Had this one again last night.
After carefully re-reading the tin of this tea, we realized that we’d passed over additional brewing instructions in Chinese. Besides the more traditional method of steeping pu’er (a few seconds per steep, adding a little bit of time each round), the Xingyang packaging also suggest another method.
Boil water, let the water cool to 90 degrees Celsius, then pour water into small (yixing) pot and let steep for one minute. Really?
Well, we had to try it! And boy, what an interesting experience.
First steeping, it was like drinking from an enchanted well. So clean, and very minerally and sweet (like the well was full of the best, most amazing perfect stones). The next few steepings grew in complexity and strength. Instead of the a liqour the color of white wine, the steped liquid ranged from amber to stunning orange- always crystal clear. Where before, I described this tea as lunar (weightless, musty like a library, with a taste of the smell of new book binding or money or paper), it was now more like an eclipse- the moon glowing and growing with power as it overshadows the sun. The taste was always incredibly clean and weightless, but the strength was incredible- not heavy or dirty, but almost vibrating with intensity on the tongue.
My friend said it was as if they could taste every possible positive flavor found in puer’s: clean, thick, plum, walnuts, oatmeal, sticky rice, mist/camphor/cooling, brown sugar, caramel, raisins, apples… whatever taste you wanted to find or focus on- it was all there.
This is definitely an intense, intriguing experience. It makes you and your fellow drinkers giddy to experience such a fine tea in this intense, delicious unbelievable way.
I do not know if I prefer either steeping method, one over the other. They are both amazing ways to experience this incredible tea, and both should be tried. Whichever you end of doing, the strenght and depth of these tea is clearly demonstrated. We steeped in this longer method for about two hours, and when we couldn’t stay up any longer, I’m sure the tea could have kept going for another hour more.
Our teapot was so happy!