191 Tasting Notes
Yum a fine example of the older style of ripe puerh that caused me to fall in love with puerh tea. It has a slightly earthy taste to it but a good earthy taste to it that is not musty and has a nice sweetness to it.
Twinings Irish breakfast was my other favorite tea back in college and after starting to drink Twinings Prince of Wales again in the loose version I figured it was worth a try to give Twinings Irish Breakfast a second chance as well in its loose leaf incarnation. My initial impression upon opening the tin was surprised to see that it is a CTC (crush-tear-curl) processed leaf into little tea pellets so I hoped that it would not be too strong considering that the blacks that I’ve drank in the last decade have all been Chinese. I brewed this tea in a mug infuser and I think it turned out fairly strong as the ending result was a strong malty brew that had not crossed the line into bitter when drunk straight. Overall a good tea but one that I know I can not drink too often as Assam and Ceylon blacks in large amounts are not as easy on the stomach as Chinese blacks.
I never thought about how the sweetness of chamomile can blend in with pineapple to create a nice light and sweet herbal brew.
First off I want to state that the only reason why I have this $88 ripe puerh brick is because it was given to me as a gift as it is way beyond what I would be willing to spend on tea myself. So the big question that the answer is finally within our grasp is how much if any ripe puerh drinkers that have a limited tea budget are missing out. I’d start by saying that this ultimate puerh brick also turned out to be the ultimate iron brick as I haven’t encountered a brick that was compressed this hard in ages. This not only made it really hard to break off brewing chunks but was also hard enough to crush a lot of the puerh leves, so if they were top of the line premium whole leaves when they are pressed they are now manly broken leaves. The brew overall reveals that it is a medium light fermentation level ripe puerh, with slight smoothness when being ultra clean in taste. Overall I have to admit that it is a good quality puerh but it is clean to the point of being boring as compared to some of the more earthy but not musty ones that are more interesting in my opinion. Regardless unless you have extra money to burn and would really like the metal tin that it is packaged in I would not recommend spending $88 of your own money for 500 grams of ripe puerh.
Yet another free sample from the large pile of Puerhshop samples that I’m finally getting around to drink. I gaiwan brewed this one with short infusions and I have to agree with the vendor description that this one is easy to drink due to its aroma and taste, as the tea comes off as light and sweet with a medium body and a semi floral taste. Although in terms of storage it is still very green as it is hard to believe that this tea is 5 years old.
Another free sample from Puerhshop. I am not really sure how to evaluate a semi aged puerh as it did not start out like this and under proper storage a cake of this will not remain like this long term. This tea does not have any of the harshness or smoke that is common in young puerh and is in an state now that it could likely easily be mistaken for a sweeter green oolong that is not floral.
I brewed a heaping teaspoon of leaf in a mug infuser. The brew is light overall but has more depth than most light greens as it has a somewhat light smooth sweetness to that I am not sure how to describe beyond mellow.
As always with mini-bricks I split it down the middle to half its thickness to increase the brewing surface area. As one that generally does not like mini brick puerh, even premium quality ones I have to admit that this is clearly the best one yet. It is a soft edges and a very distinct mellow Menghai scent which has sadly been becoming more rare even among Menghai area shu productions in my experience. I was also impressed by the fact that I could get a good five brews out of the leaves and the sixth brew was weak but still drinkable, which is saying a lot considering that I like my ripe puerh very strong. Too bad I just placed a large puerh order otherwise I would seriously consider ordering some of these.
Before brewing I split the mini brick in half down the middle to decrease the thickness to avoid having problems of it not wanting to open up enough to brew properly. Overall a decent ripe puerh that holds true to the vendor claims but without a doubt the 2011 MGH 1108 brick is a bit better so unless you really want the mini brick style I would say go with that one instead.
This tea as part of a one brew sized sample does not come off as too impressive at the moment. It is not bitter or harsh to say but it comes off as tasting a bit flat. I’m do not know enough about sheng puerh to know if this is the normal awkward stage between young sheng and aged sheng where it needs to be set aside to age more or if it is just a bad tea that sat around for 6 years.