|"I am on my knees begging the folks at Art of Tea to create another version of this with a black tea base as the flavor profile itself (coconut, cacao, hazelnut) is totally delicious and it has an amazing aroma."|
This blend was amongst the latest shipment of samples that I received from Teaviews. I had heard about this new blend from Art of Tea when they first came out with it and were marketing it a bit on Facebook and/or Twitter, and I have been dying to try it. However, I have held off on ordering it until I could drink down my supply of their Cinnamon Fig tea, which is a favorite of mine. Anyway, it is kinda like Christmas morning whenever a new supply of samples arrive. It is very fun to tear open the package and look through the samples. There are always at least 2-3 samples that I am dying to try and this one was amongst that crowd!
I will tell you that the dry blend smells a lot like German Chocolate Cake(!) plus puerh. Art of Tea lists the ingredients in this as Organic Loose Leaf Pu-erh Tea, Organic Cocoa Nibs, Organic Coconut Pieces, and Natural Flavors, This blend is bountiful in coconut shreds and little cacao nibs. I followed Art of Tea's suggested brewing parameters and used water brought to 195 degrees and a 4 minute infusion. As is expected from black puerh leaves, this one brewed up very dark in color. The aroma coming from the prepared cup is true to the aroma of the dry blend in that it totally smells like German Chocolate Cake followed by that somewhat odd puerh aroma. There are many terms that I have used to describe the taste of puerh including barnyard-ish, earthy, and soapy. This one isn't barnyard-ish, but it is VERY, VERY earthy and even slightly soapy. The overall of taste of this is a mixed bag for me as I am not the world's biggest lover of puerh. On the one hand, the flavor profile of the cacao and coconut used in this is amazing. It totally does remind me of German Chocolate Cake with a hazelnut finish! That part of it is completely awesome---as in the flavor profile scores a 9-10! I cannot help but hope that Art of Tea would use this flavor profile and pair it with some plain old black tea because it is both delicious smelling and tasting. On the other hand, the flavor profile is not full enough to mask the puerh. I have a couple of flavored puerh blends from another vendor that use very full flavor profiles that mostly mask the flavor of the puerh itself and I love them. This one was likely meant to complement the puerh. I can see how they would complement each other---IF you really LIKE the flavor of puerh. I tend to mostly just tolerate puerh as opposed to liking it and just flat out don't like some of it. This has that amazing German Chocolate aroma and delicious hazelnut finish that keep calling me to take another sip though. One thing that I noticed about this blend is that I tolerated the flavor of the puerh much better when it was at hotter temps. The puerh became stronger in flavor as the cup cooled. Therefore, I made a subsequent preparation of this using water brought to a full boil and stuck with the 4 min infusion time. I also used a little less leaf than I did when I prepared the first cup. I actually preferred these brewing parameters over those suggested by Art of Tea.
Overall, as far as puerh blends go, this one has a most amazing flavor profile. I am sure that the puerh base used here is of a good quality and all, but I just don't love puerh like that. In order for me to fall the rest of the way in love with this, the flavor profile would have to be kicked up a bit or be used with a different tea base. In fact, I am on my knees begging the folks at Art of Tea to create another version of this with a black tea base as the flavor profile itself (coconut, cacao, hazelnut) is totally delicious and it has an amazing aroma. Further, I would recommend this to folks that genuinely like puerh and want to try a flavored one. If you like puerh, then you should definitely check this one out.
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