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Organic Pu-er Tuocha from Tao of Tea

PuerTouchaTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Pu-erh

Where to Buy:  Tao of Tea

Tea Description:

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.

Taster’s Review:

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.

PRODUCT REVIEW: Oribe-Style Chawan from Guerrero Ceramics

Product Information:

Product:  Oribe-Style Stoneware Chawan (Tea Bowl)

Product Description:

This handmade, wheel-thrown stoneware “chawan” or “tea bowl” was fired in an electric kiln to 2350°F. It features a clear and green glaze combination with iron oxide underpainting. This is known as Oribe-style. The decoration goes all the way around the bowl.

This style of tea bowl is “closed” with straight up and down walls, as opposed to the “open” style with outwardly sloping walls.

Please note: This bowl is one of my more “sturdy” tea bowls. In other words, it’s a bit heavy.

Click Here to Visit:  Guerrero Ceramics Shop on Etsy

Product Review:

You may have noticed that I’ve been reviewing a lot of Matcha lately.  Well, that’s because Red Leaf Tea has this amazing offer.  Free Matcha?  For doing what I do anyway?  OK… you’ve got me!

Also, I have noticed that after a few weeks of drinking Matcha on a daily basis, I FEEL better.  I have more energy, I feel less sluggish.  So, I’m going to try to incorporate Matcha into my daily tea routine, having some every day, rather than once or twice a week like I used to.

A couple of weeks ago, while cleaning my favorite (and only usable) chawan, I accidentally dropped it in the sink and it cracked.  (My other chawan was raku fired, and so I wasn’t entirely sure that it was safe to use.  It’s gorgeous, but, I was no longer comfortable using it as I feared it might be unsafe)

I was so sad.  I loved that chawan.  I started using porcelain cereal bowls until I could find a satisfactory replacement.  The bowls worked just fine, but they were thinner and lighter in weight than my chawan and I really like the heavier feel of a chawan that was crafted on a pottery wheel.

The temporary bowls just weren’t the same, and it affected my tea experience.  Whether I was ready to admit it or not, the simple fact is that the vessel has a little something to do with the enjoyment of the product.  That is to say, it matters.  The bowl (or cup, when drinking other teas) makes a difference to me, at least mentally.  The vessel that I drink from affects the overall experience.

So finally, I decided I HAD to get myself a chawan. I knew that I wanted to purchase the chawan direct from an artisan, because as an artist myself, I like to support other artists with my shopping.  I try to avoid purchasing from the big corporations whenever I can, preferring smaller shops and when it comes to products like chawans, I want something handmade and direct from the artist.

After a bit of shopping around, I finally settled on this beautiful chawan from Guerrero Ceramics on Etsy.  There are a lot of really gorgeous chawans on Etsy… but the reason I finally chose this one is simply:  the seller was nice.  I had written to him – admittedly about another bowl which was smaller and was intended to serve as more of a tea cup rather than a Matcha bowl – and he responded promptly and was very nice.  He provided me a direct link to his Matcha bowls and while I didn’t see anything that piqued my interest right away, about a week later, I revisited his site and found this beautiful Oribe-Style Chawan.

The Chawan arrived very quickly, and was packaged wonderfully!  I’m a sucker for packaging, and I think that when a seller takes the time to put some thought into the way they package your purchase for shipment says a lot about the seller.  The chawan came in a postal box, and tucked inside the box, wrapped in several layers of bubble wrap, was a gift box that bore the Guerrero Ceramics stamp, and inside the box, layered with more bubble wrap, was my wrapped chawan.  Now, when I say “wrapped” I don’t just mean bubble wrap.  Mr. Guerrero took the time to wrap the chawan in a bright yellow fabric – Japanese furoshiki style!

As for the chawan:  I just love it!  It is a bit larger than my previous chawans, almost the size of a typical cereal bowl.  But I actually prefer this size to my smaller chawans because it allows me ample room to whisk without sloshing any of the Matcha out of the bowl in the process.  It also allows me to double up on the amount of Matcha I prepare … because, I’ve found that with my smaller bowls, the Matcha just disappears way too quickly!  To put it simply, bigger bowl = MORE MATCHA!

If you find yourself in need of a new chawan, please, consider shopping handmade!  We artists need and cherish the support, and you won’t find a nicer artist than Jeff Guerrero from Guerrero Ceramics!

PRODUCT REVIEW: Vintage China Clipart Set from Zboooh Design Studio & MyGrafico

Product:

Romantic old fashion vintage china clip art set available in JPEG, PNG, and EPS Format.

Designer:

Zboooh Design Studio

Where To Buy:

MyGraficO

Direct Link to this product in their shop is located HERE

Product Description:

Romantic old fashion vintage china clip art set, ideal for crative paper craft for invitation cards or any other card designs. Retro pots ant teacups with original retro stylish decoration.

Format: EPS (editable with  Adobe Illustrator,  Corel Draw)

300dpi JPEG and 300dpi transparent PNG

Product Review from TeaEqualsBliss:

Anne and I are not only into tea and writing we are both into arts and crafts.  A couple of weeks ago we were chatting about a few new features to SororiTEA Sisters and we decided to include Tea Related Art and Crafting Supplies and Outlets within our Product Reviews!

We felt there was a lack of joining the two interests – Tea and Arts/Crafts – online and on other Tea Review Sites so we decided since we try and include anything and everything TEA here at SororiTEA Sisters we would incorporate them here from time to time.

I have been a fan of the designers over at MyGraficO for quite some time!  I have been and are on a few design teams and can’t get enough of their Digital Stamps, Clip Art, Digital Papers, etc.  Lately I have noticed that MyGraficO has one of the better selections of Tea Related Digital Arts & Craft Components online.  This made me VERY HAPPY!

As you can see from the images above I decided to make a card from this set!  I make at least 3 Handmade Cards a week and I’m always looking for Tea Clipart and Digital Stamps to incorporate in my projects!  I have been getting into some hybrid and altered paper projects as well and I’m sure I will blog about that down the road.  There are some really neat things you can do with these sets!  I have made Tea Swap Envelopes, Packages, Storage Containers, Album Title Pages, Altered Boxes and Tins, the list goes on and on!

Anyways, I hope you like my first card.  And I hope you take a moment to visit MyGraficO!  There are TONS of things on that site!  The Designers are great and the shop owner is even a TEA FAN herself!

If you would like to read more about Digital Stamps – what they are – and how to use them – take a look at this article!

Stay tuned to SororiTEA Sisters for more Tea Related Arts and Crafts along with more Tea Product Reviews!