Sticky Rice Shu Tuo Cha (糯米香熟沱茶) is a shu (ripe) pu-erh from Yunnan Province that is known for a fragrant rice aroma and flavour. The current batch was made around 2018 and consists of ripe pu-erh leaves blended with leaves of the Nuo Mi Xiang (糯米香) herb. The sticky rice aroma and flavour make this a very captivating tea! Each tuo weighs approximately 5 grams, making these ideal for individual serve, hassle-free brewing.
The scenting agent used for this tea is called Nuo Mi Xiang, which literally translates as ‘Sticky Rice Fragrance’ and is commonly used in Yunnan for scenting pu-erh. This herb is also known as Nuo Mi Xiang Nen Ye (Sweet Rice Tender Leaves) or alternatively by the catchy Latin name of Semnostachya menglaensis. It has a flavour not unlike vanilla, and is very similar to pandan, which is sometimes referred to as ‘asian vanilla’. This herb is also commonly used to scent rice, hence the name of this tea – Fragrant Rice or Sticky Rice pu-erh – as it reminds us of fragrant rice that is so common around that part of Asia. It is the same herb that is added to our ever-popular Khao Hom Fragrant Rice Oolong from Thailand!
This Sticky Rice Shu Tuo Cha comes in the shape of mini tuos that have a domed appearance. These are quite popular as they provide an individual serve which is perfect for easy brewing or for carrying around. The tuos are made up of smaller ripe pu-erh leaves blended with the sticky rice herb. It produces a very dark, red-black liquor with an aroma of ripe pu-erh and cooked fragrant rice. The smooth taste is dominated both by the flavours of the ripe pu-erh but also by the flavours of the sticky rice herb. It has a smooth liquor with notes of creamy rice, sweet pandan (or vanilla) and light pine-like woodiness. The sticky rice herb elevates the flavour, making it lighter and much brisker. The middle notes also become sweeter, something akin to rice pudding with blackcurrant jam. The aftertaste is brisk, albeit with a lasting tangy note that still delivers that sticky rice flavour.
We suggest brewing at 95°C for 3-4 minutes according to your taste. It should be brewed multiple times depending on your taste preferences. It is best suited for gongfu brewing. Give these a quick rinse with hot water before the first steep if desired to start opening these up. These are ideal for both western style brewing (1 tuo per 500ml pot) or gongfu brewing (1 tuo per gaiwan or small pot).