7.8 g / 130 ml / 212 F
20 second wash / 90 second pause

Steep 1 – 15 sec: Translucent red-ish liquid. Aroma of mushrooms growing in damp earth. Light flavor – has not blossomed yet.

Steep 2 – 15 sec: Dark coffee-like liquid. Prominent mushroom aroma. Taste is mineral and dirt (not great). Dirt faded a little as the cup cooled. I’m hoping this gets better.

Steep 3 – 15 sec: Dark coffee-like liquid. Peat aroma. Flavors more integrated and hard for my untrained palete to pick out. Dirt is gone (yay!). Leaves a dry feeling on the tongue, which is interesting.

Steep 4 – 20 sec: Semi-translucent dark red liquid. Faint wet earth aroma. I found myself sipping this without paying much attention to it since nothing really stood out, but it was enjoyable.

Steep 5 – 25 sec: Translucent dark red liquid. Mellow damp earth and mineral aroma. Tastes a bit like a Keemun at this stage.

Steep 6 – 30 sec: Translucent medium-dark red liquid. Aroma of wet moss on rocks. light black tea flavor. This seems to be nearing the end.

Steep 7 – 60 sec: Clear dark red liquid. Very faint aroma; can’t quite place it (mineral?). Flavor is mellow but surprisingly fruity and sweet when hot, fading out as it cooled.

Steep 8 – 180 sec: A hail-mary to see if anything is left. Clear medium red color. Faint aroma I can’t quite place. Faint earthy flavor. It’s pretty weak at this point.

This tea was never cloudy and never astringent. Very low caffeine and only moderate energy, good for an evening Pu-Erh; I’m slightly uplifted but not buzzed. This strikes me as a decent, affordable tea to drink while working late. Enjoyable except for steep 2 … will see if that repeats in the future or if it was a fluke.

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec

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I’m fairly new to the world of fine tea, having begun my exploration in earnest in mid-2013. I had given loose tea a try a decade ago but what I chose was not to my liking and I never finished the couple of hundred grams I ordered.

I’ve spent most of my life as a coffee drinker, and have studied and practiced the art and craft of coffee roasting for the past decade. I drink coffee until about noon, at which point my palate needs a change.

This eventually led me to try good quality tea one more time. The Internet is a great resource and I got pointed in a more solid direction this time. I started at Upton Tea with mostly black teas, a Jasmine-scented green and samples of some flavors. I’ve been enjoying three or four cups a day.

Then I stopped into a tiny Chinese restaurant in rural Pennsylvania and in response to my request for hot tea the proprietor brought me her personal Pu-Erh, which had just arrived from China, in a portable Gong Fu teapot. OMG … I found something new to obsess about! She kept bringing me hot water and I did multiple steeps until I could swallow no more. My research on this tea eventually led me here.

I’m a voracious reader and can consume a book a day when I have the time. I’ve been an obsessive geek since childhood and that spills over into all areas of my life, driving me to try to attain competency in more areas than I can count, especially technical subjects. I once took “The Visual Display of Quantitative Information” on vacation and my wife asked why I wasn’t reading something fun. I had no idea what she meant.

I love almost all genres of music, but am most fond of Jazz (Miles’ Blue Period, Mingus), Delta Blues (Sleepy John Estes, Son House) and 80’s British alternative rock (The Smiths, Bauhaus, The Pogues). I also followed the Grateful Dead for a short while. Yup I’m getting old, but then 50 is the new 30, right?

I hope to make some of your acquaintances, and swap both knowledge and tea.


Palm Bay, Florida

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