Look what I found in my sample box. I didn’t even now I had any puerh at all. Puerh seems to be all sorts of fashionable on Steepster these days, so I figured why not.
I’ve got two of these and no clue where they came from. What I haven’t got is the energy and patience to properly try to gong-fu one, so I’m just doing the regular western steeping, although I did, on a whim because I usually never bother, do a rinse first.
The toucha itself doesn’t have much in the way of aroma, but as soon as it gets wet, there’s lots. And suddenly I get what people mean about ‘fishy smells’. Actually this may not even be the first time I’ve made such a discovery, but it’s been so long since I last had a puerh that I had quite lost the ability to imagine that. This one smells like a fishmonger at the initial contact with water.
After a little while of steeping the fishmonger smell goes away, and now I’ve got something earthy and sweet. I won’t rule out the sweetness being from the vanilla and strawberry concoction I had earlier, but I rinsed both pot and cup, so I don’t think so. It’s not a vanilla-y sweetness anyway. It’s more sort of sugar-y and creamy. A bit like a soft ice cream, really. Well, that was unexpected!
It’s both a disappointment and a relief that it doesn’t actually taste like ice cream. That would have been fun, but bizarre. Oh so bizarre.
It seems I have actually managed to make this cup a wee bit on the strong side, so there is some sort of pepper-y/pseudo-smoke-y prickle on the swallow, as if we’re right on the border of astringency here.
Unfortunately, that is also actually the largest flavour here. First there’s just vaguely flavoured hot water followed by the note of ‘oh, how you mistreat me, you wicked person!’
There’s nothing really earthy, nothing that reminds me of the cowstable (not a bad thing. It’s flavour association rather than just flavour, that one) that I expect from puerh. It makes me feel like it lacks depth somewhat. Perhaps in multiple short steepings that would show itself better, but I feel a bit with puerh that I also do with oolongs; if it can’t present itself nicely in a western style, then it’s not living up to my ideals and tastes.
This one was all aroma and very little flavour. Bit of a disappointment.