Bitterleaf Teas’ Body & Soul 2020 | Tea Review

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When I saw this experimental blend of black tea and ripe pu-er, I quickly added it to my shopping cart because I hadn’t tried this combination before!

Description:“These two teas end up producing a well-rounded experience, making you wonder how you never thought of this before.”

Instructions: 15-20 ml [water] per gram of tea | quick rinse | first brew is in out and then add 5 seconds per subsequence infusion | boiling to 90°C water (Information is from the company after I messaged them about how to brew the tea)

Review: In the past I’ve tried teas that were blended with two types of loose leaf, for example green tea and black tea, but I don’t recall trying a blend where the teas were pressed into a cake together. This is a house blend of  2018 Bulang shou puer and 2020 Jinggu dianhong black tea.

The tea arrived with broken tea cake sections and loose leaf. Since it was made of two types of teas, the darker leaves of the pu-er contrasted the reddish golden black tea leaves. It had a mixture of smells ranging from fruity, sweet, sour, fish, herbal, and fermented.

Since the tea is made of both pu-er and black tea, I decided to brew the tea using the same amount of tea (2 to 3 grams) and water (50 ml), but try it with two temperatures! The reasoning is because pu-er teas are generally brewed with boiling water whereas black teas are brewed using 95°C to 90°C water. I wanted to explore what this change would bring out!

After being warmed in the pre-heated gaiwan, the tea had a sweet fruity, dates, and cherries smell but a strong underlying fermented smell from pu-ers.

Pu-er Tea Temperature (100°C)

Quick rinse: After a few seconds, the pale brown liquor had an earthy and musky smell but no strong taste.

Infusion 1 (in and out): The liquor was a darker reddish brown colour with a similar earthy smell as the rinse. There was a faint sweet, fruity, and earth taste and the leaves were beginning to unfurl.

Infusion 2 (5 seconds): The flavours of the dark reddish brown liquor weaved between being sweet and floral to ending earthy and fermented. There was some dryness in the mouth.

Infusion 3 (10 seconds): The liquor had a much darker appearance and tasted sweeter with a fermented note at the tail end of the sip. The flavour was slightly more mellow than previous infusions.

Infusion 4 (15 seconds): There was a distinct sweet, woody, and bread smell. The liquor tasted like how it smelled – fruity, sweet, earthy, and molasses and was reminiscent of fresh baked cookies. Depending on the sip, there were woody and earthy notes. The liquor was drying at the back of the throat.

Infusion 5 (20 seconds): Much like the rinse, the smell and flavour was faint.

Black Tea Temperature (90°C)

Quick rinse: Despite black teas normally not being rinsed, I still did because of the pu-er tea.

Infusion 1 (in and out): Tan reddish brown liquor with a faint roasted, smoky, and earthy taste and dryness at the back of the throat.

Infusion 2 (5 seconds): The liquor had a reddish brown hue with a stronger earthy tone. There was a lingering sweet cocoa taste that coated the tongue.

Infusion 3 (10 seconds): The liquor was much darker brown colour. It tasted sweet like fruits, dates, and cocoa with earthy and fermented pu-er undertone. After a few seconds, the astringency kicked in at the back of the throat.

Infusion 4 (15 seconds): The liquor developed into a golden reddish hue with a sweet, malt, earthy, woodsy, cocoa taste and dryness at the back of the throat.

Infusion 5 (20 seconds): The taste of the liquor was briskness with a faint cocoa, honey, and gram cracker taste. At times, the sip tasted tasted fermented and earthy like a pu-er but left a sweetness on the tongue.

The wet leaves was a mixture of fully unfurled broken milk chocolate brown leaves and twisted dark brown leaves. It smelled sweet, fruity, earthy, and woodsy.

Overall

This was an interesting tea since it is mixture of a black tea and a pu-er and tasted like it too. The liquor had sweet, malt, and fruity notes of a black tea woven in together with the earthy, woodsy, fermented notes of a pu-er.

At the lower temperature, there seemed to be more astringency but a stronger malty, fruity sweet notes. Whereas at the higher temperature, both the pu-er and black tea had an equal footing to shine. If I had to pick, I would suggest brewing this with boiling water. This tea was a fun to taste and explore how different black and pu-er can be but also how the flavours can meld together as well! (4/5 rating)!

  • Type: Black tea, Pu-er tea
  • Origin: China (Bulang and Jinggu)
  • Caffeine: Unknown
  • Ingredients: Dianhong black tea, Ripe puer
  • Company: Bitterleaf Teas

The question of the post: How would you brew this tea?

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