Jim's Corner - CommuniTEA Review: 3 Pu-Erh Teas

June 22, 2021

If you are a part of the communiTEA then you know looking to Jim's daily reviews are a joy! The time and consideration he puts into each one in order to bring out the best flavor of Adagio's teas are something we all look forward to!

If you have not yet been introduced to the communiTEA - you're in for a treat!

The communiTEA is a unique place where Adagio patrons from all around the world can sit down together over the same cup of tea on the same day. These teas cover all varieties and contain teas from our normal catalog and customer-created Signature Blends!

Open the package on the date indicated on each portion, then head over to the communiTEA page to weigh in on the day's tea, upload a pic to potentially win the photo contest, and join the Live Chat.

We were lucky enough to have Jim write up his thoughts on his favorite tea from recent boxes, so without further ado- we give you ...

Jim's Corner

Pu-erh Poe

No unappealing pu-erh aromas were noted from my communiTEA packet of Pu-erh Poe on May 19th. Pleasantly mild hay aromas were present.

Some pu-erhs may taste like fish or hay. This happens with both raw (sheng) and ripe (shou) pu-erh teas, but is more common in the ripe ones, like Pu-erh Poe.

I had 3.13 grams of tea, enough for a 12-½ ounce steep. I found that 200°F steep water is the best for me when it comes to pu-erhs. I did a rinse of the leaves. To do this, in my steeper, I covered the tea with a bit of hot steep water for 15 seconds. I tasted the rinse water and noted mild barnyard hay and earthy flavors, but that’s what I like in a pu-erh. I topped off the hot steep water and continued with my steep for four minutes. You may want to dump the rinse water and replace it with fresh hot steep water if you did not like what you tasted.

When hot, wet clean barnyard hay and earthy flavors were mild and smooth. I added a bit of sugar to sweeten these flavors a little.

When warm, moderate hay, earthy and mushroomy flavors were noted. They were acceptable for my taste. These flavors lingered. A pleasant zing was noted towards finish.

I noted none of the low-tide fishy or overwhelming earthy flavors that some people new to shou pu-erh teas notice.

To me, this tea was wonderful, and I say that as someone who has happily quaffed a bunch of shou pu-erh. I realize that it may be an acquired flavor to others. Thus, to make this tea more pleasant for you, you may want to rinse it prior to steeping and dump the rinse water.

A second steep was quite a bit milder in flavors, as it had already been rinsed by the first steep. (4 mins @ 200ºF, ¼ tsp sugar)

Pu-erh Chorange

I’ve been wanting to try Pu-erh Chorange for quite some time now. When I opened my communiTEA packet on December 7th, 2020, all ingredients were present. Pleasant chocolate aromas were noted.

No fishy, barn hay aromas or tastes were detected with a 15 second hot rinse check. I topped off the hot rinse and continued with the steep.

When hot, chocolate nib flavors were moderate and just a tad bitter. I added a bit of sugar at this point. Mild pu-erh earthy flavors were observed.

When warm, orange flavors moderated with citrusy orange peel tastes. Pu-erh flavors were moderate providing woody and earthy notes. The chocolate smoothed everything out. A second steep melded all flavors for a smoother drink than the first.

This one’s a winner! (5 mins @ 200°F, ¼ tsp sugar)

Pu-erh Hazelberry

Pleasant nutty aromas were noted upon opening my Pu-erh Hazelberry communiTEA packet on January 30th. Mild fishy aromas were noted, so I did a 15 second hot rinse check. I decided to keep the rinse water and carried on with a full steep as these flavors were acceptable to me.

When hot, mild and acceptable fishy flavors and aromas were immediately noted from the pu-erh. Hazelnut flavors were mild. I added ¼ teaspoon of sugar to intensify flavors.

When warm, strawberry flavors were pleasantly mild. The creme made itself known by providing a very smooth mouthfeel. Pu-erh and cocoa flavors came forward and worked together to produce an earthy chocolatey taste. The hazelnut and strawberry flavors melded with the other flavors.

At the end, everything came together nicely and provided a very pleasant sip indeed! The second steep was actually better. (5 mins @ 200°F, ¼ tsp sugar)