Happy Valentine’s Day! For Valentine’s Day, I decided to review Chi of Tea’s Artisan Heart Shaped Pu-erh teas which they sent over to sample. They are adorable and also on sale at their website. Check them out.
Review: Artisan Heart Shaped Mini Pu-erh
Chi of Tea’s Artisan Heart Shaped Mini Pu-Erh’s are super adorable and cute. The miniature hearts are approximately the diameter of a US quarter, and composed of dry tea leaves tightly compressed into heart shapes. Overall the taste is strong and earthy, a bit like a brisk black tea plus a little sweetness and a distinct smoke and camphor aroma which lends it an appealing character. If you enjoy strong black teas, this would be a great introductory pu-erh tea to try.
Chi of Tea’s Description:
Fall in love with these Artisan Black Pu-erh shaped hearts. Handmade by tea artists with a rich blend of aged black Yunnan pu-erhs.
Each heart will infuse up to 2-4 cups of tea. This tea is a rich bold black tea that handles cream and milk quite well. The aroma and taste is very earthy and rich. A bit stronger in taste than most Pu-erh and quite sweet naturally.
Puerh tea represents a variety of tea grown in the Pu’er County from the Chinese province Yunnan. One of the main characteristics of Pu-erh tea is that it can be brewed right away or aged for a long period of time.
Pu-erh tea has a very unique aroma and taste. The taste is considered “earthy” due to the fermentation process that ages the pu-erh tea. Pu-erh tea is a living tea, with health bacteria added to it that causes it’s unique aging process. Puerh is comparable to wine, the older it is, the better the taste is said to be (as long as it has been stored properly).
Steep at boiling 212 F for 30 seconds or 1-2 minutes depending on preference. I used half of a pu-erh heart for each 6 oz. serving. When brewing the same leaves for a second, third or even fourth time, increase the steep time by 1-2 minutes.
As you should with all pu-erhs, make sure to “rinse” the tea before steeping it by pouring hot water into it, letting it sit, and discarding the water before your first infusion. This washes the tea, starts to break it up and ensures a good flavor from rinsing out any particulates or dust that has accumulated on the tea cakes.
The dry leaves which make up the hearts are tightly packed and compressed together, though you can clearly make out the fragments of leaf and twig within the pressed tea “cakes” which form the hearts. The heart shapes are dry, and surprisingly don’t feel particularly fragile or loose. They are brittle and easy to break as I pull them apart, but don’t require any special handling to keep them in their adorable little heart shapes.
The liquor from the tea is a bold red-gold.
The steeped tea leaves loosen from their dry heart shapes quickly after the initial washing, and take on a dark brown and light chocolate color. They smell like smoked wood and earth, with small fragments of leaf and twig.
For this review, I steeped the pu-erh at 30 seconds with 212 F boiling water, which yielded a very deep red-gold color. This tea is not shy, and has a bold flavor with even such a short steeping. If you prefer your teas strong, in other tastings I have tried 1-2 minute steeps for the initial infusion and found the longer steep brought out a darker, maltier flavor in the brew. I liked it quite a bit at the initial 30 seconds though.
The taste of the tea is a bit like a strong black tea with an undertone of sweetness. It also has a bit of smokiness like a lapsang souchong tea. Compared to other pu-erhs I’ve tried, this has a lightness to it which makes it approachable and easy to appreciate if you enjoy a strong, brisk cup of black tea. There’s an interesting bit of medicinal herb and camphor smell and taste present in the wet leaf and liquor which adds a unique flavor to the pu-erh. Overall, this tea has a earthy and smooth taste, and the finish is crisp and refreshing with a tingling sensation on the tongue. This would be a great introduction to pu-erhs for newcomers, particularly with its cute heart shapes.
The photo above is the liquor of the tea after a second infusion for 1 minute and 30 seconds. As you can see, it holds it colors well, only a few tints brighter than the first infusion. The taste is very strong and consistent with the first infusion, and it’s clear this could last several infusions.
Pricing & Where to Buy
Pack Size: Available in varying sizes, from sample size, 1 oz. up to 1 lb.
Price per unit: 1 oz (20 cups) is $4.00. At the time of writing, the tea is currently on sale at 50% so you can enjoy an ounce of this tea for $2.00.
This tea can be purchased on the Chi of Tea’s website here.