Serious Eats: Drinks
Spot of Tea: Numi Pu-erh Teas
I tend to associate jasmine tea with the warm cups poured at local Chinese restaurants—those teas tend to be delicate and floral, not big or bold in flavor. But the Jasmine Pu-erh tea from Numi Organic Tea is quite a robust cup, bringing together savory black Pu-erh with green tea and jasmine flowers. The tea is earthy enough to keep the perfume from taking over. Though Pu-erh purists might wince to see these blended teas, most of the combinations make for very tasty infusions.
Numi's also offering a ginger version, as well as a basil-mint flavor, and a cardamom version. The ginger Pu-erh smells decidedly rootlike, and the flavor's quite strong if brewed according to package directions. If you want your ginger tea pungent and unfettered by other spices, this may be just right (it would also be nice with a little milk.) The cardamom tea is like a stripped down chai: no cinnamon, no ginger, no sweetness, but the earthy tea is nicely complemented by the cardamom, and the combination is rich and almost malty. It's not like anything we've tried before.
Our least favorite of the group was the basil-mint Pu-erh, which might appeal to fans of tulsi tea but just felt a bit odd to us. It's both sweet and vegetal, intense and...confusing, like you've stirred fresh pesto into your mug of tea.
Have you tried these Pu-erh blends? Do you have a favorite?
About $9 for a 16-count box, sample provided for review.