Review: KTeas Pu’erh Tuo Cha

KTeas, Pu'er Tea Add comments
Geoff’s Teaview Snapshot
Its OK"The aroma matched the dry birdsnest - fish-like but with a bit of an "earthy" quality to it, almost like a wetland. "
Geoff’s Teaview: 5.5/10
Other Teaviews: Lynn gave it 6/10
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kteaslogoI'm going to start this off with a little history lesson, simplified. It has no basis in fact, merely my interpretation of how a certain type of tea came into being. Imagine you have an exquisite type of liquid produced by a leaf. That would be tea. Now picture - if you will - that various people chose to tinker with said leaf to see how they could change the flavor. Less sun, more sun, less shade, more shade, smoked, burned, roasted, steamed; the list goes on. Somewhere along the way, someone got the bright idea to let it, oh, sit for a few years. Like garbage. The compost-like concoction produced a delicate and nuanced beverage; like wine. People were stumped.

However, the less patient amongst the tea tinkerers said (along these lines), "Well, I don't wanna wait years for this to ripen. I wanna have it now!"

So, the impatience paid off (in a way) in producing a quickie-aging/"cooking" method. One problem, though, it wasn't the same beverage. It had its own unique traits; some good, some bad. Instead of a light, delicate brew, the resulting infusion was more along the lines of...pitch black. Guinness-colored. The impatient ones shrugged, shaped it and sold it anyway. That is how I believe shou puer, and it's cutely-sculpted off-spring - tuocha - came to fruition. Like I said, this has no basis in fact.

At first, I was never the biggest fan of cooked puer, but the drink grew on me in a few ways. It blended well with other botanical elements, providing a deep base. And - if given the chance to naturally age after an artificial process - it did develop some of the complexities associated with its raw sibling. A 2002 vintage tuocha convinced me of that. KTeas makes no mention of if their tuocha offering was given the same treatment, but you can't help but admire the adorability of the little one-steep bowls. They looked like they were carved by Smurfs.

Beyond the initial cuteness of the shape, the scent was what one comes to expect of cooked puer - fishy. A tea shop owner one time tried to correct me by saying it was "earthy", but I eat sardines on a regular basis. I know what "fish stink" is, and it's never pleasant. Such is the case with a tuocha bowl on first impression. That isn't a good judge of its quality, though, rest-assured.

KTeas recommended steeping one "birdsnest" for five minutes in 8-24oz of boiling water. Quite a range. I went with 8oz for six minutes, since my hot water source wasn't "boiling" level.

The infusion brewed to a dark, oak-like brown. Not the veritable blackness I've run into in brews long gone, likely due to the lighter temp water I used. The aroma matched the dry birdsnest - fish-like but with a bit of an "earthy" quality to it, almost like a wetland. What I didn't appreciate is this quality also translated to the taste. While I will say it was moderately enjoyable for it's deep-bodied characteristics, the taste was a bit too blunt and woodsy. Kind of like dandelion root, if given a day to simmer in hot water. Not bad, to say the least, yet definitely not excellent. I would still say give it a try since - as illustrated above in my "history lesson" - I'm no authority.

— To purchase KTeas Pu’erh Tuo Cha, or for more specific information on ingredients or the story behind this particular tea, click here to go directly to the manufacturer's web site.

Teaviews Member: Geoff Geoff
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