Saturday, January 14, 2012

Teavivre, Ripened Rose Pu-erh Mini Tuocha

This sample is one of 15 provided by Teavivre, a tea distributor located in China.

Of all the teas in Teavivre’s web store this is the one I was most curious about. I specifically requested it be included in the samples. I have only had one other rose tea and I did not like it at all, however rose and puerh together just sounds interesting.

The toucha comes wrapped in paper with four in the sample envelope. First brew per the instructions. The toucha bubbled the instant the water hit it and crumpled almost as fast. I don’t know if you are supposed to do a wash with these, so I did not. After two minutes in boiling water, the brew is very dark like burgundy wine. The leaf is almost powdery small with a bit of rose petal. The aroma is pure ripe puerh (you know that “Eeww, do I really want to drink this?” smell. To which you happily reply, “Well, yeah.”). There is only the slightest hint of rose.

The sip is not even close to what I expected. Not at all like the green puerhs I reviewed recently and definitely not nasty like the one canned cooked puerh I bought at the local international food mart. The rose is way in the background and may even reside only in my imagination. The main flavor is leather, makes me think of a horse saddle, with a bit of smoke and spice. As it cools, the smoke and spice subside but the leather remains.

Second steep, only 1 minute this time. This is the darkest cup of tea I have ever made. Dark as dark chocolate. Still that amazing leather taste and a touch of pepper. Third cup back to two minutes. Similar to the second, a little less pronounced. Fourth cup, three minutes, still flavorful but the leather is gone. Just warm and creamy now with the first real earthy notes. Still reasonably dark and flavorful. I may try to push this further later but I am pleased with today’s results. Pretty sure with real short steeps I could get a lot of cups from this but a few really intense cups just seems more appropriate.

I know puerh makes a lot of people nervous but I really like this. Interesting and complex. I kind of wish the rose came through more, but given my past experience maybe it is better this way.

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