Typically, Saturday’s were designated as tea day. I spent a great deal of time, tweeting, blogging, and drinking tea in the midst of homework and other life obligations. Sadly, over the last few months, I have fallen out of sync with my normal routine. I haven’t even pulled out my Yixing Teapots lately. So , this afternoon, in my quest to both start and finish this week’s homework assignments, I thought… today I shall resume my personal tea traditions! That resolved, Puerh Tuo Cha became my tea of choice. With utter excitement, I pulled out the Yixing Teapot specifically seasoned for puerh’s and prepared to steep and enjoy.
Composition: Puerh from Yunnan, China.
Dry Visual: Resembles a tiny bird’s nest or bowl. Dark brown, almost black, red and gold compressed tea leaves. The name Tuo Cha or Tuocha is believed t have originated from the round, top-like shape of the pressed tea or from the old tea shipping and trading route of the Tuojiang River. The picture reflects the bottom where the top has a convex opening causing the bowl-like resemblance. Thanks TeaSource for the picture.
Dry Aroma: Earthy with a mild marine quality.
Flavor: This is my second Tuo Cha – the first was from a different retailer. I was quite surprised by the flavor of Puerh Tuo Cha by TeaSource. In my first sip, my tongue encountered an unexpected sweetness. Subsequent tastes brought the earthy flavor, puerh’s are known for, whether in a cake or loose leaf, followed by a mild smokey flavor (some would call “peatiness”) mingled with floral qualities. Yet again, the aftertaste was sweet. Overall, the tea was flavorful, albeit somewhat mild in comparison to other puerhs I’ve enjoyed.
Puerh Tuo Cha was not astringent, thus no sweetener was required. Puerh’s have such a unique flavor profile that would be altered by the addition of a sweetener. While not astringent, my tongue and mouth was left with that heavy almost numbing effect characteristic of puerh’s.
Wet Visual: Typically, I do not discuss the wet visual, but thought it would be appropriate as the actual leaf shape is not visible until after steeping and speaks to the quality of the tea. The leaves were broken and of various sizes, with some stems present.
Liquor: An extremely dark rich red hue that almost appeared black.
Brewing Time: According to the directions, the recommended steeping time is 7 – 10 minutes in boiling water. I was surprised as this seemed like quite a long time to me for a Puerh. Nevertheless, I steeped for 7 minutes for the first infusion and 10 minutes for the second.
If you have had the opportunity to enjoy a cup of Puerh Tuo Cha, please stop by and share your experience. Until then… Happy Tea Drinking!
What is Peatiness?
Peat is an accumulation of partially decayed vegetation matter. Peat forms in wetlands or peatlands, variously called bogs, moors, muskegs, pocosins, mires, and peat swamp forests. Peat fires are used to dry malted barley for use in Scotch whisky distillation. This gives Scotch whisky its distinctive smoky flavour, often called “peatiness”.
1. Peat. (2009, August 15). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 12:40, August 15, 2009, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Peat&oldid=308113996
2. Pu-erh tea. (2009, August 21). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 08:09, August 21, 2009, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Pu-erh_tea&oldid=309212385