DAVIDsTEA tuo-cha bonbons
DAVIDsTEA is a fast growing chain of tea boutiques in Canada. Founded by David Segal in 2008, DAVIDsTEA has grown from an online store and a storefront on Queen Street in Toronto to 12 stores across the country in less than two short years. They offer a permanent collection of over 135 teas and tisanes as well as seasonal collections of tea. The recently launched Spring collection this year boasts 7 unique blends, from Irish Cream flavored black tea to the herbal concoction called “Pink” with camomile, lavender, hibiscus, fennel and orange peel (among other ingredients). Another new item added to their permanent collection recently are mini Tuo-Cha Bonbons.
The Tuo-Cha Bonbons are attractively packaged, looking like candy wrapped in paper, as the name suggests. Inside the wrapper is a cute little bowl-shaped formed Pu’erh tea, shaped like a birds nest and ready for steeping.
Not much aroma is present when the bonbons are in dry form. So, unlike other tea tastings I have done, I have no indication of how this tea is possibly going to smell or taste when it is brewed. Well, it looks like I am in for a surprise!
The tea liquor is dark and coffee-brown and is very rich in appearance. The aroma is extremely earthy, smelling of a damp forest. I know how that sounds, but it is not unpleasant at all, just interesting. There is a bit of sweetness and the deep fragrance that’s reminiscent of a roasted, slightly smoky green tea.
On the palate, the first infusion has a nice full body and is rich and substantial. There are notes of earth (dirt) and a kind of smoky, roasty, woodsy flavor. It’s minerality provides an almost salty sensation in the finish. I steeped this tea several times and I found the flavors changed a bit, the earthy flavors become more subdued and a subtle spice and citrus-rind characteristic appears at about the third infusion. At the fifth infusion, the liquor starts losing quite a bit of color and potency.
Pu’erh is often said to be the tea that can convert the coffee drinker, because of the rich color of the cup and the robust flavors. I think this might be true. I am definitely curious about Pu’erh and really want to get my hands on more of it. I find this Tuo-Cha by DAVIDsTEA to be a great introduction to the world of Pu’erh for its drinkability, its complexity and its uniqueness.