I’ve been noticing a trend toward flavoring pu-erhs. That is, tea vendors are offering pu-erhs with bits of fruit, flower petals, spices, things like vanilla, and other flavorings added in. They are marketing to personal taste. Personal taste is just that — personal. I tend to find the flavors of pu-erh teas to be so enticing and varied that I don’t need any other flavors added in. But tea vendors do what they gotta do.
Some flavored teas we’ve seen around (not revealing the vendor’s name, since this is just for instructional purposes, not to comment on them):
- Scottish Caramel Toffee Pu-erh Tea — flavored with butterscotch pieces, almond pieces, and toffee.
- Strawberry Pu-erh Tea — containing whole strawberries and vanilla swirls, and being promoted as a weight loss tea.
- Flavored Pu-erh (don’t want to use the vendor’s name for this product here since it would reveal who they are) — blended with green oolong tea and flavored with fruits (strawberries and golden delicious apples), hibiscus petals, peppermint, and spearmint. Also being promoted as a diet tea.
- Scented assortment — rice, jasmine, chrysanthemum, rose.
- Pu-erhs wrapped in citrus rinds — oranges and tangerines are most common, with the vendor advising that you include bits of the rind when steeping.
- Bamboo tube pu-erh — actually roasted in a bamboo tube so you get that bamboo taste.
- Jasmine Pu-erh — with real jasmine blooms.
- Lavender Pu-erh — with dried lavender petals.
- Osmanthus Pu-erh — with Osmanthus petals.
- Pu-erh Chai — the vendor means a spiced tea here (“chai” means “tea” but gets used by a lot of tea vendors to mean “spiced tea”), with cinnamon bark, cardamom pods, and citrus.
- Rosebud Pu-erh — an actual rosebud is included in with the tea.
There were many more, but this gives you an idea. And again it’s a matter of personal taste.
Here are some natural flavors in regular pu-erhs (those without any extra ingredients added):
- Forest floor
- Tree bark
- Honey and molasses (not an added flavor but one naturally occurring in the tea)
- Bold tannins
- Beer-like aroma
- Barley or wheat-tasting
- Alcohol/whiskey character
- Round and well-balanced
Pu-erh is definitely one of those teas that needs a bit of time and effort to appreciate fully. And with each steep, new flavors will emerge in the liquid. Give it a try!