Thanks to Misty Peak Teas for a sample, from a pu’erh novice!

Review is based on infusions 1-7. Prepared with a gaiwan. Rinsed after 10 seconds. First infusion lasted 10 seconds; the second, 15; subsequent infusion times increased by three seconds.

I would have liked to experience the aroma of the dry leaf; it unfortunately faded while the tea traveled in the mail, but through inhaling deeply I was able to smell earth and minerals. The wet leaf’s aroma strengthened as the leaves (whose color ranged from dark green to brown) continued to unfold with each infusion. A combination of musk and meat had emerged.

The liquor was consistently a clear pastel yellow.

The flavor was medium-bodied, flavorful, soft and smooth. Infusions 1-3 were sour and astringent. After swallowing, I felt a prickly sensation on my tongue, and the aftertaste was slightly spicy. The spiciness began disappearing after the fourth infusion and completely faded away during the sixth. By the seventh infusion, the flavor was totally musky and forest-like with a hint of apricot (and still a bit prickly and astringent).

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I began drinking tea because its complexity fascinated me. I love learning about its history, its manufacturing processes, and its place in various cultures.

My favorite teas are Japanese greens, and my favorite herbal tisanes are peppermint, lavender and chrysanthemum. So far I like exploring dark oolongs, Chinese blacks, and, most recently, shou pu’erh. African teas are my babies. The only teas I truly dislike are fruity tisanes and the ones that have too much fruit. (Hibiscus – I actually like alone.)

I’m an MFA graduate who studied nonfiction writing. I mostly write nature essays. I’m birder as well as a tea enthusiast. I also like exercising, Tolkien, and Ancient Egypt.

How I rate:

96-100 I adore absolutely everything about it. A permanent addition to my stash.

90-95 Superb quality and extremely enjoyable, but not something I’d necessarily like to have in my stash (might have to do with personal tastes, depending on what I say in the tasting note).

80-89 Delicious! Pleased with the overall quality.

70-79 Simply, I like it. There are qualities that I find good, but there also are things that aren’t, hence a lower rating that I would have otherwise like to put.

60-69 Overall “meh”. Not necessarily bad, but not necessarily good.

0-59 No.

If there is no rating: I don’t feel experienced enough to rate the tea, or said tea just goes beyond rating (in a positive way).

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Westchester, NY

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