Limited Yiwu Spring 2016 from Bitterleaf Teas

I’m not usually a pu erh tea drinker but I saw the lovely label from Kelly Puissegur on the Yiwu Spring 2016 blend from Bitterleaf Teas and had to give it a go.  This is a limited run of tea, so you won’t be able to get this exact blend anymore, but the same tea harvest for 2017 can be found in the year of the rooster blend.

This tea starts off like many of my past pu erh tea sessions.  The scents are intense and fermented, and off-putting to me as a prelude for something I’m about to taste.  The aroma isn’t bad exactly, in fact with smells like old books or leather or wet grass, I find the flavors to be nostalgic and dreamy; they just aren’t something I’d personally want to smell right before I take a sip.

I steeped this tea over the course of a session, brewing several times.  Before I even tasted it, I stepped for 1 minute in 200F water to rinse and let the leaves open up.  After that I steeped for increasing 5 second intervals.

The first brew had the typical hay barn scent I expect, but less fermented and much more fresh.  Almost like green grapes or wet peony flowers. The brightness in the first steep was a pleasant surprise.

In the second steep there was more white tea buttery earthiness, but still the green grapes and peony came through on the aftertaste.  The tea is very smooth on the tongue.

In the third steep the hay scent was more gentle and the overall flavors were more relaxed.  The brew was sweeter almost like cacao earth tones and smooth honey floral flavors, paired with a very pleasant caramelly mouthfeel.

On the fourth steep and beyond, the tea still holds up the fresh grape and peony tones, but eventually the earthy cacao flavors end up taking over.

I’m not a pu erh expect but this tea took me by surprise and contained pleasantly complex flavors that I wasn’t expecting.  Be bold and try one of Bitterleaf Teas’ pu erh harvests for your next brew.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Pu erh
Where to Buy: Bitter Leaf Teas
Description:

This Yiwu raw puer is one of our two Year of the Monkey puers. The material for this tea comes from a recently transitioned fang yang (literally meaning “left to grow”) garden that receives minimal human interference, to the extent that all weeding is done once a year by hand (taking up to one month) and is harvested only in the Spring. The tea itself has an initial and surprising honey-like sweetness at the front, which yields to some slight roughness and unique lasting aroma. With good cha qi/tea energy and a solid mineral fragrance that lingers, this is a strong candidate for storage.

Typical of Yiwu teas, this one is on the softer side of things for now, but still maintains a solid backbone with plenty to offer. This also makes it a very drinkable young raw puer, and well suited for beginners and experienced drinkers alike. Don’t be fooled though, Yiwu teas tend to age well, even if they seem lighter in their early years.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Chocolate PuErh from Numi Organic Teas

Numi’s Chocolate Pu-erh bags are the perfect intro to flavored Puerh: organic yet inexpensive, and bagged for easy travel. In fact it was the very first tea I pulled from my very first sampler, an inexpensive add-on in my amazon cart. This is also sold loose leaf by the pound.

I have to admit I was skeptical because not only did I dislike chocolate, but I also had heard “fishy” things about the fermented tea. But as a scientist, I had to test these assumptions, and the evidence supported the null hypothesis. This was a light bodied, full flavor tea, that I’ve found is impossible to screw up in the brewing process.

This silky brown infusion reminds me of a hot cocoa with toasted marshmallows fresh from the campfire, and ooooooh that tiniest hint of that nutmeg. Alton Brown would be proud.  As a final touch of perfection, cue a chef’s kiss, no sweetener was needed!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Flavored Pu-Erh
Where to Buy: Numi Tea

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!

Puerh from Pinky Out. . .

The further I delve into the world of tea the more I am astounded by its depth. Behind every tea, every brand, dear I say even every leaf, lies a story.While on a recent cruise I read The Tea Girl Of Hummingbird Lane. This book is not only well written but also truly enlightening on tea. More specifically though on Pu Er; which of course is what this tea is.

Complex is understatement. And Pu Er is only a sub category of Dark tea! I have to admit I wasn’t really a fan of pu er but perhaps that is only because I tasted a fake or something to the same accord. Though I don’t mind this one. I honestly do not smell anything from the dry leaves. One who has looked at plenty of leaves can tell this is different then black tea but the differences between ripe, aged, raw are something I … have no idea. There is a mild smell in the wet leaves. Something I can’t quite define, something of the earth. The liquid is quite a bit darker then I was expecting. Some say it tastes like dirt but then I wonder what type of dirt these people are chewing on. It has a bit of a heavier body in my opinion complete with some unique earthy flavors.

Part of me wonders where this one was harvested. The general public would say, “China of course!” But those who love tea know there is more to it then that.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Pu Erh
Where to Buy: Pinky Out
Description

Pu-erh is said to have originated during the Eastern Han Dynasty in the Yunnan Province.

Pu-erh was traded heavily along what was known as “The Ancient Tea Route” or “Tea Horse Road”. Around a thousand years ago Yunnan, one of the first tea producing regions traded Pu-Erh along the route. The tea traveled a long road by horse, mule, and even person. Pu-Erh made an excellent tea for this sort of travel, as it did not spoil easily during the long trips. In fact it was found that Pu-Erh actually improved with time boasting yet another advantage for the Yunnanese.

Sourced from China no matter how far our Pu-Erh has to travel before it makes it to your cup, you can be sure it will still boast the same authentic flavor and health benefits sought after during the time of The Ancient Tea Route.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Chocolate from Pu-Erh Numi Teas. . . .

I’ve found that sometimes pu-erh teas can be a bit complicated, there’s a lot of history and process that’s worth knowing if you take your pu-erh seriously.  However, I had a completely different experience with Chocolate Pu -Erh from Numi, which is one of the most approachable pu-erh teas I’ve tried.

Pu-erh teas are known for their exceptionally smooth mouthfeel and their earthy taste.  Adding chocolate to that combination sounds like a great idea. This Chocolate Pu-Erh came in an easy-to-use sample tea bag, not in a big tea cake, so no special tools or teapots were necessary.  Just add hot water and a mug. The dry tea smelled a little sour with a hint of vinegar. However, once I brewed the tea, the flavors were far more inviting, with a strong fragrance of cocoa and roasted nuts.

This tea had a forward chocolate flavor, but it was rounded out by the more savory, earthiness of the pu erh tea underneath.  There is a hint of fermentation flavors that I expect from pu-erh teas; a subtle undertone, almost like wet leaves or flowers, slightly sweet and slightly sour.  The richness of the pu-erh leaves and the decadence of the chocolate are only enhanced by the creamy, velvety mouthfeel as I sipped this tea.

If you are tired of the bright and biting flavors of breakfast black teas, try a pu-erh tea like Chocolate Pu-Erh from Numi.  The rich, smooth, taste and texture are a completely different experience that may open the door to a new world of teas to try.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Pu erh
Where to Buy: Numi Teas
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!

Pistachio Orange Pu Erh from Fava Tea Company

Everyone where I work sniffed this bag and declared the scent heavenly. It smells like a tray of cookies. Nutty and sweet and a little zesty.

And it TASTES LIKE THAT, TOO. You guys. This was the Find Of The Week.

This is Mrs-Claus-in-a-tea. Imagine the prototypical grandma, with an army of tiny elf children assisting and getting the sprinkles and sugar everywhere. She is baking and listening to Jackson 5 and shimmying that caboose all around. Outside, the reindeer are watching through frosted windows. Rudolph is in the forefront, glowing like the attention-grabber he is. He knows that ol’ Mrs Claus can’t resist that round red nose. (She loves round red things! The nose reminds her of Santa!) She’ll be out with freshly-baked cookies for him as soon as they’re out of the oven and cooled.

Is there more tea like this in Fava’s workshop? I promised myself I’d stop buying tea until I wrap up the samples I have now… but I’m tempted to try a few more of Fava’s blends.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Puerh
Where to Buy:  Fava Tea Company
Description

Hand blended to perfection this blend is the perfect compliment of earthy pu-erh, nutty pistachio and sweet citrus! You are my sunshine….! You’ll be singing as you enjoy this blend iced during the spring and summer months and hot during the cooler fall and winter months of the year. This blend has been described as a Pistachio Orange Cake with Buttercream…

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!