(also spelled "puer" or "pu'er") has been couched in traditional and steeped in mystery for many, many years. Recently, pu-erh has begun to reach more mainstream markets in China (where it was a hotly traded commodity before the economic crash) and the U.S. (where companies like Numi have launched flavored, bottled pu-erh
and flavored pu-erh in teabags
. How does Rishi Tea's Organic Vanilla Mint Pu-erh stack up?
Organic, Fair Trade Pu-erh
Like Numi's flavored pu-erhs, Rishi's Vanilla Mint Pu-erh is an organic tea
blended with organic ingredients. However, it's also a Fair Trade tea created as part of Rishi's Mannong Manmai Fair Trade Project
, which helps villagers in the ancient tea forests of Hekai Tea Mountain in China to have their basic needs (such as clean water, working roads, hygienic toilets and childhood education) met. All of this is wonderful, but it doesn't benefit you as a consumer unless the product is good, so let's talk aroma and flavor!
Aroma & Flavor
Aroma is a powerful way to evoke memory. The dry aroma of this tea immediately reminded me of a childhood love of buttermints. Ah, nostalgia! It also has notes of cinnamon
and licorice, with no discernible tea aroma.
Brewed, the tea takes on scents of fresh mint, soothing vanilla and rich earth, with hints of sweet spices. Similarly, the flavor profile
has top notes of mint underpinned by sweet, smooth vanilla and earthy, espresso-like, bittersweet pu-erh.
Although this is an undeniably unexpected flavor combination, it works surprisingly well.
Appearance, Mouthfeel & Aftertaste
Both dry and brewed, this is an attractive tea. The leaves are colorful and enticing. The brew has the darkness of strong-brewed drip coffee
, with a gorgeous red undertone.
of this pu-erh is moderately hefty, as many pu-erhs are. It doesn't have much of the tingle you'd get from an unblended mint tisane
is perfect for licorice lovers. If, like me, you hate licorice it's, well, not so ideal, but it is still tolerable. It's a long-lasting balance of licorice and mint, with abundant herbaceous, spiced flavors.
Obviously, this is not a serious pu-erh drinkers' pu-erh, but it is fun and approachable - a great introductory pu-erh for drinkers who are more interested in pu-erh's benefits than its unadorned flavor profiles. It's a fairly complex blend I think would appeal to many foodies, especially when paired with desserts. Traditionally, pu-erh is drunk after heavy meals as a digestif
and mint is used to soothe stomachs, so this blend makes it doubly suited for drinking after a large dinner.
I would particularly recommend this tea to:
- Foodies (especially those looking for teas to pair with desserts)
- New pu-erh drinkers
- People who are interested in pu-erh's health benefits, but not necessarily fans of the taste
- Anyone looking for a non-alcoholic after-dinner quaff
Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy