Chocolate Mini Shu Pu-er (2000) from White Two Tea

Chocolate_MiniTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Pu-erh

Where to Buy: White Two Tea

Tea Description:

The 2000 Chocolate Mini Shu Puer bricks are so named for their small shape, rather than their flavor, which is more of a fruity sweetness. Each tin contains 100 grams of tea, which brews up dark and smooth. We recommend breaking the bricks apart and giving them a rinse, as some still have very tight compression and take awhile to open up.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

These little Mini tea cakes do look a little bit like a square of chocolate!  They don’t really smell like it though.  Dry, the aroma is earthy.  The brewed liquid has a softer scent, still earthy but the aroma is not quite as strong.

To brew this, I grabbed my gaiwan!  I broke the brick off into layers with a knife – this is a very tightly compressed brick!  Using 195°F water, I did a 15 second rinse and discarded the liquid, and then I filled the gaiwan with more hot water and let it steep for 30 seconds.  Ordinarily, I would steep it for 45 seconds but after 30 seconds, the liquid was quite dark so I decided to go ahead and strain off the tea at 30 seconds.

Chocolate_Mini1And I’m glad I did!  This first infusion was perfect!

The flavor is sweet!  Just as the description above suggests, the flavor has a fruity sweetness.  I taste notes of sweet plum and even a hint of peach.  The sweetness is profound, with notes of molasses along with the sweet fruit tones.

The flavor isn’t really chocolate-y.  There are notes of earth – but they are far more subtle than the aroma of the dry leaf and even than the brewed tea might lead you to think.  It’s a gentle earthiness that evokes thoughts of mushroom.  It’s a very smooth tasting tea with no astringency or bitterness.  It has a pleasant mouthfeel.

It’s a really enjoyable pu-erh.

And of course, with a pu-erh, I’m treated to many wonderful infusions!  The second infusion I steeped for just 30 seconds as well, and it was a very deep, full taste.  Very mellow!  In later infusions, the earthy flavors developed and I started to pick up on some woodsy flavors that evoked thoughts of the damp wooded areas up here in the Pacific Northwest.

The plum and peach notes seemed to subside a little bit, or maybe I should say that the fruit flavors developed into more of a date and fig flavor with notes of dark raisin.  I liked the way these sweeter fruit flavors tasted with the notes of molasses.  It was quite an enjoyable experience.

A really nice tea with which to spend an afternoon!

1997 Light Green 7582 Private Order Pu-erh Tea from White Two Tea

1997_7582 Raw PuerTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Pu-erh

Where to Buy:  White Two Tea

Tea Description:  

This cake is made from the Menghai factory recipe 7582, composed of many larger leaves. This production was made on private order at a smaller factory between  1995-1999, we decided to take the median of the age and list it as 1997, though we can not pinpoint an exact year. The tea is already smooth and easy to drink. There is some humidity that still shows up in early steeps.

Learn more about this tea here.

Learn more about White Two Tea’s Tea Club Subscription here.

Taster’s Review:


The aroma of the dry leaf is delicate and earthy.  It’s not a strong fragrance which I sometimes find in an aged tea.  I’m glad the earthy notes are rather subtle here because it’s usually that really strong, earthy scent that I find off-putting.  This is not off-putting at all.

To brew it, I grabbed my gaiwan.  I eyeballed a measurement of leaf (the sampling I received from White Two Tea had been broken off the cake) and placed it in my gaiwan.  After having brewed cake pu-erh enough times, I’ve gotten to the point where I can recognize by sight how much tea is “the right amount.”

As I said, the sampling had already been broken off the cake, but a couple of the pieces were a little thicker, so I took a knife and I split the leaves apart so that I’d get a proper infusion.

I brought the water in my kettle to 185° and I poured enough water into my gaiwan to cover the leaves.  Then I let that steep for 15 seconds and strained off the liquid, discarding it.  This is a “rinse” or a reawakening of the leaves.  I find this step is crucial for the best tasting cup of tea.

Then I filled the gaiwan with more water (same temperature) and let it steep for 45 seconds and strained it into my little teacup.

Ah … this is lovely!  It’s sweet and mellow.  The earthiness is perhaps the most pleasant earthiness I’ve yet to taste from a pu-erh.  There have been times when the earthy qualities are just not pleasant at all.  They taste a bit more like earth than they do earthy, if you get what I’m saying.  But, this is more like the flavor of a mushroom.  That’s the kind of earthy I like.

It’s not brine-y.  It doesn’t taste fishy.  It’s remarkably smooth with no astringency and no bitterness.  It’s a really lovely cup of tea.  And since it’s a pu-erh, I can take this for several infusions (and by several infusions – when it comes to pu-erh – I mean more than 3 or 4!)

The second infusion presented a slightly deeper flavor than the first.  Earthy, and I’m starting to pick up on the development of a caramel-y like flavor.  Very pleasant.  Mild.  Smooth.  A hint of a vegetative flavor that complements the aforementioned mushroom note.

The flavor kept getting deeper with each subsequent infusion.  It remained very mellow, smooth and sweet.  The sweetness develops from a caramel-y note to more of a dark molasses-y type of flavor.

I picked up on notes of raw cacao in later infusions.  I’m also picking up on a mineral-y quality and a slight ‘tangy’ note to it.  Not astringent tangy, but as if someone had squeezed a lime on my tongue but without the distinct lime note.

I really enjoyed this tea – the first that I’ve tried from this new-to-me company!  I found this experience to be quite encouraging of what is to come!

Wild Orange Pu’er Tea from Teasenz

orangepuerTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Pu-erh

Where to Buy:  Teasenz

Tea Description:

SMOOTH, FRUITY with ORANGE AROMA: A beautiful tea for the adventurous tea drinker. Definitely a master piece resulting from aging pu’er leaves in a hollowed out wild orange (clementines). Simply a must-have for any pu’er tea collector. 

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Even though I am rarely “excited” to try a pu-erh tea, I have to admit that I was a little excited to try this Wild Orange Pu’er Tea from Teasenz.  Especially after opening the foil packaging and seeing the dried tangerine casing.  Maybe it’s silly (my husband would say “nerdy”) of me to think so … but these tiny dried oranges filled with pu-erh are just … so cool and clever!

But how to prepare this tea?  I can imagine someone new to tea might find the tangerine casing to be a bit confounding.  And to be perfectly honest, I can’t tell you if I did it “right” or not … but I’ll tell you what I did.

Since I brew pu-erh in my gaiwan, I cut away the tight cellophane wrapping from the dried tangerine, and then I took off the little “lid” of the tangerine and cut into the side of the fruit.  I cut off a portion of the dried tangerine peel, and then I scooped out some of the dark tea leaves and I put the bit of tangerine peel and the scoop of dark tea leaves into my gaiwan.

Then I brewed it the way I would normally brew pu-erh:  with a quick 15 second rinse, and then I started infusing.  My first infusion was 45 seconds, and then I added 15 seconds to each subsequent infusion.  I got eight tasty infusions out of this one bit of Wild Orange Pu’er.

And from someone who tends to be timid when it comes to pu-erh, I like the tangerine flavor that the casing imparts on the earthy tea.  The fruit notes balance out the earthy tones without making it taste too “sweet” and without making it taste as though it’s been artificially flavored.  The tangerine comes through, providing notes of sweet and hints of tart.

If I had to choose just one word to describe this tea, that word would be mellow.  The flavor of the tea is sweet with notes of deep caramel, but overall, it’s a very smooth and mellow taste.  There is earthy notes but it doesn’t taste brine-y or fishy.  The orange notes are also mellow, but they do a little more than just mellow out the earthy tones here … the tangerine also brightens the overall flavor.

This is definitely an ideal pu-erh for someone who – like me – tends to shy away from pu-erh because of its strong earthy overtures.  The fruit notes soften the earthy notes … bringing a taste that is neither too fruity nor too earthy.  This is just right.  Even in the subsequent infusions, as the fruit notes tend to taper, I found that the tea kept it’s mellowness and did not ever taste too earthy.

A true delight!