Thank you Claire for this sample Pu’er!
Claire sent me a nice sample of this Mandala Tuocha (for anybody who hasn’t anyone to ask how to pronounce tea words it’s two-oh-cha). The tea was black/brown like bakers chocolate and pretty darn hard but not dusty smelling.
My ritual is the same each time I prepare Pu’er.
4oz. Gaiwan, S.S.filter, fairness pitcher (or small 4oz. cup if I’m alone), filtered boiling water and pick.
Because this was a hard Pu’er I rinsed it twice, taking the rinse water and washing my hands in the liquor, also washing around my face to make sure there was no scent of anything other than the tea.
Pet Peeve which most can/will ignore-
Don’t brush your teeth, put on perfumes, lip gloss or eat strong food before writing reviews. People do it, and I can’t understand how you can drink a mint tea, eat curry and write about a delicate oolong or 5 different types of tea right after each other…Pumpkin, Chai and Oolong? Tastebuds get confused.
I’m less rigid about steeping Pu’er and timing than most people.
Something in me wants to let the tea tell me what to do as I go along and adjust to the voice I hear.
My usual practice with a Shou is to steep 20-30 seconds and see what happens, then change timing if needed.
The liquor was the color of rootbeer and sparkling clear throughout.
1. At 25 seconds, the feel was slightly dry and light with the flavor of pecan and cedar. Not well developed.
2. I added 5 seconds and the tea was creamy but still light. there was slightly sweet raisin nut bread and cedar on the finish.
3. 5 more seconds and the creaminess was almost gone. The tea was refreshing and lite but without much flavor.
4. I added 5 seconds again which increased astringency and cedar on the finish.
5. 1 minute. The Pu’er was lighter than I had anticipated through all but the first two steeps. I thought that increasing the time to a minute might deepen the flavor, but it didn’t change very much.
There was a creamy texture and a mild current or raisin taste and slight cedar finish, which had been there before. This was smooth and delightful but again, very easy and light.
What was this Pu’er teaching through these steepings?
I thought about this for awhile.
It’s more common for me to drink Shou Pu’er that’s heavy with cedar flavor and often too sweet. Other Pu’er’s have a tang that can really tweek your taste buds. It’s something of an acquired taste that I like, but not everyone else might like tea quite as strong as I do.
I’d call this 2005 Xiaguan Crane an ‘intro to cedar Pu’er’, because it’s extremely light, mellow, creamy and gently sweet. There isn’t a whole cedar tree in the mouth to scare a person away!
I have a little left that I’ll share with Eric at the tea shop and steep much longer. I’m wondering how a longer steep in the beginning will taste.
Let the Pu’er guide the journey!
BTW, my newest addition to my blog is a memory of a trip to Ancash, Peru years ago in the Andes. www.teaandincense.com