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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Review: The English Tea Store’s Scottish Caramel Toffee Pu-erh Tea

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The Subject:  Scottish Caramel Toffee Pu-erh
Company:The English Tea Store

Flavored Tea Rating:

About the new rating designation.

Flavorings work with tea?  Yes
Tea can be tasted?Slightly
Flavor blend balanced?A bit too caramelly

Water temperature:212° F
Steeping time:2-10 mins.
Tea type:Black pu-erh
Additions:Caramel, toffee
Aroma, dry leaves:  Caramelly, coconutty, chocolaty impression, molassesy

1st Infusion:  
Aroma, plain —  Earthy, caramelly, toffee-ish
Taste, plain —Caramel/toffee stronger as cools
Color, plain —Red-brown
Taste, enhanced —  Smooth, more earthy, sweet
2nd Infusion:
Aroma, plain —Earthy, caramelly
Taste, plain —Better flavor, more balanced
Color, plain —About twice as dark, red-brown
3rd Infusion:
Aroma, plain —Earthy, caramelly
Taste, plain —Lighter
Color, plain —About same as 1st infusion

Caramel. Toffee. What’s not to like? Well, as the saying goes, too much of a good thing is too much. A cuppa this tea is a nice sweet break, and we enjoyed it very much. However, several cups at a sitting is too much of that sweet caramelly toffee flavor. Since multiple infusions are possible, you could end up with that much tea. Your other option is to brew only a small amount at a time. Of course, if you have a real sweet tooth, you could do 3 or 4 infusions and be just fine.

There is a trend toward flavored pu-erhs, which can be a bit too earthy tasting for many palates. I reviewed one recently and found that the added flavors did not totally mask the pu-erh earthiness but worked with it. This tea is similar, the one difference being an overly caramelly/toffee-ish taste. We are thinking that a quick rinse of the tea leaves before steeping might have helped this. We decided to combine the liquid from all 3 infusions and get some balance that way, since the caramel/toffee flavors faded with each infusion.

Pu-erhs can be either green (raw) or black (ripe). This one is black. Unlike some black teas (such as CTC Assams), this type of tea is rarely bitter. Even when steeped for the 10-minute maximum steeping time the vendor has on their site, the tea is strong, but not bitter. So, go ahead, if you want, and steep it to the max.

I tried some of the first infusion with a bit of milk and sweetener added. To me, it smoothed the flavor and covered the earthiness of the pu-erh.

Overall, while hubby and I don’t see ourselves drinking it everyday, this is a good dessert-like tea that’s fine on occasion.

Disclaimer: This tea was provided by the company named. However, the rating of the tea and any opinions concerning it are always strictly objective.

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