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Nooooo! Why do I have to be the one with the first note?!? Me! A total newbie! One who is determined to like ripe pu’erh and drinks it solely because , well, breaking in a horse is tough, right?

Again, many thanks to Dexter3657 for the sample. I am certain this is good pu’erh. Maybe even excellent pu’erh. Also, according to mrmopar who I’ve sought out for advice I should be trying a good pu’erh at least three years old so that it’s starting to mellow a bit. You see, I really didn’t want to purchase pu’erh from unknown sources (or even known) without knowing for sure it is good pu’erh. I mean, I’m already struggling. I’d hate to struggle and then find out I’ve been drinking shitty stuff that’s just not going to be tasty no matter what you do. But how to know for sure? Well, Dexter3657 swears by Mandala and mrmopar steered me towards menghai. As luck would have it dexter sent me a piece of this cake, which fits all the criteria I’ve been presented with. It’s ripe, it’s at least 3 years old and it’s menghai sourced by mandala. How can it not be good?

So here I am, steep number 4. I made it this far!

I am certain I overleafed because I don’t have a digital scale so 5grams got eyeballed. Also I used less than 2 cups of water.

The first steep was my favourite. (30 seconds after a short rinse). Gorgeous reddish brown colour, kinda like clay. Did only barely smelled fishy. Which I need to say, because I forgot, the dry leaf to me smelled like smoked/cured whitefish. So yeah, I was surprised. Not fishy! I can drink it although I think the days where I actually look forward to this are rather faraway.

Second steep. (1 minute) Uh-oh. It has darkened. Like coffee dark. But happily, I can drink this because it DOES NOT smell. And I am not sure what I taste. And it’s chewy. I think.

Third steep was the same as the second in colour of the liquor and its taste.

Made it to steep four, kept steeping times not much longer than a minute because I was afraid. It’s cooled because there is only so much I can drink in one sitting. It tastes a little fishy. I cannot get any subtler notes or anything. Patience, grasshopper.

woohoo! A few more practices and who knows, I could actually be joining the little league. Well, maybe the bush league first.

Gosh. I am not looking forward to tomorrow’s practice but we must press on!

Thank you to dexter, mrmopar and of course mandala for providing a source of tea we can actually trust when it comes to quality. Maybe there are others out there but hey, for me if it ain’t broke, why fix it? Also known as why look for better when you have the best?

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 0 sec
TheTeaFairy

Great review, grasshopper :-)

keychange

You did it, you did it! I hear you on the distinction between being able to choke it down with dignity versus actually looking forward to it, or actually wanting it and not pretending to want it haha…this sounds like a great start!!

Dexter3657

Well at least you survived the experience. If you liked the first steep best, then maybe try shorter steeps for 2 and 3 – like 30 sec 1st, 30 sec 2nd, 45 sec 3rd? It’s all personal preference.
IF you decided you want to keep exploring – I can send you other samples. I have a Haiwan Tea Co cake that I think is as good as this one (and of course lots of Mandala). Didn’t/don’t want to overwhelm you – will let you decide if you like it or not. :))

cryptickoi

it’s a pretty good tea…I haven’t had it in a few years…hmm,maybe i’ll break it out…I’m glad you enjoyed this one..

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Comments

TheTeaFairy

Great review, grasshopper :-)

keychange

You did it, you did it! I hear you on the distinction between being able to choke it down with dignity versus actually looking forward to it, or actually wanting it and not pretending to want it haha…this sounds like a great start!!

Dexter3657

Well at least you survived the experience. If you liked the first steep best, then maybe try shorter steeps for 2 and 3 – like 30 sec 1st, 30 sec 2nd, 45 sec 3rd? It’s all personal preference.
IF you decided you want to keep exploring – I can send you other samples. I have a Haiwan Tea Co cake that I think is as good as this one (and of course lots of Mandala). Didn’t/don’t want to overwhelm you – will let you decide if you like it or not. :))

cryptickoi

it’s a pretty good tea…I haven’t had it in a few years…hmm,maybe i’ll break it out…I’m glad you enjoyed this one..

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Bio

Im a fairly recent follower of the loose leaf tea drinking cult. March 2013 to be exact. Never been much into tea before. Growing up in Romania, tea was something mom made for you when you were sick. As an adult, my hot beverage of choice has been coffee, both flavoured and regular. I’ve recently stumbled upon Teavana and DAVIDs TEA and quickly got addicted to the latter. Then came steepster and all else followed.

Formerly a mathematician, I’m a chef and a wine lover with a trained palate but find that I lack the linguistic prowess for tea tasting notes. Now there’s something to learn!

I prefer flavoured teas. It’s probably the newbie in me. I just don’t get cravings for a straight black tea. If I end up having one, I drop in a slice of lemon and artificial rum flavouring (ugh, what moron admits to this?). A black tea fixed this way reminds me of skating at an outdoor rink as a young one, with a thermos full of tea made just as I described..

Im learning so I drink them all. everything! Am even introducing myself to pu’erh. So far I can do fine with the sheng cause frankly, they don’t taste like pu’erh to me. The shou is another story.

Location

Toronto Canada

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