I had never had proper Pu-Erh before today. I had had flavored nest Pu-Erh, which tasted nothing like what I experienced today.
My Dad went on a business trip to China, and I asked him to bring me some teas. Since he knew no Chinese and pretty much nothing about tea, he asked the translator to choose for him. I ended up with a small heat of teas, one of them being this one. : )
Since I had never had a cake of ripe Pu-Erh before, I decided to brew it Gaiwan style. I felt it was a little harder to mess up this way.
The smell of the dry leaves was… fishy. I can find no other word that accurately describes the entire experience of my first excited sniff of this tea. If I try to get a little more accurate, it smells like fish wrapped in leather that was a bit moist… Actually, I have no idea what this would smell like, but my imagination says that would be something like this Pu-Erh…
I rinsed it and after a quick brew, I ended up with a gorgeous peach colored liquor. The scent was still heavy on the leather covered fish. I waited for it to cool down a bit and took my first nervous sip. To my honest surprise, I liked it! Thankfully, it tasted nothing like it smelled. The taste was smooth and woody. It had a leather note that was followed by planty earthiness and ended in a finally of sweetness that reminded me of oolong. I still wonder how something can smell so different than what it tastes like (I am really happy that it does…)
I didn’t love it, but I am really happy I got to try it. I have an entire cake of it, and I imagine that it is going to take me forever to drink through. I might take a large chunk of it and let it age in the dark for a couple of years. I am going to have to read more about Pu-Erhs before I make up my mind.
In the mean time, I am happy and content for having been able to try this! : ) I am not rating this because I have no other equivalent in memory to compare it with. Maybe one day I will try more Pu-Erhs and be able to give them a number, in the mean time, the review is all letters!