Two of my brothers are here this week for March Break and one has been throwing up all day so I am doing whatever I can to keep myself safe from the awful germs. I thought maybe some tea would be wise and I had the time to do gong-fu so I decided to open this one. I am not a pu-erh afficianado but I pick it up sometimes so I can try them out. I tend to prefer shu and didn’t want to pick at part of a cake so here I am.
The dry leaf smells nice, very much like black tea with some sweet grassiness in the aroma. I am steeping a heaping teaspoon in my small gaiwan with boiling water. Steep times listed below.
I did a ten second rinse and then ten seconds for the first steep which smells…less appetizing. This is more like wet animals and dung than the nice earthy barn flavour I have come to appreciate. Fortunately the taste is much more pleasant. It is actually surprisingly mild. I am having trouble describing it. There is some sweetness, and something earthy. No wet animals or dung. Yay!
Steep 2 at 15 seconds is much darker, aroma is much like the first, only less unpleasant. More like earth than animals. I don’t know if I am becoming accustomed to it or if the character of the tea has changed. The flavour is lighter than the aroma again, and sweeter than expected. There is some depth and richness but I have a hard time describing it. This is harder than it looks!
Steep 3 at approximately 20 seconds yields another dark cup that smells more like earth after a hard rain. I am liking this the best so far but unfortunately I had a chip between steeps and that is muting my taste buds. This is still sweet and strong, no bitterness or astringency. I do seem to be losing a bit of the flavour so I am upping the time for the next round.
Steep 4 at 30 seconds has kicked back up a bit, earthiness, fresh and sweet. I’m going to stop posting about this one now because not much is changing worth reporting and my (non-pukey) brother wants the puter back.
In general, I didn’t get any bitterness or astringency which I appreciated. The aroma could be overwhelming but the flavour was often a bit lighter in a pleasant way. I am enjoying it, but don’t find it remarkable. That could be my lack of experience or my personal preference but my rating is not to suggest it is a poor quality tea, it just doesn’t knock my socks off. I will try again at some point with even more leaf and less steep time when I have the opportunity to enjoy many many steeps.