Numi Organic Emperor's Pu-erh
This week I tried a couple of Numi teas. I must say, while I don't like all of the flavors Numi puts out, I applaud their boldness in trying new things, like their savory tea line (that I didn't like much). Anyway, they've had pu'erhs out for a while and I got a couple of samples from +Consumr
Now, pu'erhs are an interesting category. They originate from Yunnan Province in China, and are a fermented, dark tea with a distinctive earthy, musty, and sometimes even a bit fishy, profile. I've heard it described as old leather, cigars, dirt, and old leaves.
Pu-erhs are the most highly oxidized of the tea categories and is an aged tea, sometimes over dozens of years. Have you ever brewed a 60 year old tea? Some pu'erhs are even older and are, as you can imagine, ridiculoulsy pricey. Because their flavor develops over time, they are sometimes compared to fine wines. They are stored carefully away in the form of large, tightly packed bricks or cakes, but we can purchase them as mini cakes (tuochas) or even loose leaf.
Anyway, this is not a pu'erh primer- I'm probably singing to the choir anyway. I was just thinking about traditional, aged, expensive pu'erhs versus the entry-level kind I can afford, like Numi's bagged Organic Emperor's Pu-erh.
As I tasted Numi's version, I had to say that it does seem to be a good gateway to the more expensive pu'erhs. It's not so expensive a purchase that if you hated it you'd hate yourself, too (nothing worse than splurging on something expensive and hating it). And it's not as strongly flavored as the expensive stuff you might have imported to you from China (you lucky devil) so it's not especially difficult to become accustomed to.
It's got a rich, robust dark-as-black-coffee color and is smooth to the palate. I drank it with and without Splenda and it was find both ways- a bit earthy and musty, and even a tad tingly-spicy on the tongue. It has a nice, perfumed aroma that I didn't expect.
Now, you can get affordable loose-leafe and toucha-style pu-erhs from many places. I've ordered a couple in the past and might still have a mini-toucha somewhere. My first experience wasn't so wonderful but I think I'm ready to work my may back. I have to thank +Consumr for sending this sample out. I very rarely buy teabags, but this could join my collection.