Leaf Type: Pu-erh
Where to Buy: Tao of Tea
The Tuocha refers to a family of bowl shaped teas, commonly available as Green tea Tuocha, Black tea Tuocha and Puer (aged) Tuocha. More recently, Tuochas have also become commonly available by compressing the tea leaves and flowers together, or by heat infusing them together. In making the Rose Tuocha, more mature leaves of the tea plant are selected in summer, sun-dried, steamed, oxidized to turn dark, then compressed along with rose petals into small bowls. Wrapped with paper, the Rose Tuocha are an ideal size (3 grams) for individual serving.
Flavor Profile: Sweet, smooth, very mild rose flavor with little astringency.
This is certainly different … not at all what I expect when I taste a Pu-erh. Pu-erh tends to be quite a strong, assertive flavor, but with this Pu-erh, you need to throw everything you know about Pu-erh out the window, because it’s so unusual … but in the very best way possible.
When I steep Pu-erh Tuocha like this, I steep them in my gaiwan, using short steeps and multiple infusions. My first cup was the combination of the first two infusions (following a quick 10 second rinse). This cup is really quite light in flavor. A little woodsy with a mellow rose note that is pleasantly sweet. No sharpness, no strong earthy flavors. Smooth and only the faintest hint of astringency at the tail.
My second cup (the combination of the third and fourth infusions), brewed up darker and much bolder than the first cup. The color here is much more like what I’d expect from a Pu-erh, whereas the first cup was more like a black tea. The flavor is more assertive compared to the first, but, still, it is not that typical earthy flavor of Pu-erh. There are some earthy hints that seem to have paired up with the woodsy flavor that I mentioned with the first cup – creating more of a “damp wood” flavor than an earthy note. The floral notes are stronger here too. What this cup actually tastes like to me? Coffee … but without the bitterness and astringency. This tastes rather like a smooth cup of rich coffee.
My third and final cup (the combination of the fifth and sixth infusions) was slightly (only very slightly) lighter in color than the second cup, but the flavor has become much smoother than either the first or the second cup. The floral tone has emerged nicely, and I am still getting that coffee-like flavor that I had mentioned. Of the three cups, this one is definitely my favorite as it has become so unbelievably smooth.
This is an excellent Pu-erh. It would make a good starter Pu-erh for those who are new to the tea. And for those of you who really love rose teas, you should give this one a try … while the rose flavor here is a bit more mellow than a typical rose Congou, I like that this Rose Tuocha shows me a whole new set of flavors to the rose that I would have never experienced from other teas.