Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Tea Review Tuesday - A Review of English Tea Store's Scottish Caramel Toffee Pu'erh

On the road for some travel, I still desire my tea in the mornings. While this is easily accomplished with a teabag (the horror!) or an infuser basket, accomplishing a gong fu session with a pu'erh provides a slightly higher challenge. Thankfully, this travel gaiwan set from Vital Tea Leaf proves to be most effective - both in saving space and in assisting with the tea making! However, today's focus is not on the teaware but on the tea - a Scottish Caramel Toffee Pu'erh from the English Tea Store.

I can smell this tea even through its package. Opening the package, the smell of toffee wafts to my nose, plus notes of pu'erh a bit of...mint? How odd...mint... According to the English Tea Store, the pu'erh is accompanied by butterscotch pieces and almond. Putting aside the difference between butterscotch and toffee, I rinse the leaves, then begin my first steep. While waiting, I think how fitting it would be, if I was writing this review with Montblanc Toffee Brown ink.

I think that the slight mint aroma came from the pu'erh mixed with the almond, as it is still present in the wet leaves, yet carries more earthy tones. But how does it taste? "Like dessert in a cup." One can still taste the pu'erh, right down the middle of this tea, but the edges are more than heavily laced with a sugary-but-not-overly-sweet combination of toffee- and caramel-like flavors. From a traditional Chinese sense, I would not expect that pu'erh would ever be mixed with any sort of sweet, but the English Tea Store has found a good combination in the mixing of pu'erh with butterscotch and almond.

The flavors of this blend are smooth, and the pu'erh is bold enough to stand out among the sweet tones. I recommend steeping this tea longer than you might a normal pu'erh for the sake of fully drawing out the notes of toffee and earthy pu'erh tastes. I was able to resteep it several times in my gaiwan. On my personal enjoyment scale, I would rate this tea an 80/100.

This pu'erh is available from the English Tea Store's website, here.
Photo credit to the English Tea Store.
This review was unsolicited and uncompensated.


  1. May I ask a silly question?

    What is the definition of the word Pu'erh.

    I tried to look on wikipedia for the definition but couldn't grasp the meaning of the word in layman's terms.

    How is Pu'erh different from tea? It would be great if you could educate me.


    Great blog by the way. Love the ink reviews.

    1. Not at all silly! Pu'erh is a type of tea. Approximately a black tea, the process by which pu'erh is fermented and oxidized leads to a tea that may be aged and will mature over time. Standard black tea is not fermented in the same way, nor can it be positively aged like a pu'erh.
      Hope that helps!

    2. Thanks for the reply.
      So basically, pu'erh is like a fine wine or good quality leather that gets better as it ages over time.

      And it owes this quality of aging well to the way in which pu'erh is fermented which is different from regular tea.

      Thanks for the explanation.

      I can attest to the fact that regular tea ages and looses its freshness.

      I had Twinings Earl Grey tea bags which I bought in bulk and then within 6-9 months all the fragrance in the tea-bags was gone. I'm like what is this!!??

    3. That is a great analogy to wine and leather. Exactly right.

      Tea bags will usually lose flavor and fragrance even faster than loose leaf tea, thanks to how chopped the leaves are.