Camellia Sinensis’ Thai Pu-er Shou 2013 Old Trees | Tea Review

by Tea in Spoons

It is uncommon for me to find teas outside major or popular tea-producing areas, such as China, India, or Japan. So, when I saw this tea from Thailand, I knew I had to try it!

Description: “A subtle candy-sweet flavour of liquorice bring the earthy notes of this tea to life.”

Instructions: 2.5 grams | 95°C (203°F) | Rinse leaves | 4 – 5 min

Review: From the packaging, despite being a pu-er, I had expected that the main recommendation would be to brew gong fu style with a gaiwan, however, it showed western-style brewing. Therefore, most of my tasting sessions were brewed in a cup as I only had 12 grams of tea. However, I do brew the tea once using a gaiwan.

As stated on the company website, this is a small batch of pu-er from old trees located in Doi Wawee in the mountainous region of Chiang Rai, Thailand.

The dry leaves were broken and a reddish brown and dark brown colour with a reddish coating of small hairs. This corresponded with the plucking styling of 1 bud and 2 leaves, where there would be hairs from the young tea buds. The smell of the leaves was fermented, mineral, and slightly charcoal.

In a Cup

After brewing the tea for 4 minutes, the liquor was the classic dark reddish brown colour associated with pu-ers with small hairs floating on the top of the liquor. The smell was also similar to other aged pu-ers and reminded me of damp earth, woody bark, and nuts. The taste began with notes of wood, damp earth and fermentation, then became mildly sweet like red dates, and ended off with a mineral taste. The sip also had some dryness at the back of the throat.

Brewing at 5 minutes, the liquor tasted more smokey and woody, with a caramel taste. A fermented taste lingered in the mouth. With a longer steeping time, the tea tasted like a fermented hojicha.

The wet twisted leaves had a dark, almost black appearance and had a woody, fermented, and sweet attribute.

In a Gawain

Pre-heating the gaiwan and leaves, released a sweet, earthy, musky, and sweet maple smell.

Infusion 1 (25 seconds): After a quick rinse and 25 seconds of steeping, the liquor was a dark brownish-red colour and had a faint musky smell. At first sip, the taste was mild, and similar to brewing in a cup, the taste reminded me of sweet red dates with a bit of musk. However, as the liquor coated the mouth, the flavour became more pronounced and I could taste more of the classic pu-er notes such as damp earth and minerality. The sip was drying at the back of the mouth.

Infusion 2 (20 seconds): The fermented taste was much more noticeable during this infusion and layered on top of the other tasting notes from Infusion 1. The liquor also was a dark jet colour.

Infusion 3 (30 seconds): While the liquor was still a dark brown colour, the leaves were spent and there was only a minimal smell or taste. The liquor did impart a drying sensation on the tip of the tongue.


While fermented teas are not always the first tea I will gravitate toward, I did enjoy this one because had additional notes of sweetness and depending on the steeping time (specifically in the cup), it either leaned more sweet and fruity or was more smoked like a hojicha. The sweetness of the tea came out in both using the mug and the gaiwan, which I enjoyed! I feel like the ageing of the tea also may have mellowed out some of the stronger fermented notes some pu-er’s have.

This would be a nice tea for someone who is not a big fan of the sourish/tangy/herbal taste of fermented teas, is interested in different styles of picking tea, or wants to try tea from Thailand (3.5/5 rating)!

  • Type: Pu-er tea
  • Origin: Doi Wawee, Chiang Rai, Thailand
  • Caffeine: Unknown
  • Ingredients: Pu-er tea
  • Company: Camellia Sinensis

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Tea in Spoons is where I share my love of teas through tea reviews, tea travel, tea tips, information, and more. New tea adventure every Thursday!