2008 Menghai Ripened Puerh/Teavivre

I was introduced to Teavivre by a Tea Friend on Facebook. She told me that it was some of the best teas she had ever tried.

With that glowing recommendation I went to check out their site. They had a fantastic promotion going where you could get 5 FREE samples if you paid the $4.90 shipping.

What an awesome deal!

When I opened the sample bag I had a hard time smelling the pu-erh so I poured it into my Gaiwan. Once it was in there I was able to smell a sweet, fruity, honey-like aroma. It was such a nice smell I was excited for my first sip! Teavivre recommends the brew temperature of 212ºF for 3-5 minutes.

However, if you look on their website that is if you are making a full cup. Since I am making my Pu-erh in a Gaiwan they had different instructions!

For the Chinese Gongfu Method they recommend to still use 212ºF water for 12 separate steepings: rinse twice, 15 seconds, 15s, 15s, 15s, 15s, 15s, 20s, 30s, 40s, 60s, 100s, 160s. It goes on to say that each rinse time is 5 seconds.

As the first and second rinse steeped I could tell why they recommended a rinse, these first steepings had an almost smoky aroma which I wasn’t expecting. I am not a huge fan of smoky teas so I was a little nervous.

By the first 15 second steeping the smoky smell had completely disappeared and I was left with a mild, sweet smell with just the right amount of earthiness. There was a light nuttiness to the flavor which was incredibly pleasant. As I went through each steeping the tea became sweeter and more floral in aroma and kept the sweet but nutty flavor.

I absolutely loved this tea and would highly recommend it to anyone that likes a darker tea or is generally curious about Pu-erh tea. This is a great starter pu-erh, the sweet flavor will pull you in! Also, since it is so low in caffeine (less than 10% of a cup of coffee) it is one that you can drink at any time of day. Also, since you can get so many steepings out of the tea leaves it is absolutely worth the money you spend.

I look forward to adding more of this tea to my cabinet!


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Leaf Type:  Puerh

Where to Buy: Teavivre

Description

Soft and smooth, rich and thick texture

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Chocolate Puerh/Numi

Sometimes I read up on a tea before trying it. Sometimes I just make a cup and start sipping. I figured “chocolate” and “puerh” were pretty self-explanatory so I boiled some water and got down to business.

I expected the earthy flavor of puerh tea and rich chocolate or cocoa taste. Before I even tasted it, I smelled something more akin to Mexican hot chocolate. What’s going on here?

The first sip offered a sweet spice that I wasn’t expecting. I knew I tasted cinnamon and something else…nutmeg! And cardamom! The puerh flavor is pretty light, the chocolate flavor is mild enough not to cover up the spices and thankfully doesn’t have that horrible mildew odor that some chocolate teas have. There is honeybush and rooibos in this, which must be part of the foundational symphony of flavors because they don’t stand out on their own to me. I actively dislike rooibos so for me to enjoy this means there isn’t much here, or it is adequately covered by the other flavors. I am not really picking up the orange flavor, and I am glad because orange + cinnamon has been done to death!

We don’t do tea bags much. Bags that are dirt cheap usually aren’t a quality that we enjoy. Bags that are not dirt cheap need to resteep for us or they just aren’t worth buying. I am on steep three for this one. I approve!

TLDR: light earthy puerh that tastes like cocoa with cardamom, nutmeg, and cinnamon, reminiscent of Mexican hot chocolate.


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Puerh

Where to Buy:  Numi Organic Tea

Description

This velvety infusion combines black Pu∙erh tea and organic cocoa. Accented by whole vanilla beans and sweet orange peel, this decadent blend is rounded off with nutmeg and cinnamon for a spicy finish.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Crassicolumna Sheng + Tea Flower Cake / Verdant

Never judge a pu er by it’s cake. If you think a tea cake is a cake made with sugar and tea you would be 50% correct. A tea cake, generally made with pu er, is made by pressing leaves together to form a circle. Pu er is unique in that it is actually a subcategory of dark tea.

Don’t know what Dark tea is? Go to Google and prepare to have your mind blown! Moving on, I’ve been breaking the cake apart with a knife but I now realize I should probably be using something more akin to a flathead screwdriver. The wrong method can create finer pieces.

Of course, I’m a noob when it comes to pu er in general so this is all a new learning experience for me. As far as flavor goes I find it earthy. Dry forest floor. Very little astringency. Pu er is a very forgiving tea. The suggested steep time is 10 seconds for Gong fu method and 30 seconds for American style.

Luckily if you are forgetful or easily distracted *ooo shiny* you can be assured that it won’t become overly tannic.


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Leaf Type: Pu Er

Where to Buy: Verdant Tea

Description:

Camellia crassicolumna is a close relative to the tea plant, growing wild in the forests of Qianjiazhai alongside Camellia sinensis var. assamica and many other near-relative species that are even now being categorized by botanists. Crassicolumna grows distinctively tall, making it very difficult to pick, but the payoff is a deeply complex spice-forward flavor, and intense lingering sweetness, all without caffeine. When finished like sheng pu’er, Camellia crassicolumna ages just like tea into deeper complexity.

Mr. Zhou blended the giant crassicolumna leaves with about 10% tea flowers picked from wildly propagated Camellia sinensis var. assamica plants. These flowers add a tiny amount of caffeine back into the mix, but also add deep sweetness and a sunny marigold profile, rounding out the crisp edge of the Crassicolumna with layers of sweet deep complexity.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Chocolate Truffle Organic Pu-Erh Tea/Fraser Tea. . . .

This delicious, sweet, creamy goodness is a mix of rich pu’erh tea, cacoa nibs, and flower petals (mostly for appearance, I suspect). The flavor profile of this is a warm chocolate bar. One that will kick you awake with caffeine.

My husband and I like to walk around on New Years Eve in our town, look at ice sculptures, and drink hot chocolate. This tastes like that night. It tastes like the excitement of a new year. It tastes like a red nose and hand-holding.

It tastes, possibly, like a trip to the ski lodge, though I don’t EVER participate in sports, so I wouldn’t know.

If you’re in the mood for a sweet picker-upper, give this one a whirl!


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Leaf Type:  Puerh

Where to Buy:  Fraser Tea

Description

Decadent Chocolate Truffle is an organic, healthful beverage with calming effects. Delight in the richness of chocolate and comforting cream in your first sip of this high quality organic Pu-erh tea. Fraser Tea handpicks all teas and chose this Pu-erh variety for its ability to improve with time. Often used as a slimming tea for those working to manage weight and wellness, this tea is sought all over the world.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Polka Dot Bikini/Fraser Tea. . .

Our family loves puerh tea, so I saved this organic offering as a special treat for our next gathering. I have had chocolate puerh, rich and dark. I have had dried orange puerh, dark tea with bright citrus notes. I expected this to be a combination of the two.

Well, it wasn’t at all what I expected, but I loved what I got! The scent was very sweet and candy-like, and the tea color and body were both light. The puerh is pretty subdued in scent and taste.

The aroma was strong, and it finally hit me. It smelled like orange-flavored baby aspirin chewables, those tiny pills I loved as a child! Seriously, they should make those for adults! The chocolate is the pure chocolate taste you get from cocoa nibs, not the cloying candy kind, and it goes great with the orange.

Everyone loved it and we were able to resteep the leaves several times with great results.

The tea is called Polka Dot Bikini and it just might help get ready for a spring and summer packed with activities all day long. Puerh is traditionally used to aid digestion, lower cholesterol, and alleviate symptoms of a hangover, and is considered a weight loss tea in China. In Asian traditional medicine, eleuthero is used for increasing chi (energy) and has been studied as an adaptogen. If it works, it will keep that beach volleyball game going all afternoon.

There is fennel in this, also used as a digestive aid, but it was very light. I wouldn’t have known it was there if I hadn’t seen the ingredient list, but I am sire it is contributing to the overall silky, sweet, bright flavor of the blend.

I loved this tea hot, and I think it is a safe bet that would make an awesome iced tea to accompany all your summertime activities.


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Puerh

Where to Buy:  Fraser Tea

Description

For a delicious treat that is ripe with many health benefits, try Polka Dot Bikini Organic Pu-erh Tea.  Believed to help break down fat cells, organic pu-erh tea is blended with fresh cocoa nibs, orange peel, fennel, and powerful eleuthero root to bolster stamina.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!