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!

TeaBrat

Fortunately it will not get stale and it might even get better over time… :)

Tamm

:D I liked reading your story along with this review. I just got my first Pu-erh also! I am keeping the wrapper so I can look at it later. I’m pretty nervous about trying it but my biggest issue atm is how to break it apart. lol

Ninavampi

: )
@Amy oh- I was hoping that would be the case!

@Tamm- I also had an interesting time trying to figure out how to break it as well. After a while I gave in and used a knife to pry off enough for my cup! Pu-Erh has been an adventure for me so far! A fun adventure! : )

Tamm

O.O I haven’t been brave enough to take anything to mine yet. Added to my troubles is the fact that mine is the toucha shape instead of being flat and round. :D I love tea adventures!

Ninavampi

So do I! : )

Dinah Saur

Tamm, I found a very simple way to break apart a pu-erh cake is to get one of those quite small flat head screwdrivers. Like the ones you would use to fix your glasses or some other tiny screw. It is flat enough to gain leverage, while blunt enough not to damage the tea, but allow you to pry off parts.

Tamm

:O I have those! hehehe Finally I’ll have a use for them. :p I think I saw on Tea-chat that someone was using sharpened bamboo chopsticks? lolol

Dinah Saur

Yup! There are any number of options available to you!

Jim Marks

Fishy damp leather sounds about right. ;-)

Packed pu-erh can be quite packed. Be careful you don’t crack the chockstick.

With a flat cake I use a paring knife and slowly wedge it between the layers to pry them apart and once the layers are thin enough you can flake them apart by hand. That probably won’t work as well on something round like a tuocha. Something sturdy like an ice pick or a narrow tipped screwdriver (as already suggested) would be well suited provided you can work deliberately and slowly with it and not just hack away at it.

There are a lot of pu-erh nerds here on Steepster so if you need more information about this particular leaf or pu-erh in general, you’ll have more information than you could want, I’m sure. The primary thing to remember is that ripe/fermented/shu pu-erhs and raw/green/sheng pu-erhs are pretty different from each other so experiences with the one rarely carry over to be relevant to the other.

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Comments

TeaBrat

Fortunately it will not get stale and it might even get better over time… :)

Tamm

:D I liked reading your story along with this review. I just got my first Pu-erh also! I am keeping the wrapper so I can look at it later. I’m pretty nervous about trying it but my biggest issue atm is how to break it apart. lol

Ninavampi

: )
@Amy oh- I was hoping that would be the case!

@Tamm- I also had an interesting time trying to figure out how to break it as well. After a while I gave in and used a knife to pry off enough for my cup! Pu-Erh has been an adventure for me so far! A fun adventure! : )

Tamm

O.O I haven’t been brave enough to take anything to mine yet. Added to my troubles is the fact that mine is the toucha shape instead of being flat and round. :D I love tea adventures!

Ninavampi

So do I! : )

Dinah Saur

Tamm, I found a very simple way to break apart a pu-erh cake is to get one of those quite small flat head screwdrivers. Like the ones you would use to fix your glasses or some other tiny screw. It is flat enough to gain leverage, while blunt enough not to damage the tea, but allow you to pry off parts.

Tamm

:O I have those! hehehe Finally I’ll have a use for them. :p I think I saw on Tea-chat that someone was using sharpened bamboo chopsticks? lolol

Dinah Saur

Yup! There are any number of options available to you!

Jim Marks

Fishy damp leather sounds about right. ;-)

Packed pu-erh can be quite packed. Be careful you don’t crack the chockstick.

With a flat cake I use a paring knife and slowly wedge it between the layers to pry them apart and once the layers are thin enough you can flake them apart by hand. That probably won’t work as well on something round like a tuocha. Something sturdy like an ice pick or a narrow tipped screwdriver (as already suggested) would be well suited provided you can work deliberately and slowly with it and not just hack away at it.

There are a lot of pu-erh nerds here on Steepster so if you need more information about this particular leaf or pu-erh in general, you’ll have more information than you could want, I’m sure. The primary thing to remember is that ripe/fermented/shu pu-erhs and raw/green/sheng pu-erhs are pretty different from each other so experiences with the one rarely carry over to be relevant to the other.

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Bio

I love tea and have since I was a little girl. Once I could buy my own tea, I began to explore and learn about the extensive and delicious world of tea!

Also, love my French Bulldog (named Sencha…) and my tea oblivious boyfriend. I enjoy ice skating (I am a part time coach), reading, writing, baking, running, and lots of sweets!

My favorite teas tend to be on the sweeter side. Both flavored and plain teas are great to me. Currently going through a flavored tea phase. Enjoying it greatly! : )

Location

Quito, Ecuador

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