Vanilla Almond Pu Erh/Fusion Sweets. . . .

This powerful punch of vanilla tastes like a wedding cake. A nice, moist (ewwww, did she say “moist”?), expensive nuptial dessert. The pu’erh adds a deeper swirl to the affair, maybe a little bit of chocolate or nutella.

I’m actually transported back to my own wedding cake, which was orange and purple with an ocean theme. Its creamy flavor was marzipan FOR DAYS.

My dress was too tight because I’m the only person on earth who GAINS weight for a wedding, so I wasn’t able to fit much in my tummy, and whoosh, it was all gone. My friends are LOCUSTS.

Well, I get my vengeance now. I can have my cake, and drink it, too


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Leaf Type:  Puerh

Where to Buy: Fusion Sweets

Description

The rich flavor of fermented pu erh tea is sweetened with vanilla beans and the scent of almonds.

A great after dinner dessert tea that tastes like marzipan with none of the calories!

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Chorange Puerh/Adagio Teas

I have seen this tea compared to those chocolate oranges that you see for sale around Christmas. Would you believe I have never had one? After drinking this tea, you can bet I am going to try one this year!

This tea combines three things I really like – good chocolate, orange, and puerh. When I opened the bag, a rich, deep chocolate aroma wafted out and beckoned me like I was in a Bugs Bunny cartoon. First steep was served with breakfast, second is a leisurely cup after.

I often cut the steep time on puerh and did so with the Puerh Poe by Adagio with excellent results for many, many steeps. Watching the color of this one in the glass teapot, I decided to let it stay for three minutes. I generally steep puerh by observing color.

Oh my. Oh yes. I am not disappointed. First taste is chocolate, orange on the swallow, chocolate in the aftertaste. The puerh flavor is not very strong and is mainly earthy rather than horsey or fishy. I debated as to whether in a blind taste test someone could convince me that this was a flavored black tea instead, but I think there is enough earthiness to indicate puerh without turning off people who are not familiar with it.

I did find that aerating the tea in your mouth (by opening and closing the jaw without opening the lips) intensifies the orange flavor. On the second steep I felt that the orange was more pronounced and the chocolate less intense until it cooled a bit, and then the chocolate strengthened again. I don’t think this one is going to go seven steeps like Poe, though.

Would I buy it again? Oh yes, I would buy it again.


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Leaf Type:  Puerh Tea

Where to Buy:  Adagio Teas

Description

Rich chocolate and sweet orange bring a confectionary note to the gentle earthiness of pu-erh. Lively citrus lifts the blend while the warm chocolate and easygoing pu-erh are grounding and smooth. Reminiscent of a favorite treat.

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2008 Menghai Ripened Puerh/Teavivre

I was introduced to Teavivre by a Tea Friend on Facebook. She told me that it was some of the best teas she had ever tried.

With that glowing recommendation I went to check out their site. They had a fantastic promotion going where you could get 5 FREE samples if you paid the $4.90 shipping.

What an awesome deal!

When I opened the sample bag I had a hard time smelling the pu-erh so I poured it into my Gaiwan. Once it was in there I was able to smell a sweet, fruity, honey-like aroma. It was such a nice smell I was excited for my first sip! Teavivre recommends the brew temperature of 212ºF for 3-5 minutes.

However, if you look on their website that is if you are making a full cup. Since I am making my Pu-erh in a Gaiwan they had different instructions!

For the Chinese Gongfu Method they recommend to still use 212ºF water for 12 separate steepings: rinse twice, 15 seconds, 15s, 15s, 15s, 15s, 15s, 20s, 30s, 40s, 60s, 100s, 160s. It goes on to say that each rinse time is 5 seconds.

As the first and second rinse steeped I could tell why they recommended a rinse, these first steepings had an almost smoky aroma which I wasn’t expecting. I am not a huge fan of smoky teas so I was a little nervous.

By the first 15 second steeping the smoky smell had completely disappeared and I was left with a mild, sweet smell with just the right amount of earthiness. There was a light nuttiness to the flavor which was incredibly pleasant. As I went through each steeping the tea became sweeter and more floral in aroma and kept the sweet but nutty flavor.

I absolutely loved this tea and would highly recommend it to anyone that likes a darker tea or is generally curious about Pu-erh tea. This is a great starter pu-erh, the sweet flavor will pull you in! Also, since it is so low in caffeine (less than 10% of a cup of coffee) it is one that you can drink at any time of day. Also, since you can get so many steepings out of the tea leaves it is absolutely worth the money you spend.

I look forward to adding more of this tea to my cabinet!


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Leaf Type:  Puerh

Where to Buy: Teavivre

Description

Soft and smooth, rich and thick texture

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Chocolate Puerh/Numi

Sometimes I read up on a tea before trying it. Sometimes I just make a cup and start sipping. I figured “chocolate” and “puerh” were pretty self-explanatory so I boiled some water and got down to business.

I expected the earthy flavor of puerh tea and rich chocolate or cocoa taste. Before I even tasted it, I smelled something more akin to Mexican hot chocolate. What’s going on here?

The first sip offered a sweet spice that I wasn’t expecting. I knew I tasted cinnamon and something else…nutmeg! And cardamom! The puerh flavor is pretty light, the chocolate flavor is mild enough not to cover up the spices and thankfully doesn’t have that horrible mildew odor that some chocolate teas have. There is honeybush and rooibos in this, which must be part of the foundational symphony of flavors because they don’t stand out on their own to me. I actively dislike rooibos so for me to enjoy this means there isn’t much here, or it is adequately covered by the other flavors. I am not really picking up the orange flavor, and I am glad because orange + cinnamon has been done to death!

We don’t do tea bags much. Bags that are dirt cheap usually aren’t a quality that we enjoy. Bags that are not dirt cheap need to resteep for us or they just aren’t worth buying. I am on steep three for this one. I approve!

TLDR: light earthy puerh that tastes like cocoa with cardamom, nutmeg, and cinnamon, reminiscent of Mexican hot chocolate.


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Leaf Type:  Puerh

Where to Buy:  Numi Organic Tea

Description

This velvety infusion combines black Pu∙erh tea and organic cocoa. Accented by whole vanilla beans and sweet orange peel, this decadent blend is rounded off with nutmeg and cinnamon for a spicy finish.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Crassicolumna Sheng + Tea Flower Cake / Verdant

Never judge a pu er by it’s cake. If you think a tea cake is a cake made with sugar and tea you would be 50% correct. A tea cake, generally made with pu er, is made by pressing leaves together to form a circle. Pu er is unique in that it is actually a subcategory of dark tea.

Don’t know what Dark tea is? Go to Google and prepare to have your mind blown! Moving on, I’ve been breaking the cake apart with a knife but I now realize I should probably be using something more akin to a flathead screwdriver. The wrong method can create finer pieces.

Of course, I’m a noob when it comes to pu er in general so this is all a new learning experience for me. As far as flavor goes I find it earthy. Dry forest floor. Very little astringency. Pu er is a very forgiving tea. The suggested steep time is 10 seconds for Gong fu method and 30 seconds for American style.

Luckily if you are forgetful or easily distracted *ooo shiny* you can be assured that it won’t become overly tannic.


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Leaf Type: Pu Er

Where to Buy: Verdant Tea

Description:

Camellia crassicolumna is a close relative to the tea plant, growing wild in the forests of Qianjiazhai alongside Camellia sinensis var. assamica and many other near-relative species that are even now being categorized by botanists. Crassicolumna grows distinctively tall, making it very difficult to pick, but the payoff is a deeply complex spice-forward flavor, and intense lingering sweetness, all without caffeine. When finished like sheng pu’er, Camellia crassicolumna ages just like tea into deeper complexity.

Mr. Zhou blended the giant crassicolumna leaves with about 10% tea flowers picked from wildly propagated Camellia sinensis var. assamica plants. These flowers add a tiny amount of caffeine back into the mix, but also add deep sweetness and a sunny marigold profile, rounding out the crisp edge of the Crassicolumna with layers of sweet deep complexity.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!