2011 Douji “Nuan Jiang Shan” Ripe Puerh Tea from China Cha Dao

doujiPuerhTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Pu-erh

Where to Buy:  China Cha Dao

Tea Description:

Douji’s Riped Puerh Series.

2011 Douji “Nuan Jiang Shan” (Warm River Mountain) Ripe Puerh Loose Leaf Tea 200g

Recommend Douji Product, good for collecting, limited product due to its low production!

Aroma – Mellow, unique.

Flavor – Thick, Smooth and Sweet.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

With my first sip of this 2011 Douji “Nuan Jiang Shan” Ripe Puerh Tea from China Cha Dao my first reaction was one of surprise!  I couldn’t believe I was sipping a Pu-erh!  This tastes so sweet and fruity!  Where’s the earthiness I was expecting from a ripe Pu-erh?  After a couple of sips, a slight earthiness does develop, but only after I had the opportunity to explore the other flavors that this unique Pu-erh has to offer.

The aroma of the dry leaf is sweet and mildly earthy.  The wet leaf has a stronger earth note, much more like what I’d expect from a Pu-erh.  The brewed tea has very little fragrance.

The sip starts out pleasantly sweet – not at all cloying – and the sip is abundant with fruit notes.  Like juicy, ripe peaches and melon.  There is a distinct vanilla tone to this as well … almost creamy!  As I continue to explore the tea, I notice notes of wood.

The earthiness doesn’t reach the palate until I’ve consumed about half the cup, and even then, it is such a faint hint of earthiness that if I wasn’t so intently focused on everything I was tasting … I might have missed the earthy tones all together.  This is the kind of Pu-erh I’d recommend to someone who typically avoids Pu-erh because of that earthy/fishy/brine-y sort of taste … because I’m not getting that at all.

After reading TeaEqualsBliss’s thoughts on this tea, I found myself surprised again … because I just didn’t get the earthiness that she experienced from this tea.  I got a delicious, delightful sweetness and an incredible smoothness.  This is a lovely Pu-erh – one I’d highly recommend to all tea lovers out there!

PS:  I’d love to hear any of your thoughts on this tea as well!

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!

Strawberry Cupcake from Simpson and Vail

Strawberry Cupcake from Simpson and Vail
Strawberry Cupcake from Simpson and Vail

Tea Information:

Leaf Type: Black

Where to Buy: Simpson & Vail

Tea Description:

When you sip this delectable brew the strawberry taste first hits your tastebuds followed by the rich, creamy, chocolate “cake” taste. Some of our staff like this blend with agave or sugar, but I find it’s delicious (and less caloric) as is! The aroma is as enticing as the taste – sweet, baked strawberry cupcakes. Yum! The cup leaves a lingering creamy taste of fresh fruit that makes it hard to resist another and another and another sip!

Ingredients: Indian black tea, strawberry pieces, strawberry leaf and strawberry cupcake flavoring.

Brew tea at 212ºF – steep for 3 minutes.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

This Strawberry Cupcake from Simpson and Vail is one of the freshest tasting strawberry teas I have ever sampled. As a dessert tea however I do wish it were a little fuller in the mouthfeel. That is not to say it is thin or watery but I do think that somehow the ripe fresh juiciness almost hurts the thickness in the mouthfeel. I know that does not sound like too bad of a thing now does it? Because it does taste so amazingly fresh almost as if biting into an actual strawberry! I guess I was just anticipating by the decedent aroma and darker colored cup that it would be richer.

Seriously though, I can’t even get past how bursting with juiciness this tea is to focus on the chocolate flavor, or the cakey bakey goodness in the cup.

The after taste of this tea is almost like a fruit flavored beer. There is this flavor of very light delicate hops and a slight wheat essence in the background and it lingers on the palate.

I really rather like this since a lot of teas have a wine like flavor, or even mixed drink type flavor, this is one of the few that have this beer type flavor!

The chocolate in this tea is good, perhaps not outstanding, as I have had better chocolate flavors in tea, but on the other hand it does not turn me off, and a lot of teas with chocolate flavoring do. I would give this chocolate flavor an 8 out of 10 which by my standards is really excellent.

I have been surprised by this tea and am thankful to my Steepster friend who shared it with me. Yup this goes on the wish list and I will order it sometime in the future.

Peach Oolong from Della Terra Teas

Peach Oolong from Della Terra Teas
Peach Oolong from Della Terra Teas

Tea Information:

Leaf Type: Oolong, Green

Where to Buy: Della Terra Teas

Tea Description:

Our Peach Oolong combines amazing oolong with a little green tea and peach flavor and peach rose hips.  A delicious, light flavor.  Flavored Oolong lovers, you will adore this tea!

Ingredients: Oolong tea, green tea, peach flavor and peach rose hips

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Peach Oolong from Della Terra Teas is a must try if you love peach flavored teas or oolong tea!

I was also surprised by the green tea in this blend and even though there is a strong juicy ripe peach flavor, along with an outstanding oolong flavor, the green tea still manages to shine through!

I love peach flavored teas, and as readers of this blog know, I adore oolong. This Peach Oolong from Della Terra really hits the spot for me! I was lucky that they included a sample in my last order. I will be making an order of this tea as soon as the sample is gone!

Della Terra not only has some of the yummiest tea blends around, but they are amazing in their customer service and always have really great sales! If you do not follow them on Facebook I really suggest that you do. They have regular drawings for free teas, as well as the amazing sales I already mentioned. They are always updated on their Facebook page. You can find them on Facebook here.

If you are not sure what you want to order check out their Try Me Packs.

I have many favorites from Della Terra Teas and have reviewed several here on the blog. I am really glad I got to try this one though. The peachy flavor is fresh and juicy, the oolong flavor offers a good support to all the peachiness, and the green tea has a really yummy butteriness that makes the blend taste a little like a buttery peach cobbler.

This tea verges between a replacement for fruit juice in the morning and a dessert tea after dinner.

Four Leaves Ripe Pu’er from Mandala Tea

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Pu’er

Where to Buy:  Mandala Tea 

Tea Description:

We are proud to offer our very own blend of ripe pu’er tea!  We (and our customers) are very happy with the finished product.  While we love this tea now, we can hardly wait to see what 2 or 3 more years of aging will bring to the flavor of this tea!

Also available in a 250gram cake!

The four leaves used in our ripe tea are from the Jinggu Tea Factory in Simao.  The Jinggu tea factory used to be part of the CNNP state-owned tea factories.  They started fermenting Pu’er in the mid-70’s and was the third factory ever to produce ripe pu’er!

The leaf used was spring picked and processed in 2009 and is quite ready for enjoying now.  We chose the material and pressed the blend in April of 2010.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

One thing I love about Mandala, other than their excellent quality of tea, is their 5.00 shipping! Its just something note worthy as I know when I am considering trying a new tea company their shipping rates do matter. Also Garret at Mandala is one of the most guanine people I have ever spoken with. He takes time with people. That is something we need more of these days.

Four Leaves Ripe Pu’er is a loose leaf pu’er which for those of you starting your pu’er journey may find a little less intimidating. However you can also get it in a cake as well, which is a condensed version of the tea. Steeping instructions are right on the packaging.

I always give my pu’er an initial rise, okay not always but most always anyway. With this tea I did do an initial rinse.

The initial aromas from this tea when steeped are fruity, and leather. There is a sweetness lurking behind these initial aroma notes.

This tea has a crisp bright mouthful, which surprised me as I was expecting something more rich and earthier from the aroma of leather. The flavor of leather is there but the sip is thinner than I anticipated, thin but not lacking flavor!

The sweet berry note is also noticeable.

One note that jumped out at me that took me completely by surprise was a buttered toast flavor! I swoon at anything buttery!

Now don’t get me wrong, this is absolutely an earthy tea, pu’er as a rule is earthy but the other notes bring forth a delightful cheery cup.

I really feel this would make for a good starer pu’er although maybe not a for your very first pu’er. This would be like a level 2 pu’er. Perhaps starting with something flavored first then working up to this.

On the flip side it is not as complex or mature as many pu’er so for the more advanced pu’er drinkers this may not be as exciting.

There is room for growth in this tea but it is young and as much time yet to develop. It does however have a wonderful starting point and if you are one to buy and store pu’er for later drinking I would absolutely recommend grabbing a cake of this!