“Planet Jingmai” Ancient Tree Sheng Pu-erh from Crimson Lotus Tea

Planet-JingmaiTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Pu-erh

Where to Buy:  Crimson Lotus Tea

Tea Description:

“A world of flavor in the palm of your hand!”

Don’t let their small size fool you. These tiny spheres of puerh are made from 300yo Gushu/Ancient Tree material from Jingmai. They were picked and processed in Spring of 2014. They have been aged loose as maocha in Jingmai until now. They are fantastic. The aroma is thick with honey. The flavor is smooth and floral with just enough bitterness and astringency to keep your palate interested. 

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Mmm!  OK, so I say that a lot when it comes to tea.  But I don’t often say it when it comes to Pu-erh!  At least, not so you – our readers – can “hear” it.  But this “Planet Jingmai” Ancient Tree Sheng Pu-erh from Crimson Lotus Tea has earned the “mmm!”

This tastes more like honey than Pu-erh.  (When reading the word ‘honey’ in the previous sentence, you should hear it the way that Mr. Wonderful aka Kevin O’Leary says “money.”)  It is sweet and delicious and so honey-like, you’ll wonder why you’re not all sticky after drinking it.

Planet-Jingmai-PlateMy second cup is even more honey-esque.  I’m still searching for something that reminds me of a pu-erh.  It doesn’t taste earthy, it doesn’t have a mushroom-y taste.  Just beautifully sweet.  Perhaps a hint of vegetation and a light touch of floral notes.  But mostly, honey is what I taste this time too.

And this pearl of tea takes quite a while to unfurl too!  It wasn’t until after my third infusion that the orb looked more like a tea and not a ball of yarn.  After my fourth infusion, I noticed that the leaves were beginning to settle in a heap rather than staying wound in the ball.

The flavor of the honey notes begins to wane by the fourth infusion.  It was with this infusion that I started to pick up on more floral notes with hints of earthy vegetation than a strong honey-like flavor.  I’m still tasting honey notes even in my fifth infusion, but, they continue to soften with each new infusion.

By the end of the sixth infusion, the leaves had fallen away from the ball shape and had become a pile of wet leaves.  There is still plenty of flavor to them though, and I kept on going until I finished my ninth infusion.  I probably could have gotten even more from this tea!

This tea is a PLANET of flavor!  I highly recommend the journey.

Banana Coconut from The Persimmon Tree

BananaCoconutTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Rooibos

Where to Buy:  The Persimmon Tree

Tea Description:

Our Banana Coconut herbal tea is a smooth and scrumptious herbal blend of rooibos, chamomile and lemongrass with notes of ripe banana, sweet coconut, graham cracker and a hint of caramel. This caffeine-free tropical blend will put a smile on anyone’s face. Try it iced and lightly sweetened for an extra refreshing summer beverage.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I really enjoy a rooibos tea blend, but I especially love one that has chamomile, too. Many of the chamomile blends that I’ve tried in the past have been mixed with strange herbs or things that I don’t like. I’m so pleased to see that this one has rooibos, chamomile, lemongrass, coconut, lavender and banana. That’s it! Nothing weird or funky here.

This blend is so delicious! I love the strong chamomile flavor, the banana (you can actually taste it!) and the sweet rooibos. I feel like I should mention that the chamomile is very bright and bold so if you’re not a fan, this blend likely isn’t for you. The chamomile, banana and rooibos blend so well together – sweet, soft and very comforting. I don’t taste a whole lot of coconut, but if I really look for it, I can find it in the background.

One thing this blend could do without is the rather soapy lavender. It’s not strong enough that I can’t finish the cup, but I think this blend would be better without it. Actually.. now that I’m thinking about it, that soapy note could be from a combination of the coconut and lavender. The rooibos is surprisingly a bit mild. It seems to hug the other flavors with its woody sweetness and doesn’t take over.

If you’re looking for a soothing and tasty blend, I highly recommend this one. It’s caffeine free so it can be had any time during the day or night!

2011 Mahei Sheng Ancient Tree Pu-erh from Wymm Tea

MaheiSheng2011Spring1Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Pu-erh

Where to Buy:  Wymm Tea

Tea Description:

This is a sheng pu-erh that brews bright yellow liquor with a delicate taste and silky texture. The tea is full-bodied with minimal astringency, and brings back a prolonged honey-like aftertaste.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

This 2011 Mahei Sheng Ancient Tree Pu-erh from Wymm Tea is quite a wonderful tea!  It has a really lovely honey note to it that I don’t usually expect when I drink pu-erh.  It’s not often that the first thing I really notice about a pu-erh is the strong honey tones!  

MaheiSheng2011Spring
One of four little bundles of pu-erh that I received from Wymm Tea.

This has a light vegetal flavor that is – to me – reminiscent of a buttery green tea.  I get a slight creaminess from this cup: a light, buttery vegetative note.  It is wonderfully smooth with no astringency and no bitterness.  It’s mellow yet flavorful and really quite pleasant to sip.

My second infusion was a little less smooth than the first and I’m picking up on some citrus notes as well as a hint of astringency toward the tail.  The creaminess of the first cup has waned and while I’m finding this tea to be different than the last cup, it’s still quite lovely!

The vegetal notes are a little more defined now and I’m not sure if that’s because the creaminess has waned or if it’s because these notes are emerging.  They are lightly herbaceous.

My favorite thing about this cup is the aforementioned citrus notes and the honey notes – I like the way these two profiles taste together.  There is a nice balance to the flavors of this tea and this is something that remains consistent through it’s many infusions.

Later infusions maintained their honey-like tones.  As I continued with the infusions, I noticed that the vegetal notes that I noticed especially in the second infusion began to transcend into a fruit-like note, reminiscent of melon.  Some floral notes began to emerge.

What I didn’t get – throughout those many infusions, I lost count after about six! – was a briny or fishy flavor.  I didn’t taste a strong, earthy quality that I normally associate with a pu-erh.  If you’re someone who tends to shy away from pu-erh because you don’t care for those strong flavors, you really should try this one!  This is a really lovely pu-erh and a very interesting tea – one that’s well worth trying!

Honeysuckle Pu-erh Tea from The Persimmon Tree

Honeysuckle Pu-erhTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Pu-erh

Where to Buy:  The Persimmon Tree

Tea Description:

The Honeysuckle pu-erh tea delivers a deep red infusion with a sweet woodsy, floral aroma. The finished brew is mild and earthy, with a lingering hint of honeysuckle. This honeysuckle tea can be steeped multiple times in a sitting without becoming bitter. This particular pu-erh is cooked and has been aged for about 4-6 years. 

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

When I first opened the tin of this Honeysuckle Pu-erh Tea from The Persimmon Tree, I got worried.  The earthy aroma was STRONG and this is the kind of earthy that I find very unappealing when it comes to pu-erh tea.  But, I tried to keep an open mind.  So I brewed the tea.

To brew it, I grabbed my gaiwan.  I measured a bamboo scoop of tea into the bowl of the gaiwan and heated the kettle to 190°F.  I poured just enough of the hot water to cover the leaves and I let that steep for 15 seconds and then poured off the liquid and discarded it.  (The rinse!)  Then I filled the gaiwan with water and let it steep for 30 seconds.  Usually, I let my first infusion steep for 45 seconds, but the tea had gotten really dark by 30 seconds, so I decided to stop at 30 seconds.  I strained the tea into a teacup.

The fragrance of the brewed tea is softer than the dry leaf.  It still has some of that unpleasant earthiness to it.  I’m not getting a “sweet woodsy, floral aroma” as the description above suggests.  I’m getting a damp wood and earth aroma.  So, the worry that I felt before when I first opened the tin, it was returning.

But I took a sip and hoped for the best.

And fortunately, this tastes far less earthy than it smells.  I’m getting those sweet, woodsy elements and hints of flower that I’m missing in the brewed aroma in the flavor.  It’s a mellow tasting pu-erh with notes of earth but not overwhelmingly so.  Mostly what I taste is a nice, sweet caramel-y undertone with a top note of flower.  I don’t know if it’s honeysuckle that I taste during the sip, but I do taste a distinct floral note.  And the aftertaste, yes, I do taste the honeysuckle there.

The aftertaste is my favorite part of this tea because I am really enjoying that lingering flavor of honeysuckle.  It’s sweet, floral and really quite pleasant.

I only steeped my second infusion for 30 seconds as well, because it had already become even darker than the first cup was at 30 seconds.  This is a tea that I recommend keeping an eye on while it’s brewing!

This infusion was deeper in flavor.  The earthy qualities were a little stronger but not so strong that I found it off-putting.  In this cup, I noted flavors of leather, mushroom and raw cacao.  I still got that honeysuckle note in the aftertaste.  I’m tasting a little less of a caramel-y taste and a little more of a molasses flavor, instead.  Very deep flavor, very mellow and pleasant to sip.

Later infusions got deeper in flavor until they weren’t.  When I started to realize that the flavors were becoming lighter, I stopped steeping.  I lost count after six, but if I had to guess, I’d say I got nine infusions out of one measurement of leaves.

So this tea started out questionably with a rather unpleasant dry leaf aroma and even a slightly uncertain brewed tea scent, but the flavor is quite enjoyable.  I’m happy that there wasn’t a briny, fishy or overpowering earthy flavor to this pu-erh.  Nice.

Mangnuo Cane Tea Raw Pu-erh (Ancient Tree Early Spring 2014) from Wymm Tea

MangnuoCaneTea1Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Pu-erh

Where to Buy:  Wymm Tea

Tea Description:

This is Wymm’s signature tea. It is a sheng pu-erh that brews bright golden with a rich and sweet flavour, and with the aroma of fresh-cut grass in the morning. For the initial 6 steeps, there is a pronounce bitter taste that lingers in back of the tongue with hints of astringency, which are slowly replaced with a bold honey aftertaste. The liquor is heady because of the ultra concentrated nutrients in this tea. Each serving of this tea can be steeped up to 20 times.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Good stuff!  This Mangnuo Cane Tea Raw Pu-erh (Ancient Tree Early Spring 2014) from Wymm Tea is really nice.

I’m only on my first cup at the moment, but I’m really enjoying the strong sugary notes to this cup.  I taste subtle notes of grass and a light astringency.  It has a pleasant, light flavor overall, with the most forward notes tasting sweet – like something in between a sugary molasses and honey.

My second infusion was even nicer than the first.  The sweet notes seem to be even stronger.  I’m picking up on some delicate floral notes.  The astringency is still there and it seems to be developing.  There is a distinct dry note toward the finish.  Vegetal notes are more defined now too, with a slight bitterness toward the finish.  Not an off-putting bitterness, but more of a savory bitterness to contrast with the sugary sweet notes.

My third infusion was very much like the second.  The fourth infusion was my favorite – the flavors became smoother and I found the astringency starting to wane.  It wasn’t quite as sweet, but there was a nice balance between sweet, hints of bitter and light grassy tones.  It was really quite pleasant.

The fifth infusion was pleasantly mellow.  Sweet and refreshing taste.  Hints of grass but very little bitterness.  Just smooth, mellow sweetness.  Later infusions began to pick up on the astringency again and since I’m not a big fan of the astringency, especially with such a mellow tea, I decided to stop with seven infusions.

Overall, a very pleasant pu-erh.  I liked that it didn’t have a strong, earthy character nor was I experiencing a briny or fishy sort of flavor.  Just a really pleasant vegetal note and some really remarkable sweet tones.  It’s quite nice.