Friday, September 8, 2006

TN: Rishi Wild Tuo Cha Pu'er (Cooked)

Rishi Wild Tuo ChaAs part of my ongoing curiosity for everything pu'er, I picked up this Rishi Tea 100% Organic Wild Tuo Cha at the Whole Foods Market for $11.99 a week ago. At the store, I scrutinized every single word on the tin's label, but it doesn’t say anywhere if it’s raw (sheng) or cooked (shou). Only by reading "The dark red infusion has an earthy…" that I deduced it's the cooked type. It is.

The label on the tin is written quite cleverly, vaguely and riddled with semantics, I think. The label says...

"Hand picked from ancient tea trees."

"Wild Tuo Cha hails from the lush, ancient tea forest of Jing Mai village in Yunnan, China. The leaves used to make this tea are hand picked from wild tea trees, some of which are more than 1200 years old."

To me, all these wordings don't make much sense, yet hardly refutable. While it says "hand picked from ancient tea trees" on the front, the back says "...picked from wild tea trees, some of which are more than 1200 years old." How much of the "some" is from more than 1200 years old? 50%? 1%? 0.01%? Who makes cooked, supermarket mini tuo cha from leaves of "ancient" tea trees that are more than 1200 years old? C'mon, get real!

The best part of the label is the finely (tiny) written sentence "These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA." Can't see that? Here is the larger version: "These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA."

Anyway, how does it taste?

Parameter: 1 tuo in a 6oz yixing pot. Flash rinse twice. Then 5s, 5s, 10s, 15, ...

OK. Just ok. It looks just like any other cooked mini tuo-cha. Smells a bit pondy and woody in dry form. The liquor has very good clarity and deep red color. The pondy smell comes out prominently by the 3rd infusion. Smooth texture, as all shou tends to be. The finish is metallic (iron?), like after eating boiled spinach. I didn't detect any note of sweetness. A simple and clean tasting cooked pu’er. I tasted this tea twice on different occasions with consistent note.

Rishi Wild Tuo ChaWet leaves: itsy bitsy twig-like broken bits of leaves. Not fannings exactly, but almost. This came from 1200 years old tea trees???

2 stars (mg)

Price-wise, if you consider that this tea costs $12 for 140gr, then it translates to about $34 per 400gr (average beeng weight). For this price, one can get a much better cooked pu-erh for a fraction of the price.


MarshalN said...

It's Rishi, it's tuocha, it's cooked, what do you expect? :)

But yeah, those are misleading indeed. I remember reading the exact same words, and having basically the same reaction -- whatever!

It's hard to resist the temptation to buy everything that comes into sight though, sigh.

~ Phyll said...

I think the tin can is a keeper. :)

MarshalN said...

$12 is a bit steep for a can.

Jason Fasi said...

I just thought about something:

You should have called your blog: Adventures in Goblets and Gaiwans! :)

~ Phyll said...

No, no, that wouldn't work. I paid $2 million dollars to a PR firm to come up with the blog title. They insisted the words "Tea" and "Wine" must be there. :)

EvenOdd said...

Goblets and Gaiwans sounds like a new tabletop roleplaying game. I'd play that.