Leaf Type: Pu-Erh
Where to Buy: Yunnan Sourcing
A classic Xinghai ripe tea produced from the late 90’s until. Xinghai tea factory is the 2nd producer of ripe tea in Menghai town (after Menghai tea factory), and has an excellent “wo dui” fermentation process. Our 2006 Golden Peacock was aged Donguan town in Guangdong. It’s a “Guangdong dry-stored” tea that has already lost it’s “wo dui” (fermented) taste. The tea brews up a deep, dark but clear burgundy-brown tea soup. The taste is sweet with a expansive lubricating taste and feeling in the mouth. Both subtle and complex at the same time, a high quality tea leaf was used, each session lasting many infusions.
Learn more about this tea here.
Hello tea friends!
Whilst sorting (more like rummaging) through my tea cupboards I spotted this tea had been pushed to the back. Probably when I had my aversion to all Pu-Erh tea at the start of the year. I cannot say what made me feel that way but it does happen from time to time, at the moment I dislike Jasmine teas but give it a few months and that will change. Perhaps it has something to do with the change in weather? I digress, this tea was still sealed in it’s sample packet and the words ‘Golden Peacock’ left me with some fascinating images in my mind. That is how I settled on reviewing this tea today. I also want to made a note before I begin that I am not at home while I do this review, I’m at my parents house dog sitting for the day while they go shopping in Birmingham and may not be back until late. I mention this as it changes a few things, I do not have filtered water for an example, nor do I have a self boiling kettle for each steep. At least I bought my tea ware with me in preparation.
Opening the packet is tricky but I do it eventually. Once opened I pull out a large piece of cake which has remained whole despite it’s journey. There are quite a few golden tips present on the outside of the cake and a beautiful shine. Some of the golden tips have downy hairs that I can stroke, as though the Pu Erh were an animal. I don’t know why I decided to stroke it…perhaps the heat is getting with me? Further inspection shows dark brown leaves the colour of old, dark chocolate. The cake remnant bares a soft, dry wood and clay scent.
Steeping Parameters: 220ml Glass Gongfu Teapot. Tea Leaf 12g. Boiling Water. 2 Rinses each of 15 seconds.
First Steep – 15 seconds
Colour is golden orange with a soft clay scent.
Flavour is mild with some sweetness and an earthy, dusky wood tone toward the after taste. The more I drink the more I can define the sweetness to being brown sugar like.
Second Steep – 20 seconds
Still soft with brown sugar and dusky wood tones, but with added dryness.
Third Steep – 30 seconds
Darker though still soft. Less sweet and more musky now, with old wood and dry earth notes that linger in the after taste. Also the tea liquid is dark at this point too, like red soy sauce.
Fourth Steep – 45 seconds
Slightly sour in this steep and the wood is coming through with some cocoa notes. Still dry and mildly sweet.
Sixth Steep – 1 minute
Similar to the previous steep though with more clay and dryness. It reminds me of autumn, the dry, musky leaves crunching under my feet as I walk through a forest. The smells of an autumn forest match this flavour quite nicely.
Seventh Steep – 2 minutes
An increase of musk though still soft and the sourness is slight. Very wooden.
Overall – I found this Shou to be mild and delicate throughout the steeps which made it difficult to describe the flavours. At least it was consistent throughout. I would say this is an everyday Shou for Pu new drinkers or those that prefer softer teas. Personally I like strength and depth in my tea which this just didn’t have, though despite that it was drinkable and pleasant enough. I had some difficulty breaking up the cake piece so I did it by hand in the middle of my steeps, partly to see if it increased strength.
I honestly cut this steeping short, originally I planned on 10 steeps rather than 7. Don’t get me wrong, it really isn’t a bad Shou when it comes down to it; my personal preference is just that and I can’t like them all. I still think that for the price it’s a decent every day Shou for new drinkers and would recommend it for that. If I can be nothing else then at least I’m honest.
Leaf Type: Pu-erh
Where to Buy: Wymm Tea
This shou pu-erh brews with a rich and honey flavor and long-lasting jasmine rice aroma. Full tea leaves from high mountains in Menghai County, located in west of Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture in Yunnan Province, are picked to make the tea in 2008. Pu-erh tea has the potential to ferment over time, and this tea has been post-fermented for 6 years since production. Post-fermentation gives the tea vibrant flavours and richer aroma as well as deep wine colour.
Learn more about this tea here.
This Menghai Wangshuji Shou Pu-erh in Seventh Grade 2008 is the fourth of the teas that I was sent by Wymm Tea in their lovely sampler presentation package. These samplers come beautifully wrapped in a milk-carton shaped box. (You can see the box in this review.)
As I’ve mentioned many times: pu-erh just isn’t my favorite type of tea. But, after trial and error, I learned the ways to best brew pu-erh to my liking and I’ve come to appreciate it. It still isn’t my favorite, but I can say that I enjoy pu-erh tea.
When it comes to pu-erh, though, I find that I tend to prefer sheng to shou. What’s the difference? Well, I’m no expert on the subject of pu-erh, but what I’ve come to understand is that sheng tea is raw tea material that has been aged while shou tea is cooked tea material which seems to accelerate the aging process a bit. Why do I prefer sheng? Because while my experience with pu-erh is rather limited (again, I’m no expert!), my limited experience has taught me that shou pu-erh tends to be the pu-erh that sometimes has a briny or fishy flavor and the shou pu-erh tends to be the earthiest tasting (as in, it sometimes tastes of dirt).
But NOT this shou! This is LOVELY! This is so lovely that it has me rethinking my stance on pu-erh!
Sweet! Mellow! Smooth! All those words come to mind as I sip this. I taste no brine, no fish, no strong earthy dirty flavors. Just wonderfully mellow flavors. A sweet honeyed undertone with hints of burnt sugar caramel. I taste notes of earth but not dirt. This is more like damp, woodsy notes, evoking thoughts of a walk through the old-growth forests here in the Pacific Northwest after it rained. (We get some rain up here.)
I also taste very subtle hints of rice. The description of the tea suggests a jasmine rice note, I don’t know if it’s jasmine rice that I taste (I’m very familiar with jasmine rice as it’s my go-to rice in my pantry), but then again, this is only my first cup – perhaps those flavors will reveal themselves in later infusions. For now, I find myself in awe of the beautiful honey notes. So sweet. So delightful.
With my second cup, those aforementioned jasmine rice notes begin to emerge. I taste less of that honey flavor, but more of the sweet rice flavor and that’s quite pleasant. The flavor is still very mellow and smooth but it’s deeper and stronger than the first cup. I taste notes of burnt sugar and rice, hints of flower and a soft woodsy note. I love that there’s not even a hint of astringency or bitterness here. Just lovely!
I enjoyed this tea immensely! The later infusions (I got eight infusions out of this tea!) were just as mellow and smooth – but with each infusion, I found a deeper flavor. I never really experienced any strong earthy notes – bonus! – and I enjoyed a lovely sweetness from the notes of rice and hints of molasses and honey. A truly remarkable shou! This is the shou I’d recommend to someone who has had some unfavorable experiences in the past with shou pu-erh, this tea will change your mind about shou!
Leaf Type: Pu-erh
This tea is available from Amoda Tea.
f you’re new to pu-erh, this is a great introductory tea. If you’re not new, you’ll still enjoy its vanilla chocolate goodness. This is slightly earthy and woody, as you might expect from an aged tea. The taste is smooth, rich (there’s mini chocolate chips in this afterall) with a lingering sweetness. Go ahead and try this hot with milk or even as an iced latte.
Learn more about subscribing to Amoda Tea here.
As I’ve said on several occasions, I’m usually hesitant when it comes to sampling pu-erh. I actually have enjoyed most of the pu-erh that I’ve tasted over the years but if I had to choose between pu-erh and most other tea types, I’d probably go with something else. I’m not a big fan of the earthiness that seems to go along with most pu-erh and especially with shou pu-erh. And as the name of the tea indicates, shou pu-erh is the base tea used for this Choco Shou Pu-erh Tea from Camellia Sinensis which is the last of the four teas that I’m sampling from this month’s Amoda Box.
And while I don’t usually like that earthy flavor of pu-erh, it works with this particular blend. The earthiness actually enhances the flavor of the chocolate and gives it a deeper, richer flavor. So while I may not be all excited about a shou pu-erh, I do get excited about a tea that complements the flavor of chocolate.
So, yes, this is earthy. But not so much that it knocks me upside the head with a flavor that makes me think that I steeped soil instead of tea. This tastes much better than I would assume the steeped soil would taste – I’m going to go with that assumption because I’m not going to steep soil and drink it. Just not gonna do it.
The chocolate flavor here tastes dark and decadent, like an expensive chocolate bar that says 70% cacao on it. If you prefer your expensive chocolate bar to say “milk chocolate” on it, add a splash of milk to make a latte because this tea tastes amazing as a latte!
To steep: I used my Kati Tumbler rather than my gaiwan to steep this tea because of the little chocolate chips in the blend. I felt like the Kati was the better way to go. I did rinse the tea for 15 seconds before infusing though – you’ll want to do this with any shou to help wash away some of those stronger earthy notes. After the rinse, I infused the first cup for 2 1/2 minutes in 190°F. I added 30 seconds onto each subsequent infusion.
I resteeped twice – creating three very flavorful cups of tea – with the first two much more chocolate-y than the third. The third was still quite nice, just not as much chocolate flavor.
So smooth! No bitterness (not even from the chocolate!) and no astringency. Just a deep, mellow, luxuriously chocolate flavor that I would happily drink on a regular basis. As I said before: the chocolate flavor lasts through a couple of steeps – I got two very chocolate-y steeps out of the tea before the chocolate notes began to wane.
This tea gets a thumbs up from me. Quite good!
Leaf Type: Pu’Erh
Where to Buy: Camellia Sinensis
This amalgamation of tea and chocolate harmonizes beautifully the woody and earthy aromas of aged tea. Its rich nuances of cocoa butter and vanilla are a dessert in itself, perfect after a meal or the comfort of a sweet treat. Ingredients: Pu’er tea, chocolate, vanilla flavor.
Learn more about this tea here.
Camellia Sinensis happens to be one of my favourite online vendors, and I’ve already made several orders with them already this year – for tea and teaware, and I fully expect that I’ll be placing more before the year is over so I definitely have some higher expectations for this tea despite doing my best to be as open minded as possible.
Starting with the dry leaf, it definitely smells good – a little earthy with a coco puffs cereal sort of thing going on. To me, that sort of breaks down to a milky chocolate, some vanilla, and a touch of malt.
The smell is awesome after it has steeped too; very sweet and robust with chocolate, vanilla and earth notes. It’s making my mouth water just a little bit. However, it’s not translating into a rich, full taste like the smell would have you believe so immediately I’m a little bit disappointed – though the taste certainly isn’t bad either. I definitely get a rather muddy, thick Pu’Erh flavour and mouthfeel with some natural sweetness and a little malt perhaps? It feels a bit raw and unrefined. The chocolate comes off a little bit powdery the way some French teas do to me; it’s not necessarily a bad thing but it’s not for everyone – and the way the malt and vanilla play with this it definitely makes the Coco Puff cereal comparison seem accurate.
It tasted better as it cooled down; the chocolate and vanilla flavours appeared to get stronger. Because of the way I’m picturing this as cereal, and with the cooled down temperature I can definitely see it working as either a hot or iced latte – if I had more, I’d try it that way for sure. As is, I enjoyed this one even if it wasn’t what I was expecting at all. There were some disappointing things, but some really good things as well. I don’t think I’d purchase it especially when other companies offer similar teas – but I’m happy I sated my curiosity.
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Leaf Type: White
Where to Buy: 52Teas
As popular as our White Chocolate Raspberry Shou Mei was, I expect this one might even be more popular. Our premium shou mei white tea blended with white chocolate chips, lemon myrtle and organic white chocolate and lemon flavors. This is a gorgeous blend of sweet and tart that suits the hay-like shou mei beautifully.
Learn more about this tea here.
Learn more about 52Teas’ subscriptions here.
Mmm! I must admit that I wasn’t as much a fan of the White Chocolate Raspberry Shou Mei from a couple of months ago as I thought I would be. I thought I’d love that blend and it was just alright for me. My daughter – with whom I’m going into business – loved it. I expected her to because that’s probably her favorite flavor combination, or at least one of them.
But this White Chocolate Lemon Shou Mei Tea from 52Teas – I’m loving this! Similar to the White Chocolate Raspberry, this is primarily a lemon tea. That is to say, I taste more lemon than I do white chocolate. But I taste enough white chocolate to satisfy me, and I like the way the sweet, creamy notes of the white chocolate soften the tangy notes of the lemon and highlight the creaminess of the Shou Mei base.
And the Shou Mei isn’t hidden behind the flavors either. I taste the light, slightly earthy, slightly hay-like flavor of the Shou Mei. This tea has some really wonderful layers of flavor.
This tea is best if you let it cool slightly. After pouring the piping hot tea into your cup, let it set for just a few minutes. This seems to let the flavors come forth and now that I’m nearly finished with the cup I notice even more lemony notes as well as a stronger white chocolate presence.
A really good tea. One of the better white teas that I’ve tried from 52Teas!
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