Pu'erh Tuo-Cha

Tea type
Pu'erh Tea
Not available
Chocolate, Fishy, Leather, Mushrooms
Sold in
Not available
Not available
Not available
Edit tea info Last updated by Jason
Average preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 15 sec

Currently unavailable

We don't know when or if this item will be available.

From Our Community

1 Image

5 Want it Want it

12 Own it Own it

17 Tasting Notes View all

  • “Wow, I’m drinking a pu’erh (the much maligned yet admired infamous pu’erh)….and I like it! I feel like I’ve been formally initiated into becoming a proper “tea aficionado”! ;) I chose Teas Etc....” Read full tasting note
  • “Dirty plant. This is my first pu’erh. I didn’t prepare it, but I think it went something like 3 little nests for about 18oz water. I don’t know if the bundles were broken up. Should you break...” Read full tasting note
  • “I think I may have decided that I just can’t rate pu’erh. This is one of those situations in which my rating system just does not hold up to practical use, because pu’erh still freaks me out enough...” Read full tasting note
  • “I really like the “bird’s nest” shape and it makes me feel extra special to unwrap each individual nest, like each one is it’s own little package made just for me. The liquor is a nice deep brown...” Read full tasting note

From Teas Etc

This ancient Chinese tea is not only tasty but thought to have powerful digestive and cleansing properties as well as aiding in lowering bad cholesterol naturally.

Grown in southern China’s Yunnan province the compressed tuo cha’s or birds nest yield 2 – 3 cups each and resemble a black tea taste.

Pu’erh Tuo-Cha Tea Type: Pu’erh

Ingredients: Pu’erh aged Chinese tea

Origin of Pu’erh Tuo-Cha : Yunnan, China

About Teas Etc View company

Direct trade quality loose leaf tea for more than a decade. World Tea Championship winners in 2008 & 2009. USDA Certified Organic. Based in US with buying office in China.

17 Tasting Notes

314 tasting notes

Wow, I’m drinking a pu’erh (the much maligned yet admired infamous pu’erh)….and I like it! I feel like I’ve been formally initiated into becoming a proper “tea aficionado”! ;)

I chose Teas Etc. for my first pu’erh because of the ease of ordering and I’ve tried their other teas before and liked them—so I was confident that they would offer no less than the best quality product (at least in this price range).

The little nest bowls are so cute! The tissue paper wrapping makes them seem like bite-size treats.

I remembered to “rinse” the leaves first by steeping the nest in boiled water for about 15 seconds then discarding the water. I was suprised on how immediately the nest disintegrated while in the water. The leaves themselves are small and broken—they almost look powdered.

Then I poured fresh hot water in my mug and I’m drinking it now (without removing the leaves). The liquid is as dark as coffee.

Here are the notes I’m detecting as I perceive them (semi stream of conciousness style):
Tree bark, loamy soil, smoke, ash, plums (?), deep green plants and roots. There is a dryness to this that is really refreshing. I had a stomachache because of a large dinner, but this seems to be easing it a bit. It does taste “powerful” but no worse than in the way of a hearty breakfast blend. This is like a breakfast blend squared—without the bitterness….and with added peat moss.
I’m also detecting notes of slate, lichen and mushrooms. This is definitely earthy—but earthy in the way of an ancient forest at midnight—on the edge of a cliff by the sea—cool and mysterious.
And there is a lingering sweetness at the back of the throat—interesting!

Last Thoughts: This is a tea I know I will be drinking often. It’s like some mysterious and magical elixir. :)


Your 1st 2 sentences remind me of myself!=D

Jim Marks

Why do you rinse your pu-erh before steeping?


Rinsing pu-erh before steeping is a tradition / rule. It’s to clean impurities / open up the leaves a little.


Jim, it keeps me from making me puke. LOL!=D


I’ve learned about the rinsing from the good people here at Steepster, also just today, I confimed from a co-worker (and drinker of puerh’s who is also originally from China) that one should rinse puerhs first (even just a quick swish and rinse—not necessarily for 15 seconds) because they can get dusty from the aging process.
Pre-Steepster, I’ve never heard of rinsing tea before! :)

Jim Marks

Traditional I’ll buy, but useful I’m not convinced of. Do as you please, of course.


Prevention from puking sounds useful to me:) A lot of people rinse oolongs as well.

Jim Marks

I’m not trying to be argumentative or quarrelsome, I’m just dubious about this “opening the leaves” and “dust”/“impurities” business (which were probably later justifications attached to an earlier purely ritualistic action). Whether or not unrinsed pu-erh would make someone puke, on an individual basis is sort of impossible to discuss in any meaningful way - but I’ve been drinking it nearly daily, unrinsed, for several years with no apparent ill effect. If it makes you enjoy the tea better, go for it! :) I just like not to waste any of the solubles, and they extract from pu-erh so quickly I would be reluctant to rinse mine. Hope I’m not on anyone’s toes, here. Because of the way this site is set up, it is impossible to move conversation to something private unless you’re following the people involved in the discussion.


@JIm Marks, it was a joke- I was just being funny. Sorry if I didn’t convey that well enough. I’ve just had a very vile experience w/ pu erh, and doing it this way makes it much more drinkable for me. I, too, was reluctant to “waste” the flavor but I’ve found that the subsequent infusions are very good (and raw pu erh is down right delicious!). Again, I’m really sorry if I offended you, it was absolutely not intentional.

Jim Marks

No, not at all. People will do what they do. I am still confused, and still dubious, but not offended.

Ugh, I keep forgetting that these apps convert emphasis lines into strike outs. Feh. How are you doing bold?


Bold is done like this * word * (but don’t put spaces between the actual word).
Rinsing is strange, but the more I read about pu-erh, the more I see that this is is part of the process of preparing it.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

28 tasting notes

Dirty plant.

This is my first pu’erh. I didn’t prepare it, but I think it went something like 3 little nests for about 18oz water. I don’t know if the bundles were broken up. Should you break them up before you steep? Either way, this both smelled and tasted like dirty plant to me. Wait. I mean: “I detected earthy vegetal notes”. When I stared into my cup, it was dark. Almost an inky type of dark. A dirty dark. Should it look like that? Hmm. Maybe there were too many nests used? I think the tin says 1 nest for 2-3 cups of water. Do they mean 8oz measuring cups or 6oz standard drinking cups? Either way, I’m guessing too many nests. People like pu’erh, and I doubt it’s because it tastes like a dirty plant. I’ll have to play with this on my own. Stay tuned.

Boiling 4 min, 30 sec

Yeah, definitely use one nest per cup! Maybe even a 12 oz. cup. I’ve never drank pu-erh in cake form (only loose), but it is pretty potent and a little goes a long way. :( Here’s hoping you can fix it to suit your tastes!


Ahhh, thank you teaplz!! So it was a case of over-nestatizing! I’ll have to try this again and see how it turn out. :)


LOL…I love how “dirty plant” turned into “earthy, vegetal notes”. People need to lighten up sometimes and realize that you can love tea without being snooty about it. Great post!


Agreed, Lena! That part made me smile as well. And over-nestatizing is an awesome phrase. I’m trying to figure out how I can incorporate that into everyday conversation.


@LENA: haha! When I first started logging my teas I was so intimidated thinking that tea drinkers were mostly proper hoity-toits, but then I started reading everyone’s posts and got so excited that I didn’t have to rack my brain for all the technical sensory attribute jargon. thank you all for keeping it real! :D

@teaplz: Erm, yes. I tend to make up words as I go. :) Over-nestatizing: may also describe a talented robin’s abilities to build a mansion-like home, or one of those mothers who goes crazy and accessorizes her home with many toys and gadgets for her baby, only to find that it likes the cardboard boxes they came in waay more (true story).


I love this review. It made my afternoon.


You are the best. Loved this post, and the comments :)


Hee, awesome.

Oh, also, I do think that the cake/nests are supposed to be broken up, but I’m not sure where I’m pulling that information from source-wise.


Carolyn gave me a piece of pu erh cake and told me not to break it further as it would cause bitterness. Not sure if nests are the same way. As for ammount she also suggests 1g of tea/1oz of water.


@fcmonroe&shanti: aw, thanks guys. i appreciate you putting up with my ramblings.
@takgoti: yeah, i think i remember reading something about that, too! in fact i think it was an article steepster tweeted about a long time ago…
@cofftea: hmm. interesting. perhaps nests and cake are handled differently? or perhaps theres a bit of consumer preference involved? i’ll have to try both and see what happens. oh, and i’m going home and weighing my nests first thing! hooray for my new digital scale! :)


@cofftea Was that raw pu-erh?


takgoti, yeah it was. Not sure if that’d make a difference since Carolyn’s preparation instructions were the same for cooked and raw- the only difference she suggested was to increase the steeping time starting w/ the 2nd infusion of the raw vs waiting til the flavor got weak for the cooked. I don’t really notice a difference not increasing the time though.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

158 tasting notes

I think I may have decided that I just can’t rate pu’erh. This is one of those situations in which my rating system just does not hold up to practical use, because pu’erh still freaks me out enough that I can’t give it the rating that it deserves, and yet I like it enough to crave it on occasion, so I know that it’s good.

Strange, yes. Nonsensical, yes. It’s still true.

This is only the second pu’erh I have ever had. The other one in my cabinet (which is nearly gone now, astonishingly) is Samovar’s Maiden’s Ecstasy. I’d call this one — the Tuo-Cha — the milder of the two by far, though I’m not certain as to why that is. I think it seems to lack the degree of depth that the ME has, but it still produces a pitch-black cup of earthy, woody tea.

It’s important to note that it gave me one cup of earthy, woody tea. I admit I’m not certain how long I was supposed to be steeping the nest, but one four-minute steep in my 16oz cup sapped almost all of the color out of the leaves, and a subsequent cup at a longer steep time was so limp and watery that I just poured it out. I suppose with my other little nest I’ll probably cut back on the steep time of the first cup to see if I can stretch the leaves more for another punchy infusion.

The nests are adorable, too. So very very cute.

205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec
Madison Bartholemew

if you like the punchy ones the tuo cha from California tea house has a honey punch… I thought that was pretty neat!


I’m not sure if I do or not, since I’m so intimidated by this type of tea, as of yet! I think I missed the depth of the other one I tried, though, for sure. The honey note sounds fantastic, though. I will look into giving it a try! Thanks for the recommendation. :)

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

115 tasting notes

I really like the “bird’s nest” shape and it makes me feel extra special to unwrap each individual nest, like each one is it’s own little package made just for me. The liquor is a nice deep brown and the nose on it is nice too. Similar in taste to a black tea but with a deeper earthy sense, an almost root-like taste (in a good way). This seems like a good tea for classic tea drinkers, no bells and whistles…just straight tea flavor.


Just finished off the rest of the pot after having let it sit for a while. It’s just luke warm but even stronger more solid flavors now. The aroma is more present and hits you sooner. It’s nice that with time it seems to only have gotten better.


As my appreciation for pu-erh has only continued to grow as I branch out and try more, this one is going on the list. I have yet to try an actual pu-erh cake, and this sounds like a good place to start. Especially since I REALLY like the idea of opening little packages whenever I want a batch. Sometimes it’s the little things in life that count.


I haven’t tried a pu-erh cake either, but it seems pretty cool. Even though (I think) the majority of the time you just break it up anyways.

Katie Alberry

Pu-erh cakes are also great. You just break some pieces off for each pot and enjoy the aromas and tastes that are hidden within. I really enjoy opening these little nests, though.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

20 tasting notes

Enjoying a wonderful cup of this Pu’erh this morning. It’s not organic (I typically consume only organic foods and drinks), but, I haven’t found an organic Pu’erh that comes in the birds nest shape yet and I really like that special aspect of this tea (even if it has nothing to do with the flavor or quality….it still impacts the experience).

I read a few other tasting notes here and think that folks might be using too much of the tea. I use a Sorapot (newest coolest tea product I’ve purchased thanks to Steepster’s recommendation) and throw one nest in there unbroken. The first steeping is always my favorite as the color of the liquor is the beautiful rose pink (don’t over steep!). I then continue to steep another two or three mugs using the same nest (which is now broken up after the first steep) but only leave the water in the pot for about 30 seconds each time. These final steepings produce a much darker tea but it’s the perfect coffee substitute!

The tea has a nice rounded mouthfeel but it is definitely not too complex versus some of the other “rare” or “vintage” Pu’erhs I’ve tasted. If you’re looking for a first Pu’erh experience, this might be a good starting place. Just pay close attention to your steeping time of course.

205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec

High five on the Sorapot! Or perhaps, fist bump? Would that be less nerdy? Although, thanks to The Office, I can’t do fist bumps without blowing it up.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

33 tasting notes

This is a an average pu’erh. The flavor profile is rather one-dimensional. I enjoy drinking this in the mornings at work because it is dark and strong enough to be a good coffee alternative, and the pressed mini cakes make preparation simple.

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 45 sec

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

15 tasting notes

Beautiful little nest individually wrapped makes for an excellent presentation. Smells like a pu-erh should with very earthy tones. About to try it in just a moment!

5 min, 0 sec

What did you think of this? I’m just about out of my puerh tuocha and thinking of ordering some more. The stuff I had tastes VERY much like earth. Very strong and complex. How is Teas Etc?

Katie Alberry

I really like Teas Etc. They have a nice selection and the quality is really great, especially for the price. Not only are the teas nice, the service is great as well! They send your order with three free samples of your choice, and the shipping is prompt. The last time I ordered they even wrote me thanking me for a tea I reviewed on Steepster! I would recommend trying some of their teas if not the Puer Tuo-Cha. I just ordered more of it!

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

8 tasting notes

after my thrid thermos of this tea, I think it’s safe to say that I like it, although not quite as much as some of the others I’ve tried. It brews up a lovely dark dark brownish blackish color and the bird nest is just too cute for words. (my youngest son has been carrying one around in a little bag for 2 days because he likes how it looks) There are some definite earthy tones to it, a shock for me since I didn’t know tea could taste like a freshly tilled garden smells. I did have to add a few sugar subes to my 16 oz. bottle, but that’s just because I like my drinks to be overly sweet, especially first thing in the morning. Well, my thrid thermos is empty so it’s time to go brew another tea. See ya!

195 °F / 90 °C 5 min, 0 sec

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

2036 tasting notes

Sipdown no. 30 of 2021 (no. 650 total).

One of the lower rated teas in my collection (since pretty much every true tea in my collection is rated over 80 now with maybe one exception, I’m enjoying an embarrassment of riches).

My original note on this, when I drank it hot through multiple steeps, identified one of its characteristics as fishy. I sipped this down with two cold pitchers worth and neither were fishy. So there’s that.

Cold shu is actually kind of nice when you’re in the mood.

I still have way too much pu’erh.


I adore cold steeped shu. Mmmmmmm


Nevah enough….

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

19 tasting notes

I drop one in a 5oz Giawan.1-2 infusion 30sec. 3-4 1min. Seems to work for me. I think this way it isn’t over powering.

Boiling 0 min, 30 sec

Login or sign up to leave a comment.