It’s strange how tastes change… develop… I dunno.
I remember when I first tried this half a year ago, I initially thought it really overwhelmingly astringent. So I later reduced the leaf amount to make it more drinkable. Today, noticing there was only a little bit left in the bottom of the sample pouch, I emptied it into my 90ml gaiwan. It turned out, ehh, it was a little bit more than I thought. like five grams worth, when I only needed about two.
I had forgotten this was a tea I needed to use less leaf for, and kind of winced when I looked it up in my notes. But what was done was done, and I was going to drink this tea.
I very tentatively tasted the first steeping, expecting the same mouthful of dryness I got six months ago, and…. got something entirely different.
It was indeed a very strong, intense brew, but there was very little dryness to be found. Instead, I had a mouthful of… nuttiness, but creamy-nuttiness, like….almond-butter soup. Which is way more delicious then it sounds. And there is a definite aftertaste of cinnamon spice that I find myself enjoying almost as much as the taste of the tea itself.
But what changed? Why is it, that when I brewed this same tea six months ago, I could hardly stand the first few steepings? Conceitedly, I would like to think my tastes have just greatly developed. When I first tried this, it was among one of the first pu’ers I had ever tried. Now, having tried several, perhaps I’ve adapted to the dryness somehow and can “taste past it” if that makes any sense?
I guess I can’t rule our that it might be the tea itself— pu’er is supposed to morph over time, after all. But I have a hard time imagining such a drastic change in flavor could take place in just six months, and considering the packet it was in was (I assume, I guess I could have misjudged) sealed, it would have aged incredibly slowly, if at all.
My brewing vessels, my water source, my methods.. they’re all the same as far as I can tell. It’s a mystery. But I cannot complain; I am enjoying this tea more than ever. Too bad this is the last I have of it.