I have not been that much of a fan of Shu Cha (ripe/cooked pu’erh) until trying this one. I have said it before and I will say it again, the mysteries of pu’erh are never ending!
8 steeps, 10-35 seconds.
2. A rich, musty smell and a dark amber color. Fairly mild flavor, but with some chocolate notes in the taste! Despite the “ancient” smell that many pu’erhs have (including this one), the taste has strangely made the flavor of my water even cleaner than when drinking it plain. This is a difficult quality to wrap my head around, as I have no idea how a tea can give off the flavor of fresh spring water, while adding such a dark red color to it. But that is what I taste. There is also a kind of nutmeg spice aftertaste, sort of like mexican hot chocolate.
3. Darker color, yet distinctively cleaner taste with this next steep. This is one of the most palatable Shu pu’erhs I have had yet. Though it definitely tastes better when the water has cooled a little. When hot it gives off a slightly bitter smell, like an unripe avocado.
4. An agave sweetness emerges with a hint of red pepper.
5. Sweeter still! This cup leaves a satisfying taste in the back of my throat, like after a filling sushi meal.
6. Suddenly, all the color has gone out and is now very pale. The taste is still fairly sweet with a hint of salty as well. The sweetness has come around to something that reminds of blueberries without the tartness.
8. Same, but less.
Other tasting notes: Vanilla, hazelnut, avocado pit.