Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Teavivre, Rice Ripened Loose Pu-erh Pyramid Tea Bag

Teavivre Description:
This tea bag features its flavor which has slight glutinous rice flavor. It is a good routine beverage incorporated with the essence of “Nuo Xiang” plants grown in Xishuangbanna. The liquid is bright red brown in color and have a typical flavor of Pu-erh.

My Review:
I don't recall how I acquired this one. I think it came from a friend rather than from Teavivre directly. Not that it matters. I just like to be up front about it.

Today's tea is a bagged pu-erh. Actually it is a pyramid bag made of corn fiber.

If you search this blog, you will learn I am not opposed to the use of the lowly tea bag. The old reliable paper ones have their place. This is especially true when I am in a hurry, asleep, or just want a simple tea with my meal.

The average grocery store tea bag will never give you the depth that a quality loose leaf will, and that is why the pyramid bag has risen in the market place. The pyramid bag generally contains a better quality leaf while retaining the convenience factor of the bag.

You can see the Yunnan large leaf through the bag. There is an abundance of golden buds in the mix of one bud and two leaves. The aroma is... different. Reading other reviews this apparently is a very accurate sticky rice scent. Being uninitiated, it comes off as more gym bag to me. Honestly, I am glad to know the aroma is exactly as intended. Even if this red neck doesn't quite get it.

I used a mug and boiling water. The directions call for a 9-12 minute steep. Seriously? I get that Teavivre is attempting to make pu-erh a little more accessible to the western tea drinker with the use of the pyramid and the steep time. I get it, but I don't prepare pu-erh that way anymore.

I went with three minutes which still produced a dark coffee colored brew. I would normally do maybe a 30 second first steep, so as far as I am concerned, I have made a major compromise.

The sticky rice aroma has now filled the house. I am noticing the longer I am inhaling it, the more food like (and therefore appealing) it has become.

Interesting. It's rice, rice, and more rice, all the way to your lips. Then once you taste, it becomes a gentle earthy pu-erh. It is not leather, mushroom, or any of the barnyard flavors and definitely not a more offensive fishy flavor. This is a dusty roots and rich soil flavor. Just a touch of mineral. It is very smooth and easy to sip.

After swallowing the sweet sticky rice aroma comes back and mixes with the earthiness. It is a neatly interesting combination.

I do see where the long steep time recommended by Teavivre would not hurt this cup. A long steep can produce a rough spicy edge that I often don't much like. I do not see that happening here.

I do have one complaint. The string on the pyramid is too short. The tag was sucked under the moment I added water. I had to fish it out. That detracted from the convenience of using the pyramid for me. Next time I'll know better and keep a thumb on the tag when adding water.

These little pyramids will resteep multiple times making them a good value consideration.

You can find Teavivre, Rice Ripened Loose Pu-erh Pyramid Tea Bag here.

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