I picked this as a free sample from Chicago Tea Garden, mostly because it just seemed too different not to try. I mean, come on – sticky rice flavored tea! How can I not try it?
This is actually my very first pressed pu-erh. And my first green pu-erh, too. So a whole bunch of first all rolled into one insane smelling tea! And I do mean insane smelling. As soon as I opened the envelope, I instantly smelled freshly-made sticky rice. It’s so weird but kinda awesome.
Anyway, I did a quick rinse and then (since I’m sharing with the husband) poured steeps one and two (both at 30 seconds) into a fair cup, then into glasses. So I don’t know if there is a big difference between the first and second steeps, but it totally smells like a bowl of rice. Which is still kinda awesome.
The taste isn’t as sticky-rice as the smell (though the smell is pretty intense). I get a quick, almost mint or ginseng whooshy tingle at the very front, then a mild almost reed flavor flash, then a sticky or sweet rice fresh taste. The aftertaste is light and very rice-y. Even with the hints of the other flavors, the main taste is very much rice. But rice in a mild, gentle tea way.
I think I could really get behind green pu-erh. It doesn’t have that barnyard, sweet hay, fishy, sweet thickness that is just too much for me that I get from black pu-erh and that makes it much easier for me to drink. This tea is really quite gentle, mild, sweet and rice-y, all attributes and flavors I enjoy. I didn’t know what to think of it at first, but by the end of my cup, I determined that really like this and I would very much enjoy having it in my pantry. I don’t have to go out and get some right now but I’ll be perusing Chicago Tea Garden’s website to see what other goodies I might need to buy when I decide to pick this up.
ETA: Steeps three and four (at CTG’s suggested 45s and 1min) resulted in some light bitterness that really battled with the rice taste, almost covering it (though the bitterness was not overwhelming). It was very disappointing and made me question how much I actually wanted to buy this tea. But I tried again, backing off the steep time (or at least not increasing it like I normally would). Steeps five and six (at 45s and 1min) were much better, back to the original steeps’ sticky-rice-ness. Shorter steep times are this tea’s friend. And I’m back to planning a CTG order.