TeaVivre's aged Pu-erh tea is secondary-oxidation and post-fermentation tea, which is referred to as ripened, or cooked, Pu-erh tea. Each miniature compressed tea cake contains a tiny red or pink rosebud packed firmly inside the Pu-erh tea cake which lends a lovely subtle nuance of a floral tone to the earthy, musky Pu-erh tea.
Pu-erh tea can be either brewed immediately or if stored properly, it can be aged for many years, while increasing in flavor and value, much like a fine wine. Many other teas such as green tea, white tea and flavored teas should be used shortly after purchasing, but with a good Pu-erh, you can make your tea last for months, even decades! Usually, Pu-erh teas are classified by the year they were produced and the region they were grown and processed in, and that information is usually written on the packaging, quite like a wine vintage. With fine Pu-erh tea, the longer it is stored and aged, as long as it is stored properly, the more complex the flavor and the more valuable the tea gets. Aged Pu-erh teas are known for their ability to break down fats, and to help with weight loss, so they are often served in China after a heavy meal.
Ingredients: Ripened Pu-erh and Rosebud
Leaf Type: Ripened Pu-erh
Where to Purchase
Manufactured and picked in June 2008 in Simao, Pu’er, Yunnan, China
Suggested Brewing Tips:
Serving Size: 2-3 pieces per 8oz serving
Water Temp: 212°
Steep Time: 4 steeps: 30s, 1m, 2m, 3m
TeaVivre also provides brewing instructions for using a 3 oz Gaiwan. In case you aren't familiar with what a Gaiwan is, it is a Chinese lidded bowl used for brewing and drinking tea. I can't go into Gaiwan style brewing much yet because it isn't a style I am overly familiar with, I typically brew western style in a tea pot.
Serving Size: 1 piece
Water Temp: 212°
Steep Time: 6 steeps: rinse(10s), 10s, 10s, 10s, 15s, 20s, 30s
Serving Size: 2 pieces
Water Temp: 212°
Steep Time: 9 steeps: rinse(15s), 10s, 5s, 5s, 5s, 10s, 15s, 20s, 35s, 60s
I don't actually have much experience drinking Pu-erh, but it has been on my to-do list for awhile. Drink more Pu-erh Check! Thanks one last time to Angel at TeaVivre for providing me with this sample and helping me to check one item off my to-do list. This is the last of the samples she sent me back in May, but she has agreed to send me five more soon, so make sure you check back for those reviews soon.
My knowledge of Pu-erh is pretty basic, so I consulted Wikipedia for a little more information to round out my education (because everything on Wikipedia is true!). But seriously, there is a surprising amount of information in the Wikipedia article for Pu-erh. If you are new to Pu-erh I suggest you check it out, it is a great place to start.
Immediately upon opening the sample packet I was greeted by two mini tuochas wrapped in tissue paper. According to the TeaVivre website these are wrapped in tissue to keep the tuocha dry and protect it from foreign flavors. For this review I prepared this tea in a Gaiwan using 3oz of water. I used 1 mini tuocha, rinsed the tea for 10s, and prepared 6 steeps at 10s, 10s, 10s, 15s, 20s, and 30s.
I began with a very fast rinse which is usually recommended to "awaken" the leaves, allowing them to unfurl in the Gaiwan and release more flavor. In this case I rinsed for 10s which did not even cause the tuocha to break apart completely. The tea from the fast rinse was barely tinted and is actually more of a redish color. It has no noticeable flavor. After my quick sip it was used to water one of my plants.
The first steep is much darker in color, but not nearly as dark as I normally associate with Pu-erh. This is the first time that I've used a Gaiwan so I am sure the color will darken on successive steeps. The tea has a very light mellow earthy taste, but is not nearly as strong as my previous experience with pu-erh. The tuocha did not break apart fully on this steep.
With the second and third steep the tea continues to darken in color and the flavor becomes more bold. The third steep is when the tuocha completely breaks apart. As I continued on with steeps 4, 5, and 6 I was surprised that although the color continued to darken, the flavor remained very similar. It is very possible that I could have gone past 6 steeps, however, I had unexpected (but very welcome) company today and one of the kids thought my pu-erh looked yummy tasting. I really wish I knew what went through kids minds when they decide to eat odd things.
The flavor of this tea is very mellow and doesn't have the depth of other Pu-erh that I have had, which is why I think it is perfect for someone just starting out with Pu-erh. I find that the less complex teas are a great place to start. I do wish that the rose flavor would have been present, I didn't taste it at all once the tea steeped.
Would I order this again? Possibly. I think this is a great tea to have on occasion and once fall rolls around I will be drinking more Pu-erh. It just isn't what I normally drink in the middle of a hot summer.
In an effort to be open with my readers I want to let you know that this sample was provided to me free of charge by TeaVivre for my review. As always, all opinions are my own. If you are a company and would like to send me an item for review feel free to drop me an email.