A thought about vanilla...


One of the intentionally aged teas, Pu-Erh has a loyal following.

A thought about vanilla...

Postby shah82 » Jun 6th, '14, 20:42

I only just realized that synthetic vanillin (in a discussion about producing vanillin from GMO yeast) is made from coal tar, or more importantly, lignin from paper mills. So I got to thinking about how aged puerh will express various "vanilla" and "white dessert" flavors, and now wonder if that's just me drinking vanillin or something similar from the decomposed lignin in the leaves and stems.

May as well add:
http://www.cooksillustrated.com/taste_t ... la-extract

Is it important to have some vanillin flavor to help appreciate the complexity of the other flavors? Why does aged sheng puerh express these flavors, but not other heicha with comparably meaty leaves? Shu sort of does, but not nearly the same way or the same strength.
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Re: A thought about vanilla...

Postby MarshalN » Jun 7th, '14, 10:49

Aged pu has vanilla flavours? You've been drinking some weird stuff
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Re: A thought about vanilla...

Postby shah82 » Jun 7th, '14, 12:16

Or perhaps the way I describe them is wierd. Maybe it's better to say that the idea that you could make great tasting/smelling volatiles out of mere lignin was something that struck me as fascinating.
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A thought about vanilla...

Postby Exempt » Jun 7th, '14, 16:06

I know exactly what Shah is describing in regards to shu, but never Sheng. Back when I actually still drank shu, I had a few teas that tasted like bread dough and vanilla oil or vanilla bean. However, they were all only a few years old so I don't know if the flavor actually came from decomposition or if it was just the flavor of the tea
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Re: A thought about vanilla...

Postby brandon » Jun 7th, '14, 16:48

I've found American oak more informative than actual vanilla beans (which have 100s of other elements besides vanillin). I suppose this is where people have recently come up with the trend of sticking cheap puer in bourbon barrels and selling it for high prices.
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Re: A thought about vanilla...

Postby shah82 » Jun 7th, '14, 16:50

shu does have some vanilla notes, but some aged sheng has far more depth to those notes, like: http://half-dipper.blogspot.com/2007/05 ... -7542.html
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Re: A thought about vanilla...

Postby AllanK » Jun 8th, '14, 02:30

I think in ripe puerh the fermentation of the tea will bring out flavors that were not there before, sort of like how they coax vanilla flavor out of wood. This would explain how one of my favorite tea bricks was referred to as a date flavor puerh. They did not add to the tea but the process of fermentation and development coaxed a flavor that was not there before.

Also, this may be true for raw puerh as it slowly ferments naturally.
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