Leaf Type: Pu’erh
Where to Buy: The Persimmon Tree
The Honeysuckle pu-erh tea delivers a deep red infusion with a sweet woodsy, floral aroma. The finished brew is mild and earthy, with a lingering hint of honeysuckle. This honeysuckle tea can be steeped multiple times in a sitting without becoming bitter. This particular pu-erh is cooked and has been aged for about 4-6 years.
Learn more about this tea here.
The urge to drink Pu’erh comes and goes with me, perhaps largely because I initially found it a very acquired taste. Even though I’ve now tried a significant variety of different Pu’erhs, I still feel that I’m learning about the variety and discovering new things. This tea, for instance. I’ve never tried a floral Pu’erh before, or any variety flavoured with honeysuckle, come to that. It’s a real first! I treated this one as I would generally treat a loose-leaf Pu’erh, using 1 tsp of leaf in boiling water. I tend to vary the brew time based on the individual tea and the strength/scent/liquor colour, but went with a fairly standard (for me) 1 minute this time. The resulting liquor is a medium red-brown. The scent once brewed, and while brewing, is very evidently a Pu’erh – it has quite pungent manure notes!
To taste, this has to be one of the most unique Pu’erhs I’ve tried so far. I was expecting a fairly standard earthy/manure flavour based purely on the scent, but it’s actually nothing like that. Instead, there’s an initial almost-sharpness, which blossoms into a heavy, sweet, nectar like floral. Honeysuckle! There are virtually no earth or manure flavours to be found, which is a big surprise. The sweetness seems very natural, and isn’t at all overpowering. I think it’s helped by a sort of yogurt-like note which contributes a cool, tangy freshness to the overall cup.
I really like this one. I’m definitely the kind of person that objects to strong manure flavours in their tea, although I don’t mind earthiness at all. This one is pretty unique amongst those I’ve tried in that it has no earth or manure notes (despite the scent). The flavouring is sufficiently strong that the honeysuckle is front and centre pretty much the whole time, although as it cools this does dissipate a little to reveal just a hint of what lurks beneath. I’m pretty sure a fairly conservative brew time helped here – a longer one might herald more of a “traditional” Pu’erh flavour. I personally like the honeysuckle, though, so I’ll always err on the side of caution when brewing this one. It’s an outstandingly flavourful cup!
I still have a deep rooted (and probably life-long) preference for black tea. My all-time favourite is Assam, but Ceylon and Darjeeling also occupy a place in my heart. Flavoured black tea can be a beautiful thing, and I like a good chai latte in the winter.
I also drink a lot of rooibos/honeybush tea, particularly on an evening. Sometimes they're the best dessert replacements, too. White teas are a staple in summer -- their lightness and delicate nature is something I can always appreciate on a hot day.
I'm still warming up to green teas and oolongs. I don't think they'll ever be my favourites, with a few rare exceptions, but I don't hate them anymore. My experience of these teas is still very much a work-in-progress. I'm also beginning to explore pu'erh, both ripened and raw. That's my latest challenge!
I'm still searching for the perfect fruit tea. One without hibiscus. That actually tastes of fruit.
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