Paru Tea Bar

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Recent Tasting Notes

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!

Daylon R Thomas

On my 21st birthday 5 years ago, I grandpa steeped a small amount of vanilla earl grey in hot water with a shot of gin, and it was actually really satisfying. Reading the note reminded me of that. I wish there were more booze barrel scented teas, especially oolongs.

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75
drank Thai by Paru Tea Bar
11916 tasting notes

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.

Photo: https://www.instagram.com/p/CR2MljfBzCb/

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F01hoI2PlTY&ab_channel=ScotchMist

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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.

Daylon R Thomas

Rum+hojicha sounds so frickin smooth.

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drank Citrus Mint by Paru Tea Bar
11916 tasting notes

Cold Brew Sipdown (1407)!

This was a free sample from my order with Paru – I wasn’t expecting any free samples, let alone the two they included, so I was appreciative of both.

I thought this was pretty nice but I have to admit that, of everything I’ve tried from Paru so far, I found this the least interesting. I guess that makes sense; for a tea company to have mass appeal you definitely need some “safer” and more commercial blends and this felt like it fell in that range – a nice, non-complex and solidly executed mix of cooling and herbaceous mint with fresh, light citrus. It was very, very refreshing as a cold brew and easily brewed up without fuss. I knew what to expect, and it met those expectations well. I just personally have been more interested in exploring the more unique and innovative blends from Paru.

There’s a customer for this though, totally!

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Gongfu!

This is the first straight/traditional tea I’m trying from Paru – I was intrigued because the only other compressed oolong in this style I’ve seen was from White2Tea, so I wanted to see how this would compare. It’s not as tasty as Milan Maocha, but I like it better than both the Fireflake and Snowflake coins.

I don’t drink much dancong (and I actually prefer it brewed Western) but this has some nice minerality and roasted notes up front – but then moves into more of those sweet honeyed and fragrant heady florals from which is gets its name. Orchid, magnolia, geranium. It’s also fruity! I get plummy undertones and fresh lychee top notes through the session – the lychee is the best part, in my opinion. Pretty smooth – only a little astringency/roughness around the edges.

Admittedly, I find more magic and interest in the unique tea blends from Paru versus this straight tea – just it was still really enjoyable!

Photo: https://www.instagram.com/p/CPWmvcCgArb/

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JXhU6DWv8RY

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85

Made sure to consciously get more of the Okinawa Sugar in this cup because I wanted to see how much it would impact the flavour. My cup was very thick and malty with both a biscuit like and molasses type of flavour. Despite having a lot of “sugar” in it, it’s not really sweet/cloying. In fact, it almost has a bitterness to those darker dense sweet notes. In a way that adds complexity though, not in an off putting way.

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85

Absolutely could not resist picking up a bag of this in my recent order – I was maybe a little worried it would be too sweet, but turns out I need not have been because this is just right in terms of sweetness! Like all the other blends I’ve tried so far, I’m impressed with the complexity of the ingredients and balance of flavour. The rich, malty black tea base and slightly nutty/roasted notes of the oolong come through in a smooth and full bodied way and Paru’s description of the Okinawa sugar in the blend have a malty biscuit-like taste is really spot on! It’s a little molasses-y, a bit creamy/milky, and has a slight undertone of red fruit. Really just delicious and spot on.

Cameron B.

I found it slightly too sweet, but much less so than I expected from the amount of sugar!

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100
drank Lemon Lychee by Paru Tea Bar
11916 tasting notes

I have dreamed about this tea on multiple occasions now, for whatever that is worth.

The bag of it is without eyeshot from my work desk and sometimes I feel like it just calls to me. It’s this perfect medley of sweet lemon, lush floral juicy lychee, honey and caramelized yam notes, malty cocoa, and just… the tears of angels. Sometimes when I drink it I tear up a little at how well balanced and dynamic all the flavours are. I hope, someday, to craft something as delicious. I’m getting emotional just thinking about it as I write it, and I want to make myself a mug of it right now.

AAAAAAAaaaaaaahhh!!!

CrowKettle

Lychee is so hard to get right and this sounds freaking amazing.

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100
drank Lemon Lychee by Paru Tea Bar
11916 tasting notes

Cold Brew!

Fuck me, this is good. I still don’t get a ton of lemon but the lychee is blowing my mind with how juicy, succulent and floral it is – like fresh and sticky lychee juices mixed with this honeyed black tea that’s also very sweet and rich, but with body and weight to it. It’s so refreshing and layered and summery. Hello instant summer favourite!

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100
drank Lemon Lychee by Paru Tea Bar
11916 tasting notes

I was sold that I needed to try this tea as soon as I saw lychee – it’s a weak spot for me and it sounded heavenly paired with lemon! The smell of the dry leaf is pretty intoxicating: fruit forward dewy lychee with a fragrant floral undertone and sweet honeyed black tea. So, so, so fresh!!

The steeped cup is simultaneously straight forward and complex in its flavour delivery; I felt, as I sipped, like I was opening up a Russian nesting doll with these layers of delicious flavours. First and foremost, and to my own delight, the most prominant flavour, which I would call the outer layer of this nesting doll, is the lychee. The whole tea feels saturated in sticky, sweet lychee juices with their sweet perfumed floral undertones and coating sweeping juiciness across the palate. What a lychee flavour!

The next layer is probably actually the wild Yunnan black tea base – despite the richness of the lychee it manages to have a still strong presence in the cup. The full bodied and almost starchy mouthfeel actually gives another layer of richness to the tea that feels differentiated from the rich fruity flavours, and the notes of honey and malt with golden toasty and carmelized yam undertones are so interesting and in contrast to the fruit notes that they just make each other so much more dynamic.

The final layer is the lemon, and this for me is the lightest of the three key elements by far. It’s more an undertone and lingering flavour after the sip, and it has a little sweetness but mostly is reminiscent of the classic “unsweet” lemon black tea profile you see across the South – more static and just a little pithy. I like that, because if it was overly acidic I think it would taint the black tea’s beauty and if it was sweet then combined with the lychee I think that would be cloying.

With each tea I try from this company I get more and more excited for the next one – they seem to have such a strong understanding of how to pair these incredible flavours with their tea bases in a way that makes the flavours of the featured ingredients and the natural notes of the tea really stand out and pop. It’s a solid understanding of flavour composition and looking at and tasting each blend I feel like I can see the artistry and craftmanship that’s gone into each one. These teas were created with love and passion and it makes me SO excited!!

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drank Yuzu Chai by Paru Tea Bar
11916 tasting notes

Not gonna be a long tasting note because I found this cup super consistent to the first one I had a few months ago, and I wrote a pretty long/thorough tasting note back then. Just emphasizing how beautiful the tea leaf is and that I really appreciate the subtle/light yuzu peppery and pithy citrus taste a lot. It’s just very delicate and authentic. Plus, eating the strips of candied yuzu post steep!? Oh hell yes! Great tea snack.

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drank Yuzu Chai by Paru Tea Bar
11916 tasting notes

Recently stumbled upon this company and was so fascinated by the uniqueness of their blends, both in visual and composition, that I just had to order! The shipping turn around was really fast, but word to the wise (and of course not the company’s fault) but ordering here to Montreal I got REALLY dinged on import fees – over $100 for my $200 order, which I think is the most I’ve ever been charged…

That said, I’ve been really impressed with the few teas from my order I’ve tried so far! This is definitely one of the most visually stunning and unique looking teas I’ve seen in quite a while – the long strips of candied yuzu are really something else and it’s insanely hard to not pull them out of the blend to snack on. Okay, full disclosure, I may have done this to one of them – it was so tasty.

Steeped, this is a pretty peppery tasting chai – but that’s not surprising. In addition to the spice mix itself, I find yuzu is already sort of naturally peppery. In fact, that’s part of why I think the concept for this tea is so brilliant in the first place – it’s a fun juxtaposition of flavour that’s grounded in some subtle shared flavour notes. The taste is pleasantly warming with clear notes of ginger and clove, with the sweetness of the fennel without having a licorice-y taste. The yuzu is subtle and presents as a nice pithy citrus undertone. Very nuanced, complex and tasty!

Photo: https://www.instagram.com/p/CPGYmkWAaAM/

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4nyh47sThvs&ab_channel=IZZYCAMINAIZZYCAMINA

Leafhopper

Wow! Is this an American company? You can probably get the charges refunded if you send the appropriate paperwork to the government, and for that amount it might be worth it. The post office should have the right customs forms. I did this for a Tillerman order I placed last year and it worked, though it took a while. I also got charged by DHL recently for tea I bought from Taiwan. COVID seems to have made this worse, as with a lot of other things.

Martin Bednář

100 $ for import fees? That’s crazy! And probably way too much, in my opinion.

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78
drank Okinawa Sugar by Paru Tea Bar
2494 tasting notes

Sipdown! (21 | 298)

My friend Heather from Instagram sent me a sample of this out of the blue, just because she thought I would enjoy it. Wasn’t that so sweet of her? :3

It’s a mix of wakoucha, “Formosa oolong”, and Okinawan black sugar. There’s quite a lot of sugar too, so I was a bit nervous about trying it since I don’t generally sweeten my teas. And it was a bit sweet, but luckily not over-the-top. The combination of tea was quite mellow and smooth, with hay, bread, autumn leaf, and honey notes. The sugar itself had a lovely molasses flavor, of course.

It’s not something I would drink often as it is sweeter than I would prefer. I bet it would make a lovely iced milk tea though! And it would be fun to have on-hand just to have a cup every once in a while, especially in the fall.

P.S. – I tried to Google what the actual name is for the type of oolong I often see called “Formosa oolong”, but didn’t have much luck. Does anyone know if there’s an original/Taiwanese name for it? It’s a generic oxidized unrolled oolong. I don’t think it’s roasted?

https://www.instagram.com/p/CO6lI9DAruS/

Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Baked Bread, Brown Sugar, Grain, Hay, Maple, Molasses, Smooth, Sugar, Sweet, Wood

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Mastress Alita

Oh, this sounds like it would be great for my newfound tea soda fixation!

Cameron B.

Hmm, maybe, I think it would just be rather sweet though.

Mastress Alita

Sweet tastes really good to offset the somewhat sour taste of the carbonation.

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