Paru Tea BarEdit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
Spring Tea Swap with Vallhallow. There is so much to choose from but I decided my first should match the book I am currently reading: Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes. There has only been one mention of tea thus far and apparently, it was awkward. Pg209. And just a quick bit of history for you. Ho Chi Minh was originally called Saigon until it fell in the 1970s. https://www.britannica.com/event/Vietnam-War/The-fall-of-South-Vietnam
Now on to the tea. This was quite a bit different than I was expecting. Maybe that’s just because I’ve been drinking very astringent tea for the last week. Dry Aroma: Sweet and woody. Wet Leaf Aroma: Musty. Mild spicy. It is difficult to explain the spicy because it has a bit of tangy on the nose but it is not like jalapeno it reminds me more of a black and white pepper mix. Without the sneezes. Liquor Aroma: Reminds me of Sticky rice, cream of wheat, or tapioca. Flavor: Also reminds me of sticky rice. Creamy notes. Fresh whole milk. Woodsy notes are somewhat musty. Damp woods. Soft mouthfeel. No astringency. Though as you steep it longer the finish becomes slightly more gritty with just a bare touch of astringency. Leaves you feeling like you ate cream of wheat.
Thank you for the sample!
I impulsively bought a pound of their milk oolong with a discount, and put this sample in the order. It only lasted two steeps, but was immensely smooth and good. Smoke, toffee, chocolate, roast, charcoal, honey, wood, autumn, earth, ash, and a little bit of grassiness or moss in an incredible first steep after 45 seconds. 50 seconds for the second one, and it was faded. Delicious, but faded.
I would definitely consider picking some of this up in another order. Makes me mourn the opportunity for their rum one. Either way, I was deeply satisfied with this Hojicha. The only downside is that it didn’t last.
Flavors: Charcoal, Chocolate, Earth, Honey, Roasty, Smoke, Smooth, Sweet, Toasty, Wet Moss, Wet Wood, Wood
Sipdown! (2 | 43)
A sweet Insta friend was nice enough to send me a sample of this (very expensive) tea. I’ve tried one other tea from Paru before, it was a black tea with Okinawan black sugar. It was good but too sweet for me, and not worth the high price IMHO. But I love lychee so I’m excited for this one.
It’s very tasty! The base is a nice blend of earthy, malty, a touch of honeyed sweetness. Very deep and dark and satisfying. And the lychee is present but it’s not over-the-top, quite authentic tasting with a sweet and juicy, slightly floral note. I will say I’m not sure I get much in the way of lemon, a little bit maybe? I would like a bit more I think. Chrysanthemum adds a slightly musty, somewhat floral herbaceous note. It throws me off a bit, I’m not sure I like the combination with the lighter, sweeter fruit notes.
Anyway, I do like it. The base is nice and the lychee tastes fresh and juicy. I don’t think I would pay the high price for it, but I’m thankful I had a chance to try it. :)
Flavors: Caramelized Sugar, Caraway, Chrysanthemum, Earth, Floral, Herbaceous, Honey, Juicy, Lychee, Malt, Musty, Nectar, Rye, Sweet, Wood
Thank you for the sample!
This one is supremely malty. Like boba milk sickeningly thick malty. It’s a breakfast style tea for sure with smaller tea leaves, but fortunately it’s not astringent. It’s got some light bitterness and definitely has some energy. It’s got some chocolate notes, but more of what you’d get in a Ceylon or Assam, maybe some more robust Keemums. They were not as heavy as the malt.
I only did it western and still see this more as a cream and sugar kind of tea, or even a boba tea, but I’m still open to see what it does gong fu before I rate it. I’m pretty happy with it, though it’s not my preferred style of black tea. It’s more for a classic palette anyway with some flexible bonuses.
Flavors: Dark Chocolate, Malt, Tea, Thick, Wood
Thank you for the Sample Paru Tea Bar!
I honestly wanted to try this one and the Yuzu Chai, but held off to spend my money on the other blends that are still pricey. This one surprised because:
1. I was not bored by this coconut chai blend and
2. it’s a rooibos blend that recommends to steep it ONLY FOR ONE MINUTE.
That is rare for a non gongfu, and usually, rooibos are steeped between 3-5 minutes, with 5 minutes being the more common recommendation.
What I got was a spicy chai that balanced its spices nicely. Pepper was the most prominent spice, followed by the cardamom as it cooled down. The coconut smoothened out the profile, but somehow, the rooibos pepper and clove combo struck my palette as woodsy and citrusy. Like really heavy citrus wood orange glow in hints. Weird. I rebrewed it again, 2 min, then 3, and it was still good. I got more coconut in the later steeps.
I was surprised how much I liked this tea straight. I think it would be better with raw sugar and condensed milk or coconut milk, but minimal sugar because this is not a heavy tea. The only heavy thing is the spice and cardamom, but I like heavy cardamom anyway. Definitely recommend this one is not a typical coconut chai.
Flavors: Cardamom, Cinnamon, Citrus, Citrus Zest, Clove, Coconut, Creamy, Dark Wood, Pepper, Rooibos, Spicy
Coldbrew is soooooooo the way to go with this herbal tea. I wish I had a decent coldbrew bottle for it, and am tempted to use my amazon gift money on a Hario Filter. They always look so pretty. I really shouldn’t because two of my tumblers do have cold brew filter capabilities, and one of the ones I am getting will, but they are a pain in the butt to clean. Anyone have any experience with the Hario Filter bottles? Easy cleaning is the big draw in for me, and if having one means I go through my loose leaf like this faster because I’m cold brewing, all the better.
I will try it again hot, but it’s so much creamier and sweeter cold. Instead of overripe near rotting fruit for me, it’s fresher cold and I really like it. Now to see how the Pandan waffle does.
Flavors: Coconut, Cream, Dried Fruit, Savory, Sticky Rice, Sugarcane, Sweet
I expected to really like this one, but I had a hard time drinking it on its own without honey or sugar hot western. I actually liked the Pandan Waffle a little more because the toasty rice offset whatever ripe fruit quality is coming from the ingredients. Again, my brother and mother really like this tea and were enjoying it as a desert, but for me, it reminded me of my own vomit after a long session of eating too many coconut based things. I think it’s psychological, and again, this is probably a really good tea that I’m having a hard time drinking because of repressed experiences, which is annoying given how quickly I can chug any other coconut based white, green, rooibos, or oolong tea.
I’ll be coming back to this one. I don’t know if it’s the pandan, sticky rice leaves, coconut, or jujube dates that are giving me a weird feeling, but I’ve got to figure it out. It’s a gorgeous tea to look at and expensive, but I don’t know why it’s so off putting for me.
Maybe coldbrew is the way to go with it?
Flavors: Coconut, Herbaceous, Overripe Cherries, Rice, Rice Pudding
I got this with the Sticky Rice Pandan in tandem with each other. I originally was going to order the herbal version-it sold out-then I got this tea. I hesitated because of the savory element from the toasted sticky rice, but I was still excited because this is a Genmaicha style blend that’s really unusual.
Trying it out, it wasn’t as creamy as I expected. It was loaded with sticky rice , toast, vanilla, and coconut flavor in a sweet and savory combo, but I had a really hard time drinking it without any additives. There was a funky overripe fruit or seaweed quality that I was having a hard time getting down that made my stomach uncomfortable. I’m used to a more savory kind of tea from Vietnamese style desserts anyway, but there was something about it that made my stomach churn. I added raw sugar, and that significantly enhanced the flavor, but there was still something off for me.
It could be psychological since I have vomited coconut pineapple rice before, and maybe the heat reminds me of my own bile, but I had a really hard time getting this tea down even though I love coconut and rice. My brother and my mother really liked this tea and loved the herbal version, and I do think this is a great tea; however, I got to figure out how to brew it in a way I like. Paru does have a catalogue of gong fu, western, or cold brew style teas, and this one might be better as a cold brew than a hot tea. Or maybe, this tea was intended to be enhanced by sweetener.
I’m not done writing about this tea though, and that’s for sure.
Flavors: Astringent, Coconut, Dates, Malt, Rice, Rice Pudding, Savory, Sweet, Toast, Vegetable Broth
Upping the rating considering I got a pound of this. Probably one of the best milk oolongs I’ve had-it’s versatile cold brew, gong fu, and western. The unique lychee notes is what I liked the most about it in the third and fourth steeps. Of course it’s milky and I am not sure if it’s flavored, but the balance of the spinachy greenness of the tea, the sweet cream dessert quality, and the painted flecks of fruit from the tea is incredible. It’s a shame Paru doesn’t carry it all the time-hence the impulse by.
This is one of the first milk oolongs that was not overly vegetal in my tumbler. Butter? Yes. Coconut like? Yes. Milky? Yes. Green like spirulina and a grassy protein shake for a cow? Yes, but smooth and well rounded by the other flavor profiles being close to a greener dessert.
I’m contemplating on making this a staple…but it’s $42 for 4 oz….eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee we’ll see. I do really like it. 93 rating minimum that will likely go up-price is the main thing holding this one back because I’ve very rarely had Alishan Jin Xuans that actually have a fruity note, and this one has a very prominent lychee flavor as it cools down in third steeps.
I’ve had a total of six of Paru’s selection, and this was actually my favorite of the purchases-which I did not expect. I’ve had a lot of milk oolongs before, and usually come up as a buttery combo of cream, florals, and vegetative spinach in flavor whether or not there’s some scenting going on. This one struck me as a surprise because I didn’t think buttercream and sweet fruit were going to be accurate, and then were. I’m fairly certain this one is scented or flavored somehow, but it’s very good.
I brewed up a semi gong fu session alternating between long and short steeps. 15 sec rinse, 2 minute first steep, then 40 sec, 45, 50, 60, 120, and finally three minutes again. There were some spinach in the voluptuous texture, and reminded me of Mandala’s Milk Oolong in its candy corn savory and sweet combo. The fruit surprised me because it was a more sugary fruit, and outside of the usual pineapple or coconut vibe most jin xuans give off. It reminded me of japanse milk candy, almost bordering on peach or lychee-which I didn’t really expect.
I’m still holding off on rating this one, but I’m impressed. The price is a little on the high side being close between $10.50-12.00 an oz depending if you get 2 or 4 oz for it, but it’s not a weak quality tea base by any means. I remember the earlier reviews of Alishan Jin Xuans in general were fruity nearly ten years ago, and since then, I’ve wanted to try one that really captures the creamy fruity combo a lot of earlier reviews raved about. Most of the Alishan Jin Xuans I’ve had are grassy, creamy, floral ,and only a hint fruity. This one, however, had fruit stealing the show under layers of sweet condensed creamy flavor.
Flavors: Butter, Caramel, Coconut, Cream, Fruity, Lychee, Milk, Peach, Spinach, Sweet, Thick
Roswell’s notes and the unique blends triggered me to splurge on Paru twice. This one looked up my alley, and I got it with their milk oolong and both pandan blends. All of their teas were high quality and original, and while I think some of them are a little bit too expensive, the company more than does its best to get you quality service.
Roswell’s hundred rating sold me hard, and I expected an intensely fruity tea with a chocolatey wild black tea base. I got what I expected, but under layers of flowers and chrysanthemum. The chrysanthemum to tea ratio almost struck me as being more of an herbal blended tea than a flavored tea, when I looked at the loose leaf, but there was enough oomph from the tea and fruit to make me taste otherwise.
There is still some dryness and herbiness for me, but the flavor and aroma are great in a hot western style after three minutes. It’s clearly designed to be an iced tea in its malty fruity lemon essence. I look forward to playing with it.
After our two oolong sessions we switched to a sort of weird gongfu/Western tea steeping hybrid because we wanted to break out some flavoured teas but weren’t interested in committing to steeping a full teapot’s worth of tea or whole mugs. I was pleasantly surprised how well this tea worked with the weird steeping method. It came off more gin-like to me than necessarily the highly aromatic and pungently floral/pithy bergamot that sometimes comes through, and with a real unexpected sweetness to the top notes as well!
Sipped on over the weekend. Definitely got that boozy kind of gin note in addition to a heavy handed dose of bergamot. I’m not super big on Earl Grey, as you all know, but I do love gin and I think the botanical pine-y flavour of it is such a natural compliment to the citrus of bergamot. It elevates what would otherwise probably be a fairly boring (to me, at least) tea!
Y’know I was on the fence about ordering this one since I don’t love Earl Grey – although Earl Grey gin, if you’ve never had the chance to try one before, is pretty solid. Then the tea arrived and it didn’t really smell that impressive as dry leaf – barely boozy (especially when compared to the rum hojicha) and pretty strong bergamot note. However, steeped it was really interesting and unique. Definitely an Earl Grey but it had the botanical and almost pine-y juniper note of gin as well and it was actually much more apparent in taste than I’d guessed it would be. Also had a somewhat fruity note as well – one while felt a bit out of place for both a gin and an Earl Grey.
I’m not sure I’m fully on board, but I think I’m more on board than I expected to be. So that’s not nothing!
Oversteeped this cup and it resulted in it tasting far more savory than I would have ever thought would have been possible given the ingredient list here. I still got that soft creamy starchy quality of the pandan in the top notes, but the body was brothy with notes of anise and the finish pretty harsh and bitter. Milk probably would have softened it up, but I was tired and couldn’t be bothered to get some. Plus, I only have oat milk in the house right now and I felt like that wouldn’t have been the best flavour fit…
Short tasting note – I’ll write a fuller one with a future tasting I’m sure. This pandan chai is super unique; the blend of warming spices is perfectly balanced with the silky and creamy flavour of the pandan! Pandan often reminds me of coconut or sticky rice, so a total match made in heaven for this style of Chai.
Steeped this one up on Thursday!
I always feel a little guilty drinking some of my different alcohol flavoured or barrel aged teas at work just because of how authentically boozy the aroma can actually get. That’s how I felt about drinking this one in our lab that morning; it really smelled like rum which may have been a lot at 10AM on a Thursday. Thankfully, no one ended up coming in and joining me in the lab before I had finished the cup so I got to just enjoy the warm and cozy flavoured of the hojicha with the sweet complexity of the rum overtones mostly guilt free.
Toasty golden and smooth but also pretty distinctly rum flavoured in the best kind of round, sweet and boozy sort of way. It reminds me a little bit of the chocolate rumballs that my mom used to make around the holidays, but also makes me feel a little bit like a pirate!? A pirate in the best way though.
Pirates are fucking cool.
This was what we steeped up on the first evening at the hotel! My mom hates fish so one of the places she was really interested in eating at during her trip was a vegan sushi restaurant, so we had hojicha with vegan sushi. There were some really nice options, actually – my favourite ended up being one of green apple, asian pear, cucumber, and asparagus. It was very fresh and crisp! She liked… some of them.
Hojicha, even boozy tasting hojicha like this, paired great though!
I’ve seen a lot of barrel aged teas but rum barrel aged hojicha is totally new for me so I could not in any way resist trying this one out. The dry leaf is stem heavy to the point where this almost looks more like a kukicha, but I see some leaf throughout so we’re not totally over the line. The tea smells heavily of rum. Like, to the point where I was not comfortable steeping this one in my office when I first got the sample. However, there’s a sweetness to the thick aroma of booze and a toasty familiar hojicha nuttiness.
The tea tastes great! It’s all the cozy familiarity of a nuttier and well roasted hojicha with those big sweeping roasted barley and other grain-type of notes that are a hug of comfort and toasty deliciousness. However, it’s also mighty boozy. Not anywhere close to the intensity of that dry leaf smell, but there’s no second guessing the reality that this tea has come in contact with rum. It’s an excellent addition and compliments so nicely. But more than that, there’s just a small part of me that kind of feels a bit like a pirate when I drink it and nothing will take away that glorious feeling from me.