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The dry leaves are dark, and uncharacteristically long and full based on my previous experience with pu-erh teas. They give off a strong, sweet odor of fresh earth. After two minutes of hot water I had a very dark, coffee colored liquor with an enticing aroma. I got the earth scent for sure, but also something slightly spicy. The flavor had some of the typical hallmarks of pu-erh, but with some extras thrown in for good measure as well. There is a definite natural sweetness to the flavor, and a tiny bit of tartness in the aftertaste without being fishy or rotten tasting. I also get just a little bit of spiciness which is really nice – a general mix of cinnamon, clove, and ginger which is in both the aroma and the taste.

The second steep, at 3 minutes, didn’t seem to bring any additional surprises. In summary a nice pu-erh, which I think I’ll try with a little milk and sugar next time to see how it goes. Sacrilege, I know!

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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Grandma introduced me to tea as a kid (lipton with milk and sugar; a bit poured into the saucer to cool it down and then sipped from there), and I’ve never looked back. Still have a slight preference for teas that go well with milk (or even better, cream) and sugar, but since Grandma’s day I’ve branched out to appreciate green and white teas, rooibos and pu erh. Absolutely love Mariage Freres!

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Washington, DC

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