Deprecated: Hook custom_css_loaded is deprecated since version jetpack-13.5! Use WordPress Custom CSS instead. Jetpack no longer supports Custom CSS. Read the WordPress.org documentation to learn how to apply custom styles to your site: https://wordpress.org/documentation/article/styles-overview/#applying-custom-css in /home/cuppag5/public_html/wp-includes/functions.php on line 6078
Cooked

2005 Shu Tuo-Phoenix Old Tea Tree Tea from ESGreen

ShuTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Pu-erh Tea

Where to Buy: ES Green

Tea Description:

This cooked(ripe) loose-leaf pu-erh tea has been produced in 2005. Slim tea buds are covered with gold fuzz. Neat and clean.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

2005 Shu Tuo-Phoenix Old Tea Tree Tea from ESGreen is a ripe, cooked loose-leaf pu-erh tea from 2005.   For these tea leaves you will see slim tea buds that are covered with gold fuzz.  The leaves from the 2005 Shu Tuo-Phoenix Old Tea Tree Tea from ESGreen are neat and clean as is the flavor of the offering.

Even though this 2005 Shu Tuo-Phoenix Old Tea Tree Tea from ESGreen smells a bit like wet wood and old cigars once infused it was quite pleasant to the palate!  This infused very dark but also held up to multiple infusions, too.  After a few moments at room temperature the flavor seems to peak at it’s flavor rush to the taste buds.

Pu-erh teas – it seems – I either love them – or hate them.  This one is the first one I put in the middle category because I do like it quite a bit but also can’t say I LOVE it and have it have it every day.  It is an offering to linger on – to take your time with – to appreciate and enjoy the time and artisan-ship that went into it.  It may not be for everyone but if it is for you then by all means…celebrate it!  I, for one, will have another cup!

Canton Mini Tuo Cha Cooked Pu-erh from Canton Tea Co.

canton_cooked_puerhTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Pu-Erh

Where to Buy: Canton Tea Co.

Tea Description:

Our own brand mini tuo cha (nests) are made from authentic chopped puerh leaves from Yunnan, not from the fannings or tea dust as most tuo cha are. We chose a maocha (unprocessed leaf) that has been aged for 4 years, giving the tea a smooth, mellow quality. The leaves are pure Te Ji (aka Tippy Grade), which give a sweeter taste. Brew quickly with hot water in a small pot for up to eight infusions.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

There aren’t many days in the year when I wake up and crave shu, but today is definitely one. My choice of tea this morning was completely obvious, but I decided to go for a new-to-me Pu-erh rather than an old familiar favourite. I’m still on a sharp learning curve when it comes to Pu-erh, so trying a new one is always exciting! This Pu-erh is presented as a Tuo Cha, compressed into a tiny cake shape and individually wrapped. I’m brewing western style this morning, so I placed the Tuo Cha into my infuser basket, and gave it a 30 second rinse in boiling water. Now we’re ready to go!

First Steep

My first steep was for 1 minute in fresh boiling water. The Tuo Cha has more or less held its shape, although it’s fluffed up a little. The liquor is a bright red-brown, the scent strongly earthy with just a hint of fishiness. I expected the flavour to be quite pungent, but it’s actually fairly mild. The main flavour is compost – a delicious, soft, warm earthiness. It’s incredibly smooth and almost a little creamy tasting. I’m picking up a hint of forest floor in the aftertaste, with the emphasis on wet leaves.

Second Steep  

canton_cooked_puerh2My second steep was for 40 seconds in boiling water. The Tuo Cha has now disintegrated, and the resulting liquor is a much stronger, darker affair – a deep black-brown. The scent is again strongly earthy, but the fishiness has now vanished. To taste, this one remains smooth and mellow. I was half expecting an increase in the strength of flavour, but that’s not happened. The earthy, compost-like notes are more clearly defined, and the creaminess has gone, but there’s still an aftertaste of dampness and leaf mulch that’s a lot more pleasant to taste in practice than it sounds.

Third Steep

My third steep was for 40 seconds in boiling water. The liquor this time has regained a little of the reddish tint it had initially, being a deep red-brown verging on black. The scent is still earthy, but this time with more of a “damp” scent upfront. To taste, this is again smooth and mellow. I’m noticing only very slight variations in the overall flavour, which is still earthy and a little damp-tasting. The mulchy, leafy notes are slightly less present this time around, but I’d still describe the main flavour as “compost”. One thing I did notice is that this steep released a significant quantity of sediment, which has settled at the bottom of my mug.

Fourth Steep

My fourth steep was back to 1 minute in boiling water. The liquor this time shows little change from the last steep, still a deep red-brown verging on black. The “damp” scent is a touch stronger, with a little of the earthiness starting to recede. Smooth and mellow are words I’d use again to sum up this infusion. The flavour is slightly lighter than previous steeps, but still earthy and reminiscent of compost and wet leaves. The creaminess from the first steep has started to edge back in.

Fifth Steep

Another minute for the fifth steep, again in boiling water. The liquor colour is noticeably lighter this time, more of a red-brown again. The scent is lighter, too – still damp and earthy, but less so than previously. The flavour is slowly deteriorating, too. It’s still compost, but it’s gradually becoming less intense. It’s smooth and creamy, and a pleasure to drink.

Sixth Steep

My sixth, and final, steep was for 1.5 minutes in boiling water. The liquor is noticeably lighter this time – more of a red-orange. The scent has lost most of its earthiness, and is now primarily “damp” and wet leaf. The flavour is noticeably lighter and much more gentle this time. I can taste wet leaf still, and a hint of something that’s almost menthol – a fresh and cooling edge.

I stopped here largely because I ran out of time. I’m sure there’d be life left in this one for at least a few more steeps, though. The flavour is noticeably less than it was, but it’s be nice to see a little more of the creaminess and menthol notes that were present during the last couple of steeps. I would have liked to have seen a little more flavour variation in earlier steeps, because by the end of the day it had become a little samey and one note. I enjoyed my time with this tea, though, and it’s a shu I’d certainly consider purchasing in the future. I liked that it wasn’t too pungent to begin with – sometimes that’s the hardest hurdle for me to overcome when I’m drinking Pu-erh. It’s usually always worth it for the later steeps, though. This would make a good introductory Pu-erh, or a soild choice if you’re looking for strong compost or earthy flavours. It’s a thorough “well done” to Canton Tea Co.!

Menghai Shou Pu-erh Third Grade (2008) from Wymm Tea

MenghaiShou3rdTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Pu-erh

Where to Buy:  Wymm Tea

Tea Description:

This shu pu-erh brews with a rich and honey flavor and long-lasting jasmine rice aroma. Small buds from high mountains in Menghai County, located in west of Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture in Yunnan Province, are picked to make the tea in 2008. Pu-erh tea has the potential to ferment over time, and this tea has been post-fermented for 6 years since production. Post-fermentation gives the tea vibrant flavours and richer aroma as well as deep wine colour.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

WynnTeasPresentation1I was so excited when I received my package from Wymm Tea!  What a fun presentation I received from them!  They sent me four samples of Pu-erh and they were all nestled in this really cute carton.  I really love it when a tea company puts thought into their packaging like this.  It’s a little like getting a gift in the mail.  And the only thing that’s just as much fun as getting tea in the mail is getting a gift in the mail – when the two are combined – we’re talking Pure Tea Joy!

And it may surprise you to hear that the tea inside that carton is also eliciting joy from me too!  Yep, it’s pu-erh, and yep … it’s making me happy!  Each of the samples was wrapped in rice paper (I love rice paper) and it was like a little gift inside each rice paper bundle!

Menghai Shou Third Grade
Menghai Shou Third Grade (2008)

I’m really enjoying this Menghai Shou Pu-erh Third Grade (2008) from Wymm Tea.  My first two infusions were very mellow – mild tasting with very little earthiness (I like that a lot!) but with a deep, lovely flavor that evoked thoughts of molasses.  I also pick up on some slight woodsy/earthy notes that remind me of a walk through the woods after a rain.  (There are a lot of places up here in the Pacific Northwest that offer that kind of experience!)

These first two cups disappeared so quickly, that I’m having to write most of this from the memory of them.

My third cup has a stronger flavor than the first two.  It’s a very mellow tasting tea with a very delicate earthiness to the flavor.  The earthiness slowly emerges with this tea and I like that.  I’m not being hit over the head with a strong, earthy flavor.

I taste notes of jasmine rice (a favorite staple in this house).  The texture is smooth and there is no astringency.  No bitterness.  It’s sweet, molasses-y, with hints of rice.  I’m not tasting any briny, fishy or other ‘odd’ undesirable flavors that sometimes are tasted with Pu-erh – this is the GOOD stuff.

I find that with each new cup of this tea – the flavor gets deeper with a more developed sweetness.  I never encounter any bitterness or strong, off-putting flavors.  Just a lovely, mild, remarkably smooth tea experience.

And, just in case you’re wondering what the different “grades” mean, according to the website:

First grade contains the smallest leaves while seventh grade contains the largest leaves. There is marginal difference in the taste; first grade has a slightly stronger and woodier flavour, while the seventh grade has a milder and sweeter flavour. The third and fifth grades fall in between of the first and seventh grade.

And if this tea is something “in between a stronger/woodier flavor and the sweet/mild flavor, then I’m in for a real treat when I get to the seventh grade tea!

A really lovely, delightful ancient tree pu-erh – I highly recommend it!

2002 Ripe/Cooked Pu-erh Mini Bing-Tea Cake from ESGreen

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Pu-erh

Where to Buy:  ESGreen

Tea Description:

This mini tea cake was made by high-level material made from broad-leaved wild tea trees. Traditional court recipe.

The vintage  year is 2002, which is over 10 year now.

Learn more about this pu-erh here.

Taster’s Review:

As I’ve mentioned (more than once!), I’ve had a very difficult relationship with Pu-erh.  It started off really bad … and I think it is those bad memories that taint my experiences with Pu-erh even now.  And really, I don’t think it was the fault of the Pu-erh back then… it was my lack of knowledge.  I didn’t know how to brew a Pu-erh properly, and I ended up with a very earthy dark tea that made me think I was drinking a very thin mud rather than tea.  It wasn’t pleasant.

But that was then, and this is now!

And I have learned quite a bit since then, I have learned better ways of brewing tea.  I have come to embrace the gaiwan as not a “gadget” but an essential tool for tea making.  I love my gaiwan, because I have not only rediscovered the joy of Oolong but have also learned there is much joy to be discovered even with a tea I once disliked:  Pu-erh!

It’s the earthiness that was off-putting.  And when brewed improperly, a Pu-erh can be overwhelmingly earthy, so much so that it is really REALLY off-putting.  But when brewed correctly, a Pu-erh can be so delightfully complex while maintaining a mellow character that is really quite enjoyable.

This Pu-erh is indeed earthy – but the strongest earthy tones are experienced in its aroma, when the tea is in its dry cake form.  After a quick rinse and a 30 second infusion, I smell and taste only a very delicate earthiness, which is layered with an intense sweetness that is like caramel.  It is very smooth.

I’ve often heard Pu-erh compared to a “fishy” taste but I don’t taste that here.  There is a slight mushroom-y/earthy flavor to it, but not at all fishy.  The sweetness is what I taste most, it is very mellow and remarkably smooth.  It’s a really excellent value, too, because I got six very flavorful infusions from one mini tea cake, and I think it would have given many more!

This is one of those Pu-erh teas that I’d recommend to someone who has had bad luck with Pu-erh in the past … this is a good one and certainly worthy of a try.  You might just find this one to your liking!

Organic Topaz Pu-er from The Tao of Tea

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Pu-erh

Where to Buy:  The Tao of Tea

Product Description:

Native Name: Shu Bing

Origin: Central Yunnan Province, China

Plucking Season: Fall

Introduction: A cooked style pu-er, made at one of the few certified organic tea gradens in central Yunnan. Can endure many steepings, and does not become astringent. We don’t expect it to gain any flavor change over time.

Taster’s Review:

As I’ve mentioned before (several times), Pu-erh is a little intimidating to me.  My first few experiences with Pu-erh were not pleasant ones, and since that time, I’ve been very hesitant to try it again.  It wasn’t until about a year and a half ago that I decided to try to expand my horizons and try to develop a taste for Pu-erh.  It is, after all, an acquired taste (for some of us at least!  I do understand that there are some people that love this stuff right off the bat!  For the rest of us though, it takes a little time!)

The dry leaf does not possess much of an aroma, and this was encouraging me, because it is often that strong earthy essence that I find off-putting when it comes to Pu-erh.  However, after steeping, I noticed the liquor developed an earthy scent.  Fortunately, though, it was not nearly as strong as some Pu-erh teas that I’ve tried, so I remained optimistic.  Given the fact that I’ve been very pleased with other teas I’ve tried from The Tao of Tea, I had good reason to remain optimistic!

This is remarkably smooth.  It is a bold, full-flavored cup with a pleasant tone of sweetness.  In the past, I have often compared the sweetness of cooked Pu-erh to caramel, and while this does possess some of those “caramel” tones to it, I would say that this is not quite as caramel-y as some of the teas I’ve tasted.  It is more like molasses, but without that molasses-y bitterness.

The flavor is earthy, but a subdued earthiness with a woody undertone to it. This is a very pleasant Pu-erh.  Not one I would consider a favorite but, one that I am happy I had the opportunity to try and one that I wouldn’t turn down if I were offered it again.  The Tao of Tea does it again!