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Alex Zorach

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Member since Sep. 1st, 2009. Reviewed 1311 teas.

Reviews of Pu-erh Tea

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Picture of Premium Pu-erh Tea - Black

Premium Pu-erh Tea - Black from My Zen Tea

Style: Ripened (Shou) Pu-erh – Region: Yunnan, China

57 / 100 Aroma: 5/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 2/5
Mar. 9th, 2015

I tend not to be a fan of Shu Pu-erh at all, and my expectations for a tea bag were pretty low, but I was happy to say this greatly exceeding my expectations.

Brews up a very dark liquor, almost jet black, with a smooth mouthfeel, mild flavor, and mellow aroma. The aroma reminds me a little bit of clean, wet stone ...

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Picture of Vintage Pu-erh

Vintage Pu-erh from Octavia Tea

Style: Ripened (Shou) Pu-erh – Region: Yunnan, China

50 / 100 Aroma: 4/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 2/5
Jan. 13th, 2015

Not my cup of tea, and among the more disappointing teas from Octavia, although I think it's a good example of this style, it's a type of tea that I don't tend to like very much. Another sample served in Velvet Sky bakery in Jenkintown.

This is one of those classic "damp basement" Pu-erhs. Smells like wet moss or ...

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Picture of Premium Pu-erh Tea - Green

Premium Pu-erh Tea - Green from My Zen Tea

Style: Raw / Green / Sheng Pu-erh – Region: Yunnan, China

70 / 100 Aroma: 7/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 3/5
Jan. 4th, 2015

The best Pu-erh I've tried in a tea bag.

A sample from the Philadelphia Coffee & Tea Festival. The tea bag is not at all aromatic, but upon brewing, the cup becomes much more interesting.

Aroma is like a rather typical young sheng Pu-erh, a lightly aged green Pu-erh. The aroma is fresh and grassy, with a hint o...

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Picture of Fengqing Ancient Tree Raw Pu-erh Cake 2014

Fengqing Ancient Tree Raw Pu-erh Cake 2014 from TeaVivre

Style: Raw / Green / Sheng Pu-erh – Region: Yunnan, China

92 / 100 Aroma: 9/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 4/5
Aug. 27th, 2014

Another superb tea! And how completely different this tea is from last year's batch! Multifaceted, complex, surprisingly floral in aroma, with a very pleasing flavor, able to be infused many times.

The dry leaf has an explosion of aroma, sweet, springy, suggestive of a tippy, spring harvest green tea, but followed...

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Picture of Xi Gui Ancient Tree Raw Pu-erh Cake 2013

Xi Gui Ancient Tree Raw Pu-erh Cake 2013 from TeaVivre

Style: Raw / Green / Sheng Pu-erh – Region: Yunnan, China

80 / 100 Aroma: 8/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 3/5
Aug. 14th, 2014

Hello, concord grape! The dry leaf of this tea smells initially like a sweet, tippy spring green tea, but this is followed by an intense fruitiness strongly suggestive of concord grape. Tea often smells like grape to me, but more often it is the muscatel grape of Darjeeling or Bai Hao oolong, or the deep raisin notes...

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Picture of Shu Pu-erh Classic Vintage Blend

Shu Pu-erh Classic Vintage Blend from Rishi Tea

Style: Ripened (Shou) Pu-erh – Region: Yunnan, China

57 / 100 Aroma: 5/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 3/5
May. 13th, 2014

Thank you to E. Alex Gerster for this one. I took a while to review it primarily because I tend not to be a huge fan of this type of tea. It looks like it's already been discontinued from Rishi's catalogue. There's no harvest or packing date printed on the container, so I don't know how old this is, but it tastes li...

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Picture of Fengqing Wild Tree Yesheng Raw Pu-erh Tea Cake 2013

Fengqing Wild Tree Yesheng Raw Pu-erh Tea Cake 2013 from TeaVivre

Style: Raw / Green / Sheng Pu-erh – Region: Fengqing, Yunnan, China

97 / 100 Aroma: 10/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 4/5
Mar. 24th, 2014

Wow. Exceptional, unique. The dry leaf of this smells completely unlike any other tea I've tried...and so does the cup when brewed. The leaf smells like honey and flowers, but with a smoky quality. Definitely the smoothest raw Pu-erh I've ever had that was effectively un-aged (being less than a year old when I trie...

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Picture of 2006 Fengqing Raw Pu-erh Tea Tuocha

2006 Fengqing Raw Pu-erh Tea Tuocha from TeaVivre

Style: Raw / Green / Sheng Pu-erh – Region: Fengqing, Yunnan, China

95 / 100 Aroma: 9/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 5/5
Mar. 23rd, 2014

This is among my favorite Pu-erhs that I've ever sampled.

This cake has a very fine leaf, tightly packed, and is tricky to break apart. I'm glad TeaVivre had already broken it off for me for the sample.

The dry leaf has a pleasant aroma, like caramel with a hint of worcestershire sauce, and still some remnants o...

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Picture of Fengqing Zhuan Cha Raw Puerh Brick Tea 2005

Fengqing Zhuan Cha Raw Puerh Brick Tea 2005 from TeaVivre

Style: Raw / Green / Sheng Pu-erh – Region: Fengqing, Yunnan, China

83 / 100 Aroma: 8/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 4/5
Mar. 18th, 2014

This is just about my favorite age range of Pu-erh: aged but still relatively young.

The compressed leaf is not very aromatic, and is devilishly hard to break apart. Thankfully TeaVivre already broke off this sample for me, but just judging by the texture of the compressed leaf, this one looks like it would be anno...

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Picture of Fengqing Old Tree Raw Pu-erh Cake Tea 2013

Fengqing Old Tree Raw Pu-erh Cake Tea 2013 from TeaVivre

Style: Raw / Green / Sheng Pu-erh – Region: Fengqing, Yunnan, China

73 / 100 Aroma: 8/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 3/5
Mar. 5th, 2014

This tea is the youngest raw Pu-erh that I've consumed to date. Like I'd expect, it is potent, but it's smoother and more drinkable than even some Pu-erh I've tried that has been aged by a few more years.

The dry leaf smells strongly vegetal, with tones of honey and camphor.

Brews a strong-flavored cup with a li...

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Picture of Mengku Arbor Tree Ripened Puerh Cake Tea ZhenMu LingYa 2007

Mengku Arbor Tree Ripened Puerh Cake Tea ZhenMu LingYa 2007 from TeaVivre

Style: Ripened (Shou) Pu-erh – Region: Yunnan, China

70 / 100 Aroma: 7/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 3/5
Sep. 3rd, 2013

A strange tea, with a lot going on.

Aroma of the dry cake is unimpressive, even slightly unpleasant, but when I brew it, it becomes much better tasting. It looks attractive at least, with a lot of golden tips.

Besides the dusty tones reminiscent of a damp basement (which are most evident before actually sipping ...

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Picture of Fengqing Golden Buds Ripened Pu-erh Cake Tea 2005

Fengqing Golden Buds Ripened Pu-erh Cake Tea 2005 from TeaVivre

Style: Ripened (Shou) Pu-erh – Region: Fengqing, Yunnan, China

47 / 100 Aroma: 4/10 Flavor: 3/5 Value: 2/5
May. 21st, 2013

I've had shu (ripened) Pu-erh of this age that I thought was exquisite, like the 2005 Jing Mai Autumnal I got from Tao of Tea, so I know it exists, but this cake didn't do it for me. I had a generous amount of samples, enough to experiment a bit with brewing, but I still didn't like it. The dry leaf has an aroma typi...

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Picture of Fengqing Paddy Flavor Raw Pu-erh Cake Tea 2006

Fengqing Paddy Flavor Raw Pu-erh Cake Tea 2006 from TeaVivre

Style: Raw / Green / Sheng Pu-erh – Region: Fengqing, Yunnan, China

83 / 100 Aroma: 8/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 5/5
Apr. 16th, 2013

I found this tea to be a very enjoyable Pu-erh, typical for its age and unusual only in the degree to which it produced a tingling and numbing sensation on the palate.

I received a sample which was a mostly-whole piece broken off a Pu-erh cake. The leaves were largely intact and it was very easy to break apart with...

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Picture of Mengku Palace Ripened Golden Buds Loose Pu-erh Tea 2007

Mengku Palace Ripened Golden Buds Loose Pu-erh Tea 2007 from TeaVivre

Style: Ripened (Shou) Pu-erh – Region: Yunnan, China

60 / 100 Aroma: 6/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 2/5
Aug. 9th, 2012

The dry leaf of this looks unusually wiry and tippy for a ripe Pu-erh, with a lot of golden tips. It is quite aromatic, and the aroma is typical for ripe Pu-erh, with perhaps only a faint suggestion of more complexity.

Upon brewing, 1 teaspoon of leaf and 1 minute as recommeded for one cup, this produces a dark col...

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Picture of Mini Tuo-cha Pu-erh Tea

Mini Tuo-cha Pu-erh Tea from Simpson & Vail

Style: Ripened (Shou) Pu-erh – Region: Yunnan, China

33 / 100 Aroma: 4/10 Flavor: 1/5 Value: 1/5
Jul. 3rd, 2012

This tea is ripened (Shu) Pu-erh, which I tend to be less a fan of than raw (sheng) Pu-erh. The dry leaf, when compressed, is very tightly packed, and relatively unaromatic. Upon steeping, it becomes evident that the leaf of this tea is finely broken. The leaf is slow to infuse while still compressed but once the ca...

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Picture of Ancient Shu Pu-erh Tuo Cha

Ancient Shu Pu-erh Tuo Cha from Rishi Tea

Style: Ripened (Shou) Pu-erh – Region: Yunnan, China

57 / 100 Aroma: 5/10 Flavor: 3/5 Value: 4/5
Jan. 2nd, 2011

I'm not crazy about Shu Pu-erh; this one was better than average though. The single-serving size of these tuo cha's is very convenient.

Brews a blackish brown, like black coffee. Aroma is earthy, but with more nuance that I'm used to in shu Pu-erh. There's a creamy quality and a hint of a savory, chicken-soup lik...

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Picture of ZH25: China Pu-Erh Standard

ZH25: China Pu-Erh Standard from Upton Tea Imports

Style: Pu-erh Tea – Region: Yunnan, China

63 / 100 Aroma: 6/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 4/5
Jun. 30th, 2010

I don't particularly like black (ripe) pu-erh, but this is probably the one I've liked most, among loose varieties. It has a fresher taste, with more bite. There are some herbaceous tones in the aroma, although the dominant character is still dust and earth. Much more flavorful than other loose black pu-erh I've tri...

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Picture of Large Leaf from Old Trees Pu-erh

Large Leaf from Old Trees Pu-erh from Chicago Tea Garden

Style: Pu-erh Tea – Region: Yunnan, China

77 / 100 Aroma: 7/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 5/5
Jun. 4th, 2010

I really enjoyed this tea.

I tried brewing this in two different ways...one, as recommended, more leaf, shorter steeping times. The second, using less leaf, but longer steeps. I had much better results with this second method using longer steeping times (I recommend starting with 2-3 minutes and going from there)....

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Picture of 2005 Jing Mai Autumnal

2005 Jing Mai Autumnal from The Tao of Tea

Style: Ripened (Shou) Pu-erh – Region: Lancang, Yunnan, China

89 / 100 Aroma: 8/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 4/5
Apr. 8th, 2010

(Lot # Bing-Autumn10612-01)

This is my favorite shu/shou (ripened) Pu-erh of all time.

I did not enjoy this tea at first but it has since grown on me after drinking about a third of the cake. I found this tea to improve considerably as it has continued to age. Interestingly, I find it tastes more like aged shen...

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Picture of ZH75: Green Pu-Erh Tuo Cha

ZH75: Green Pu-Erh Tuo Cha from Upton Tea Imports

Style: Raw / Green / Sheng Pu-erh – Region: Yunnan, China

80 / 100 Aroma: 7/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 5/5
Mar. 1st, 2010

Very smoky, but in an exceedingly mellow way, totally unlike gunpowder or lapsang souchong. This tea has a remarkable smoothness to it, unlike any other green tea I've tried, and if it weren't for the smokiness I'd be tempted to describe it as creamy. Cool and clean tasting, yet without bitterness. Full-bodied, and ...

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Picture of ZH20: China Pu-Erh Leaf

ZH20: China Pu-Erh Leaf from Upton Tea Imports

Style: Pu-erh Tea – Region: Yunnan, China

53 / 100 Aroma: 5/10 Flavor: 3/5 Value: 4/5
Oct. 20th, 2009

This is not my favorite loose-leaf ripened pu-erh. It's palatable and noticeably better than random ones I've sampled. The aroma is dusty, not terribly rich or complex. Pretty smooth flavor. Enjoyable. I prefer ZH26.

And of course, I really strongly prefer Sheng Pu-erh. I do not think Pu-erh is Upton's strong ...

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Picture of ZH65: Pu-erh Loose Jia Ji

ZH65: Pu-erh Loose Jia Ji from Upton Tea Imports

Style: Pu-erh Tea – Region: China

47 / 100 Aroma: 4/10 Flavor: 3/5 Value: 2/5
Oct. 20th, 2009

Perhas I'm not a "discerning pu-erh enthusiast" but I failed to appreciate this one any more than Upton's basic loose pu-erh, and it's about twice the price. The aroma is somehow lighter and less rich and earthy. It does have a clean aftertaste as described, but it's less intensely aromatic. I prefer ZH26 and althou...

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Picture of ZH26: Organic Pu-Erh

ZH26: Organic Pu-Erh from Upton Tea Imports

Style: Pu-erh Tea – Region: China

57 / 100 Aroma: 5/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 3/5
Oct. 20th, 2009

I find this pu-erh to have a richer and warmer earthy aroma as compared to both ZH20 and ZH65. Very smooth but with some nice complexity. While you can make multiple infusions with this tea, later infusions lose some of the complexity...I usually make only one very long infusion.

In the end though? I don't really...

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Picture of PuErh Tea

PuErh Tea from Ten Ren Tea

Style: Pu-erh Tea – Region: ?????

53 / 100 Aroma: 5/10 Flavor: 3/5 Value: 3/5
Sep. 27th, 2009

I bought this tea long ago, after being impressed with the quality of Ten Ren's tea bags, and wanting to try all their teas.

Aroma is dusty but clean. Flavor is smooth. Not quite as full-bodied as some pu-erh tea bags, and not as much complexity in the earthy aroma, but this is really not bad. Pu-erhs can be hard...

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