Today’s tea is Chocolate Pu-erh tea (organic) from Numi Tea.
Today’s tea is also in a tea bag, which I don’t normally have. All my tea is loose-leaf. But there’s an interesting story regarding the first tea bag. According to Coffee and Tea by Elin McCoy and John Frederick Walker, In 1908, a tea merchant packaged a sample of his tea in a silk bag, presumably to avoid the expense of sending samples in the tins that he sold the tea in. When the retailers received the bag, they just threw it in a cup of water, assuming that that was what the tea merchant intended. They were impressed with the convenience of the tea bags and started ordering all of their tea that way. And that was the beginning of tea sold in tea bags. (155)
Today’s tea bags are usually made of paper, and this one is no exception. Although according to the package it is made of a biodegradable filter paper, and it appears to be unbleached. The contents of the bag include: Organic black Pu-erh tea, organic cocoa powder, organic vanilla beans, organic rooibos, organic cinnamon, organic orange peel, organic nutmeg. Normally I don’t drink flavored teas (but I do enjoy Masala Chai), because I am a bit of a purist, but today’s tea is loved by a friend, and she sent me a sample.
It does smell heavenly. As soon as I tear open the individually wrapped bag I smell the nutmeg and cinnamon. A closer inspection reveals the earthiness of the Pu-erh and the smoothness of the cocoa peeking through. Once brewed the bag smells more like the Pu-erh with the spices and flavors in the background, and the color in the cup is a deep, reddish brown.
The flavor is similar to an earthy cup of Masala Chai, and smells similar to the spicy hot cocoa I make with cinnamon and clove, minus the chipotle pepper. Pu-erh can be an acquired taste, so if you’ve tried it before and not liked it, you will probably like this one. Its flavor is not as pronounced, and the spices come through and mask most of the earthiness of the Pu-erh. Maybe it was intentioned, maybe not. I have added milk after the initial tasting, and it is smoother still. My only complaint is that it could be stronger; I like me some strong tea. I would try it again with two tea bags and see what I thought. But for now, it’s perfect for our chilly Fall mornings.
You can get it here: http://shop.numitea.com/Chocolate-Puerh/p/NUMIS-10360&c=NumiTeaStore@Teabag@Puerh