in flavor than the first, and the first word that came to mind as I took my first sip of that cup was “robust.” Another word that I don’t often use to describe a pu-er! Smooth, yes, I use that word often to describe a pu-er, and this tea is definitely smooth. Mellow, yes, another frequently used word to describe pu-er, and yes, this tea is mellow. But it’s also robust! It has a flavor that reminds me SO much of a black tea that I find myself questioning it! So sweet, notes of fruit and flower, notes of molasses, hints of leather and a lovely note of malt.
I’m on to my third infusion now and it’s even darker than the second. This is the first cup where I’m noticing a slight “earthy” mushroom note and the first cup where it actually tastes more like pu-er than black tea. But even so, I’m getting a lot of those black tea flavors too, the malty notes are still there and there’s a really pleasant sweetness to this. I love the way the aforementioned fruity notes mingle with the leathery notes and the notes of mushroom. It’s a deep, complex cup that’s really very enjoyable.
My fourth cup is very much like my third, only deeper in flavor. This is very much what I think I would expect if I were to mix a cup of Assam black tea and a cup of pu-er together. It’s not nearly as earthy as I’d experience with a pu-er, there are some earthy notes but it’s more like a mushroom flavor with notes of leather. It isn’t fishy or briny. There’s very little astringency to it and it’s not bitter. It’s just really smooth and pleasant. Notes of plum mingling with molasses, malt, and mushroom. It’s very different, quite unlike any pu-er I’ve experienced until now.
I’d recommend this pu-er to any tea lover – even those that don’t usually like pu-er because this is so similar to black tea, especially in the earliest infusions, that it eases you into the earthiness of pu-erh slowly. And even when it does start to become earthy, it’s not overwhelmingly so.
This is one of the best pu-er I’ve tried, ever.