2006 Fengqing Raw Pu-erh Tea Tuocha from Teavivre

2006 Fengqing Raw Pu-erh Tea TuochaTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Pu-erh

Where to Buy:  Teavivre

Tea Description:

Tuocha, a compressed tea in hollowed hemispheric shape, is mainly produced in Yunnan. This 100g Tuocha is from Fengqing, Lincang, Yunnan.

The materials of Tuocha are from Fengqing large tea speices. Fresh tea leaves will be made into dry tea in traditional craft method after being picked, then will be pressed into nest shape. The appearance of Tuocha reminds you of mountain. While smelling the faint scent of Sheng Pu-erh, you will have the feelings of being in beautiful scenery of Yunnan.

Sheng Pu-erh has strong flavor for first sip. Yet the sweet aftertaste will bring you a wonderful impression. You can feel a hint of sweet as sugarcane remaining in your mouth. 

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

 Sweet!  This Fengqing Raw Pu-erh Tea from Teavivre has an enjoyably sweet flavor, a sweetness that is balanced with notes of sharpness and notes of vegetation, wood and earth (think mushroom).   As I continued to sip, I started to pick up on notes of stone fruit.

I like that with the very first infusion (following a 15 second “rinse”) the flavor is strong and well-defined.  I could taste these flavors with this first cup, I didn’t have to wait until the third or fourth cup to start experiencing the lovely flavor.  I usually find that Pu-erh tends to have a mellow flavor, but this is a bold Pu-erh, and I’m appreciating the differences that this tea offers.

Later infusions surprised me with even stronger flavors!  I still experienced the amazing sweetness, fruit notes (I think I even tasted a hint of grapefruit!) and woodsy tones.  Full-flavored with notes vegetation, but this isn’t like the same kind of “vegetation” that I’d experience if I were drinking a green tea.  This is more like the vegetal flavor you’d experience from a woodsy mushroom.  It’s deep and earthy and flavorful, but in the distance you can taste notes of vegetation.

A deep sweetness – the description above suggests a “sugarcane” like sweetness, and I agree with that assessment – is present throughout the sip, from start to finish.  It lingers in the aftertaste.

A really enjoyable pu-erh experience!  I managed eight infusions from this tea and I suspect I could have gotten even more – the flavor wasn’t quitting!  This tea has many different flavors to explore – a delightfully complex tea.

And when I visited Teavivre’s webpage for this tea, I noticed that this will be part of the #3 Sale Round from August 4 through August 5.  Mark your calendars!

Fengqing Raw Pu-erh Cake Tea 2006 from Teavivre

FengqingRawCakeTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Pu-erh

Where to Buy:  Teavivre

Tea Description:

This Raw Pu-erh Cake Teavivre choose is from the representative Pu-erh production area Fengqing.  Fengqing is the original place of the world-wide famous Dian Hong Tea.  And it is also a classic place of Yunnan Pu-erh.  It is a place in Lingcang which is one of the four famous Pu-erh production areas.  The taste of Fengqing Pu-erh is mellow and sweet, deeper than Pu-erh in other production area.  And it usually has the flowery flavor of Dian Hong Tea.

This Raw Puerh Cake is special for the two seasons resource from the same Arbor Tea Trees.  Some are picked on March which we called “Ming Qian” or “Chun Jian” leaves.  This is the best tea leaves in Spring Tea because it contains more nutrition and tastes mellow.  Some are picked on September which we called “Gu Hua” or “Paddy Flower”.  This is the best leaves for Autumn Tea because the aroma is stronger lasting longer.  The Autumn Tea (Paddy Flower Tea) also has special flower fragrance.  This Raw Puerh Cake is made by the two kinds of tea resource which were carefully blended by certain proportion.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I know I’ve never made any secret about my first disappointing experiences with pu-erh but since those early days, I have learned the way to brew the tea for the best flavor and I find that I now enjoy an afternoon now and then sipping on pu-erh tea.  And I’m really enjoying this Fengqing Raw Pu-erh Cake Tea 2006 from Teavivre.

The dry cake has an earthy scent to it, but I found the aroma to have more of a vegetal scent than an earthy one.  But the reverse is true for the brewed tea:  I’m finding the fragrance of the brewed liquid to smell more earthy than vegetative.

The flavor is both vegetative and earthy.  The first infusion (following a 15 second rinse) tasted light and slightly dry.  Earthy tones, yes, with hints of vegetation.  It is quite mellow with a slight brine-like taste to it … I can almost taste a hint of salt, and I think that’s where I’m getting the aforementioned dryness from.  Overall, I found my first cup to be lightly sweet and pleasant, with a mild, soothing taste.

I noticed more earthy notes begin to emerge with the second infusion, and a slight mushroom-y sort of flavor.  The brine-y note from the first cup was no longer present, however, the dryness remained (although it was significantly less noticeable in this cup).  Still mellow, the flavor deepened with this infusion, and it is still sweet and enjoyable.

With subsequent infusions, the earthy notes began to subside a little, making way for a more well-rounded flavor that I found to be both sweet and savory, with it leaning more toward the sweet than the savory.

I enjoyed the mild character of this tea.  It was soothing and relaxing to sip, and especially nice after eating something spicy (wings!) … I found that it helped calm my belly after that meal.  A very pleasing pu-erh!

2006 Guan Zi Zai Sheng Puerh Meng Ku Bing Dao Ancient Tree Tea from Life In Teacup

Tea Information:

Leaf Type: Pu-erh

Where to Buy:  Life in Teacup

Tea Description:

Production Year – 2006/Production Season:  Spring/Production Region:  Yunnan, Lincang, Mengku

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Wow!  What a name, huh?  With a name like that, this had better taste good.  I want it to be worthy of so many keystrokes.

And I’m happy to say that it is – at least, in my opinion!  This is remarkably sweet and incredibly smooth, with a pleasantly broth-like mouthfeel, and without some of the stronger earthy notes that I often expect from a Pu-erh.  Sure, this has an earthiness to it, but, it doesn’t taste like dirt.  It is more of a vegetative earthiness, but without tasting grassy.  It has a nice warmth to it, as if it had been gently spiced with subtle notes of pepper.

Very often on Steepster, I read tasting notes from tea drinkers who describe the Pu-erh that they’re drinking to have a brine-y or fish-y taste to it, and I’m happy to say that I don’t taste that here either.  The aforementioned earthy tones have a slight “saltiness” to them without tasting like brine.

Mostly what I taste here is sweetness.  It is a sweetness that I find difficult to describe.  It isn’t a caramel-y or honey-esque sweetness, it tastes like rock candy (aka rock sugar).

Overall, I find this tea to be quite mellow and enjoyable – a very pleasing Pu-erh.  This is a Pu-erh I’d recommend to someone who has tried Pu-erh in the past and decided they didn’t like it because it tasted too earthy or fishy.  This Pu-erh is deliciously different!

Artisan Revival Stone-Pressed Sheng from Verdant Tea

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Pu-erh

Where to Buy:  Verdant Tea

Product Description:

Region – Hekai Mountain, Xishuangbanna, Yunnan, China

Processing –  This is wild picked from one of the most bio diverse ancient tea forests in China.  Hekai leaf is known for an orchid-like fragrance absorbed from native flowers.  The tea is allowed to sun dry and age loose as maocha for several months to a year before being steamed and stone pressed into bricks.  The leaf material for the Artisan Revival brick is from the oldest tea trees, some of which have to be climbed during the picking.

Read more about this tea.

Taster’s Review:

My experience with Pu-erh has been pretty well-documented through the blogs for which I write, because really, before embarking upon writing reviews on tea, I had less than a handful of experiences with Pu-erh, and those tea moments were best forgotten.  They were negative experiences, to say the least.  Since those times, I have learned better ways to steep Pu-erh and have come to appreciate it.

This Artisan Revival Stone-Pressed Sheng (2006) from Verdant Tea is one of the best Pu-erh teas that I’ve tried yet.  The aroma of the dry leaf is quite different from other Pu-erh teas that I’ve approached, rather than that strong, earthy presence, I find this one to to be a little more like warm spice and tobacco.  It reminds me of the smell of my father’s pipe tobacco (my stepmother was very keen on trying to get him to smoke a pipe, she seemed more interested in it than he did, though).

For the first couple of infusions, I am tasting a floral note.  This is a Pu-erh?  There is very little earthy taste to this cup, and what little earthiness that I do taste is on the sweet side, like hints of wood and earth.  It is incredibly smooth.  So smooth, in fact, that it almost feels like melted butter as it glides over the palate.  There is a sweetness that comes from the floral notes, as well as a somewhat honey-esque tone in the background.  These honey notes, together with the floral tones give this a very honeysuckle-like finish.  Overall, these first few infusions are light, sweet, and flowery, reminding me a bit of those early moments in spring when the air is clean and the plants begin to show hints of life.

With the subsequent infusions, the flavors became more assertive and yet the tea kept its smooth demeanor.  It hasn’t become earthy, though, as much as it has become more vegetative.  I can taste grassy tones.  The aforementioned buttery texture is still there, and I can taste a buttery flavor as well.  There are still flowery tones to this tea, but they are a little less distinct with the emergence of the grassy flavor.  Still incredibly sweet and delicious.

In the last two infusions (infusions five and six … I suspect that these leaves could very well have submitted even more, but, I was content with the six infusions), I began to note a savory flavor emerge.  It was still quite sweet, but there was a savory tone in the background that provided a nice contrast to the sweetness.  There are still floral notes.  The grassy flavor has mellowed slightly, making for an even smoother taste.  There is less buttery flavor to these infusions, but the sweetness remains.  If anything, I think the sweetness becomes more intense.

Now, as I sit and contemplate this exquisite tea, I can’t help but think back to those first few Pu-erh experiences with a bit of sadness.  If only they had tasted like this Pu-erh…

Taiwan Wuyi Oolong Year 2006 from Life in Teacup

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Life in Teacup

Product Description:

Production Year:  2006

Production Season:  Spring

Production Region:  Nantou County, Taiwan

Style:  Traditional heavy roast

Taster’s Review:

The aroma of the dry leaf is very heavily roasted with charcoal-ish undertones.  The liquor is significantly softer in fragrance.  Those notes are still there, they are just much more delicate.

The flavor is remarkably gentle compared to the strong scent of the dry leaf.  There is very pleasing roasty-toasty flavor to this tea, and a sweetness that ties into that toasted flavor.

The mouthfeel is quite soft and smooth, I would compare it to what liquid silk might feel like on the palate.  The mouthfeel does not linger, however, because there is a light astringency that cleanses the palate, leaving only a sweet roasted flavor that lingers in the aftertaste.

I would describe the overall cup as a masculine one.  There is a woody undertone, giving this a very outdoorsy, rustic kind of appeal.  With Father’s Day just around the corner, this would be an excellent gift for the tea-drinking man in your life!