Thursday, October 23, 2014

Tasting: Two Pu-erhs from TeaVivre

Cold autumn day in NYC 
It's been busy around here, yet dull at the same time. Autumn is my favorite time of year but it's hard to enjoy while working in midtown Manhattan. The golden light gets lost behind buildings, and leaves are few and far between. Slogging through chilled autumn days sleepy and worn out, I finally found time to taste two different pu-erhs provided by Teavivre. Lucky I did, they significantly improved my day. I'm a big fan of the company and had the opportunity to interview one of the members a few months back. Their teas are always well packaged, fresh, and good quality.

I received various samples but decided to try two pu-erhs first, a raw tea from 2006 and one from 2012. They are both nice examples of pu-erh tea, and how unique each one can be.

Fengqing raw Pu-erh Cake Tea 2006

The dry leaves for this smell sweet and cedar-like. The brewed tea has a smooth, leathery note with a light bit of smoke. The flavors conjure images of sitting among fall crunchy leaves in front of a warming campfire. There are hints of mushroom, cedar and peppery, bitter broccoli rabe.  The tea coats the tongue and lingers for a good long while. The bitterness smoothed out with subsequent steeps. This is definitely an all-day drinking tea. It just gets better with each steep. The bitterness of the tea begs to be paired with something sweet and crunchy. I happened to have some caramel corn singing a siren's song all morning, and I happily dug in. The sweet corn paired perfectly with the musky notes in the tea.

Fengqing Ancient Tree Spring Chun Jian Raw Pu-erh Cake Tea 2012

The dry leaves of this tea have a subtle dried hay aroma with a hint of tobacco. It's fresh and slightly sweet. The brew is a golden color that tastes woodsy yet still fresh. Like cooked dark green vegetables with sweet fruit thrown in. As with the first tea, the flavors changed slightly with each steep.

After trying these two pu-erhs I'm much more focused and alert. Verging on tea drunk in the best way possible. Thank you to TeaVivre for the high quality samples. I have two more teas from them to review, so keep an eye out in the coming weeks!

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