Dry, this smells amazing. I am thinking of the horse barn at the exhibition but in a GOOD WAY. Sweet clean hay, damp wood, hard working animals and minimal stink. This is contrasting with the cow barn which always smelled much more of excrement. Blech. I have come to really enjoy the smell and taste of hay and damp wood in my teas, and trying to get into puerh seems like the logical next step for me and my tea journay. Black teas and roasty oolongs still make me a happy panda but puerh might offer me just a little bit more.

Because I am a puerh noob I have used a bit less leaf than I probably should have, but that’s okay. Coupled with 95 degree water, I am ready to dip my toes in. I am using my smallish gaiwan and very small double walled cups. I have also broken out my tea feet (tea pet) to get their tea on too.

First steep at 30 seconds. Because of my conservative leaf and temp, I figure I can up the ante on time. I am tasting this one, though I know typically the first steep is a rinse. Not much about this is typical though. The smell is strong and smoky, like tanned hide or salted meat. Smoked wood, tobacco. I am developing an appreciation for a smoky note so this is actually enticing. The flavour is sweeter than the smoke note led me to believe, and taste more like the initial smell – sweet hay, damp hide and a hint of salt. Perfectly drinkable though not my ideal cuppa. Much more earthy than sweet though.

Second steep at 45 seconds yields the same aroma of smoke and salt. The taste is much sweeter though, more sweet hay, less earth. Much nicer, though it tastes a bit light. This is very sippable, the contrast of the taste and the aroma is very interesting. The smoke really develops as the tea cools.

Third steep at 1 minutes results in a brew much like the second, only amplified. I am getting some floral tastes now. I didn’t get any fruit or spices before now but I hardly know what I’m doing and I’m okay with that. This is my favourite so far, the smoke is mellowing out and allowing the taste to dominate the aroma.

Will likely steep more later but taking a break to put together our corn chowder now. General impressions are that this is a nice tea, but not my favourite. Something to enjoy occasionally. Will try it more traditionally at some point (more leaf/less time) and see what I get. Might do a cup western style too.

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I’ve been drinking loose tea since 2010 and my tastes have changed a lot over those years. For the last few, I’ve been a fan of unflavoured Chinese blacks and shu puerh. I still drink other things, but that’s where I am.

I live in a rural area with my husband, cat, and soon to be firstborn. I love tea, reading, doctor who, knitting, crosswords, board games, the marvel universe, and lots of other things.

I’m not often rating teas numerically any more but I want to leave this to explain my past ratings:
I try to only log teas once or twice because I drink a lot of the same ones repeatedly. My rating is based on my perception of the tea at first tasting and is adjusted if anything notable occurs in subsequent cups. I may also factor in the price and customer service but try to note that when I can.

81 – 100: These are great teas, I love them, regularly stock them or savour them as unique treats.
71 – 80: These are solid. I drink them, I like them, I may or may not keep them on hand regularly. This is still good stuff.
61 – 70: Just okay. I can drink it, but it doesn’t stand out to me. Might be lower quality, not to my taste, or outside my comfort zone.
41 – 60: Not likely to keep drinking…hoping hubby will enjoy!
0 – 40: No thank you, please. Take it away and don’t make me finish the cup.



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