Vegan MoFo is pimping Monochrome Meals today which means we will be seeing a lot of food that is all based around ONE color so for our Vegan MoFo Tea choice today we are pushing Mini Yunnan Tuocha Mix – Brown Wrapper – from Teasenz.
This Mini Yunnan Tuocha Mix – Brown Wrapper – from Teasenz is part of the Teasenz Mini Yunnan Tuocha Mix. If you purchase the 70 gram TIN for $10.89 you will receive 12 or 13 mini tuo cha. I think this is a pretty fair price for 12 or 13 mini’s of which you get to try 4 of their pu-erhs!
We are specifically reviewing the Mini Yunnan Tuocha Mix – Brown Wrapper – from Teasenz in this review. The scent of this one once wet and infused is an earthy, woodsy, wormy type. It infuses to a dark brown. I was pleasantly surprised that the taste on the tongue was mellower than I thought it would be based on the scent of the infusion. It was really quite nice. Sure it had woodsy notes but they weren’t over the top or anything I winced at. Mini Yunnan Tuocha Mix – Brown Wrapper – from Teasenz was even a bit smooth, too! I’m not saying this Mini Yunnan Tuocha Mix – Brown Wrapper – from Teasenz was dull or lacking in flavor at all! It’s just more smooth than I thought it would be based on the scent! I’m very excited about this offering!
Because Mini Yunnan Tuocha Mix – Brown Wrapper – from Teasenz is a solid brown color DRY and WET I figured it would make a nice connection to the Vegan MoFo Monochrome theme of the day, today!
Here’s the scoop!
Leaf Type: Pu-erh
Where to Buy: Teasenz
Pu erh tea is an important part of the Yunnan culture. For a beginning pu erh tea explorer there is definitely a long way to go in order to fully appreciate the complexity of this type of tea. Sip and feel its richness in taste that evolves after each steep and imagine the history that is within this tea. Order today and have some of those high quality leaves that made it to our Teasenz website right in your teapot. Each and every piece is source directly from Yunnan and you will love it. Read our guide below as a roadmap for your puerh journey!
- Brown: Start off with the flat tuocha wrapped in brown paper to experience the classic taste of pu erh tea. Note: Don’t underestimate those small tuocha teas. One piece can easily steep you several pots of tea. Instead of moving too fast from one color to the other, first strive to get as many steeps from each piece! Try to notice differences in flavor between the different steeps.
Leaf Type: Pu-erh
Where to Buy: Tao of Tea
Made from the large leaf ‘Da Ye’ tea plant varietal, better known as Camellia Sinensis ‘Assamica’. The Tuocha refers to a family of bowl shaped teas, commonly available as Green tea Tuocha, Black tea Tuocha and Puer Tuocha. Made at one of the few organic tea gardens in Yunnan, this tea is popular among strong, dark tea drinkers.
Learn more about this tea here.
Wow! This Organic Pu-er Tuocha from Tao of Tea is seriously awesome. It isn’t often that I’ll say that about a pu-er! Oh, I may enjoy a pu-er, but I don’t often say the word “awesome” when describing a pu-er. But this … this is AWESOME.
And I think I know why. This tea was actually made from an Assamica plant! That is to say, it’s made with the same plant that makes an Assam tea, but the tea is grown and processed in Yunnan. And the result is something that I could happily curl up to any day.
My first cup is oh-so-smooth. It tastes a lot like a black tea only smoother. I’m not getting the same astringency that I’d get from a black tea. But I get that delicious undertone of molasses-y caramel and even a malty note. It’s sweet. And my first cup disappeared before I could finish coming up with words to describe what I was tasting.
The second cup was darker in color and deeper in flavor than the first, and the first word that came to mind as I took my first sip of that cup was “robust.” Another word that I don’t often use to describe a pu-er! Smooth, yes, I use that word often to describe a pu-er, and this tea is definitely smooth. Mellow, yes, another frequently used word to describe pu-er, and yes, this tea is mellow. But it’s also robust! It has a flavor that reminds me SO much of a black tea that I find myself questioning it! So sweet, notes of fruit and flower, notes of molasses, hints of leather and a lovely note of malt.
I’m on to my third infusion now and it’s even darker than the second. This is the first cup where I’m noticing a slight “earthy” mushroom note and the first cup where it actually tastes more like pu-er than black tea. But even so, I’m getting a lot of those black tea flavors too, the malty notes are still there and there’s a really pleasant sweetness to this. I love the way the aforementioned fruity notes mingle with the leathery notes and the notes of mushroom. It’s a deep, complex cup that’s really very enjoyable.
My fourth cup is very much like my third, only deeper in flavor. This is very much what I think I would expect if I were to mix a cup of Assam black tea and a cup of pu-er together. It’s not nearly as earthy as I’d experience with a pu-er, there are some earthy notes but it’s more like a mushroom flavor with notes of leather. It isn’t fishy or briny. There’s very little astringency to it and it’s not bitter. It’s just really smooth and pleasant. Notes of plum mingling with molasses, malt, and mushroom. It’s very different, quite unlike any pu-er I’ve experienced until now.
I’d recommend this pu-er to any tea lover – even those that don’t usually like pu-er because this is so similar to black tea, especially in the earliest infusions, that it eases you into the earthiness of pu-erh slowly. And even when it does start to become earthy, it’s not overwhelmingly so.
This is one of the best pu-er I’ve tried, ever.
Leaf Type: Pu-erh
Where to Buy: ESGreen
This mini tea cake was made by high-level material made from broad-leaved wild tea trees. Traditional court recipe.
The vintage year is 2002, which is over 10 year now.
Learn more about this pu-erh here.
As I’ve mentioned (more than once!), I’ve had a very difficult relationship with Pu-erh. It started off really bad … and I think it is those bad memories that taint my experiences with Pu-erh even now. And really, I don’t think it was the fault of the Pu-erh back then… it was my lack of knowledge. I didn’t know how to brew a Pu-erh properly, and I ended up with a very earthy dark tea that made me think I was drinking a very thin mud rather than tea. It wasn’t pleasant.
But that was then, and this is now!
And I have learned quite a bit since then, I have learned better ways of brewing tea. I have come to embrace the gaiwan as not a “gadget” but an essential tool for tea making. I love my gaiwan, because I have not only rediscovered the joy of Oolong but have also learned there is much joy to be discovered even with a tea I once disliked: Pu-erh!
It’s the earthiness that was off-putting. And when brewed improperly, a Pu-erh can be overwhelmingly earthy, so much so that it is really REALLY off-putting. But when brewed correctly, a Pu-erh can be so delightfully complex while maintaining a mellow character that is really quite enjoyable.
This Pu-erh is indeed earthy – but the strongest earthy tones are experienced in its aroma, when the tea is in its dry cake form. After a quick rinse and a 30 second infusion, I smell and taste only a very delicate earthiness, which is layered with an intense sweetness that is like caramel. It is very smooth.
I’ve often heard Pu-erh compared to a “fishy” taste but I don’t taste that here. There is a slight mushroom-y/earthy flavor to it, but not at all fishy. The sweetness is what I taste most, it is very mellow and remarkably smooth. It’s a really excellent value, too, because I got six very flavorful infusions from one mini tea cake, and I think it would have given many more!
This is one of those Pu-erh teas that I’d recommend to someone who has had bad luck with Pu-erh in the past … this is a good one and certainly worthy of a try. You might just find this one to your liking!
Leaf Type: Green, White & Pu-erh Teas
Where to Buy: Praise Tea
Our combination of Sencha, Gunpowder, Mini Tuo, Chun Mee, Pai Mu Tan, Lung Ching, Snow Bud, Pi Lo Chun, candied pineapple and strawberry takes you to an oasis of delight. Delectable both hot and cold. Try some with white crystal sugar. Indulge your taste buds.
Learn more about this tea here.
After a quick glance at this tea’s ingredient list, I thought that this tea may just have a little too much going on. It smelled intriguing, though, with its delicious notes of strawberry and pineapple, so I decided to give it a try.
And somehow, this massive list of ingredients works together very well! While it is next to impossible to pick out each individual tea’s characteristics, I can taste the fresh, vegetative flavor of green tea, a light earthy quality from the tuocha, and I can even taste notes that are very much like white tea – notes of hay and that crisp, airy quality that is often noted in white tea.
The strawberry and pineapple notes are less distinctive than the flavors of the tea, but, that’s alright. In fact, I find it to be quite refreshing to have the tea as the center focus in this cup, and have the fruit flavors to serve as accent notes to enliven the overall flavor. The place where the fruit really stands out is in the aftertaste, where I can taste the flavors of both the pineapple and the strawberry.
This tea does have a natural sweetness to it, so I would recommend tasting before you sweeten. I did end up adding just a pinch of sugar which helped to enhance the fruit notes more than sweeten the cup. Without the sugar, the fruit notes fall a little flat … they’re still present, but, just not as lively as with a pinch of sugar.
This one makes a nice iced tea too. I recommend steeping it at least twice, as it is even tastier with the second infusion.
Leaf Type: Pu-erh
Where to Buy: Tao of Tea
The Tuocha refers to a family of bowl shaped teas, commonly available as Green tea Tuocha, Black tea Tuocha and Puer (aged) Tuocha. More recently, Tuochas have also become commonly available by compressing the tea leaves and flowers together, or by heat infusing them together. In making the Rose Tuocha, more mature leaves of the tea plant are selected in summer, sun-dried, steamed, oxidized to turn dark, then compressed along with rose petals into small bowls. Wrapped with paper, the Rose Tuocha are an ideal size (3 grams) for individual serving.
Flavor Profile: Sweet, smooth, very mild rose flavor with little astringency.
This is certainly different … not at all what I expect when I taste a Pu-erh. Pu-erh tends to be quite a strong, assertive flavor, but with this Pu-erh, you need to throw everything you know about Pu-erh out the window, because it’s so unusual … but in the very best way possible.
When I steep Pu-erh Tuocha like this, I steep them in my gaiwan, using short steeps and multiple infusions. My first cup was the combination of the first two infusions (following a quick 10 second rinse). This cup is really quite light in flavor. A little woodsy with a mellow rose note that is pleasantly sweet. No sharpness, no strong earthy flavors. Smooth and only the faintest hint of astringency at the tail.
My second cup (the combination of the third and fourth infusions), brewed up darker and much bolder than the first cup. The color here is much more like what I’d expect from a Pu-erh, whereas the first cup was more like a black tea. The flavor is more assertive compared to the first, but, still, it is not that typical earthy flavor of Pu-erh. There are some earthy hints that seem to have paired up with the woodsy flavor that I mentioned with the first cup – creating more of a “damp wood” flavor than an earthy note. The floral notes are stronger here too. What this cup actually tastes like to me? Coffee … but without the bitterness and astringency. This tastes rather like a smooth cup of rich coffee.
My third and final cup (the combination of the fifth and sixth infusions) was slightly (only very slightly) lighter in color than the second cup, but the flavor has become much smoother than either the first or the second cup. The floral tone has emerged nicely, and I am still getting that coffee-like flavor that I had mentioned. Of the three cups, this one is definitely my favorite as it has become so unbelievably smooth.
This is an excellent Pu-erh. It would make a good starter Pu-erh for those who are new to the tea. And for those of you who really love rose teas, you should give this one a try … while the rose flavor here is a bit more mellow than a typical rose Congou, I like that this Rose Tuocha shows me a whole new set of flavors to the rose that I would have never experienced from other teas.