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79

Hooray for me! I finally bit the bullet and decided to try my very first Pu-Erh!

I’d been simultaneously intrigued and dissuaded from trying Pu-Erh by the many descriptions I’ve read on Steepster. Some exalting the rich earthy flavor, while others describe the taste as having fishy qualities – ick!

I thought the best way to get me to try Pu-Erh, is to gently dip my toe in the water, with a tea that covers the base with plenty of flavors. I needed the Pu-Erh to be hidden like how my parents would hide zucchini in spaghetti sauce when I was a kid (and wouldn’t you know it, I like zucchini now). When I saw that the Della Terra Fall Try Me Pack had a sample of a Chocolate Chai Pu-Erh, it was a no-brainer.

I placed my order last Fall, and I happily sampled their teas, pulling this one out of the box, imagining a cartoon fish (you know the silver-gray kind, that looks a bit haggard, with the x for an eye), and I would quickly shove it back in the box to be passed by for something more “familiar”. For months, this packet was more of an obstacle to other teas than a tea destination. A tea pylon.

Well, Fall turned into Winter, and Winter into Spring, and I decided that I should stop being a chicken and give it a go…

…of course, another month passed…

…and a few more weeks…

…then a few more days…

“buck, buck…buck…BuckAHH!” I could practically hear the package taunting me. So I mustered up the nerve, grabbed the packet and headed for the kettle. As I poured the hot water over the tea, I snickered with a villainous grin (no…not really, but how great would that have been?)

I took my first sip…

…Chai!…mmm…chocolate. I can’t say that I detect anything fishy at all. The aftertaste sits on my tongue a little differently than a regular chai. A little drier at the back of the tongue, almost salty, but not quite. It’s mostly Chai. I was almost disappointed at how anticlimactic the whole thing was. I pictured the cartoon fish coming back to life and swimming away, and laughed at my over-active imagination.

Overall this tea is not bad, but it’s not one that I’d necessarily need to try again. However, it was the perfect stepping stone to a whole new area of teas that I had always shied away from. It was the perfect way to hide zucchini in spaghetti sauce.

Cavocorax

Sounds like the best strategy! I enjoy a lot of flavoured puerhs now, but I’m afraid to try one on it’s own after the disastrous attempt with Zen Tea’s Puerh. (It tasted like dirt)

canadianadia

Dirt! Yikes, I’ll be steering clear of that one at least until I gain a firmer footing in the Pu-Erh department.

yyz

I know how you feel. I’ve only tried flavoured ones as well. One I quite like ( a blood orange one which has a rich deep flavour and re-steeps amazingly well for a flavoured tea) and another which was really horrible ( a strawberry one that reminded me of ammonia). So at the moment I am all for experimentation but only in small doses.

Dexter3657

Congrats on trying your first pu’erh. This is one of the best/funniest tasting notes that I’ve read in a long time. :))
“Some exalting the rich earthy flavor” – this is just a fancy term for dirt. LOL I actually like the earthy/dirty taste of pu’erh, and have just started exploring them plain. I have several in my cupboard that I haven’t tried yet.
You weren’t revolted by this one so maybe don’t give up on all of them. I’m agreeing with your strategy, baby steps.

Fuzzy_Peachkin

I loved this note! :-) I too have been intimidated by Pu’erh and have been putting off tasting them until I’ve tried lots of other things first. I am intrigued by the idea of drinking “dirt” though, so maybe I’ll do it soon.

canadianadia

@yyz – wow! ammonia, something must have gone when they made that flavor, but it’s good that you found the blood orange to enjoy, and the strawberry one didn’t scare you away from all Pu’erhs.

@Dexter3657 – Thank you for your kind words. Now that I think of the “rich earthy flavor” description, you’re totally right – fancy term for dirt – hahaha! Yes, for sure, baby steps seems like the way to go – so far, so good, at least.

@Fuzzy_Peachkin – We can explore the world of Pu’erhs together :) Hooray for dirt! ;)

OMGsrsly

Yes. Yes, they do taste like dirt. I like adding a little sugar to cheaper loose puerhs (Tealux’s Naked Puerh is AMAZING with a pinch of sugar), to really explore the spicy earthy sweet flavours. :) The smell is still intimidating, but I love the taste. Used leaves also cold brew into a fascinating tea.

Terri HarpLady

Great review! Congrats on getting through your first Puerh experience. I haven’t really tried too many flavored ones, but the ones I’ve liked are:
Blood Orange Puerh from The London Tea Room.
Bolder Breakfast from The Tea Spot (mix of black tea, puerh, & chocolate).
I think there was one with Caramel too, that was kind of nice.

Cavocorax

OMGsrsly – I’m glad I grabbed that one from Tealux then! I just haven’t tried it yet. I grabbed 6 different puerh samples from them and so far am happy. I like a few of the ones from DavidsTea too – they’re easy starter puerhs!

canadianadia

@OMGsrsly, Terri HarpLady and Cavocorax -Thanks for all the suggestions. It’s nice to have some ideas to help figure out what I should try next. I’m treading cautiously with Pu’erhs because I feel one misstep might scare me away completely. So your suggestions are very helpful – thank you

Dexter3657

I’m seconding the vote for Tealux Naked Pu’erh. It’s a decent inexpensive loose shu pu’erh. I find with my sample that it needs a pretty decent rinse to get rid of the initial dirty socks/fishy smell. First steep is pretty strong, but mellows quite a bet for steeps 2 onward.

Canadianadia, when you are ready to make the step to plain pu’erh I would recommend a sheng (raw). They taste like pu’erh – dirty, earthy, but in a much gentler softer version. I drank a sheng for the first time last night (tried two different ones) and they were both much lighter on the pu’erh flavor. Might be a gentler transition for you.

canadianadia

Thanks Dexter3657 – I’ll have to keep that in mind when I venture towards the plain pu’erh

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Comments

Cavocorax

Sounds like the best strategy! I enjoy a lot of flavoured puerhs now, but I’m afraid to try one on it’s own after the disastrous attempt with Zen Tea’s Puerh. (It tasted like dirt)

canadianadia

Dirt! Yikes, I’ll be steering clear of that one at least until I gain a firmer footing in the Pu-Erh department.

yyz

I know how you feel. I’ve only tried flavoured ones as well. One I quite like ( a blood orange one which has a rich deep flavour and re-steeps amazingly well for a flavoured tea) and another which was really horrible ( a strawberry one that reminded me of ammonia). So at the moment I am all for experimentation but only in small doses.

Dexter3657

Congrats on trying your first pu’erh. This is one of the best/funniest tasting notes that I’ve read in a long time. :))
“Some exalting the rich earthy flavor” – this is just a fancy term for dirt. LOL I actually like the earthy/dirty taste of pu’erh, and have just started exploring them plain. I have several in my cupboard that I haven’t tried yet.
You weren’t revolted by this one so maybe don’t give up on all of them. I’m agreeing with your strategy, baby steps.

Fuzzy_Peachkin

I loved this note! :-) I too have been intimidated by Pu’erh and have been putting off tasting them until I’ve tried lots of other things first. I am intrigued by the idea of drinking “dirt” though, so maybe I’ll do it soon.

canadianadia

@yyz – wow! ammonia, something must have gone when they made that flavor, but it’s good that you found the blood orange to enjoy, and the strawberry one didn’t scare you away from all Pu’erhs.

@Dexter3657 – Thank you for your kind words. Now that I think of the “rich earthy flavor” description, you’re totally right – fancy term for dirt – hahaha! Yes, for sure, baby steps seems like the way to go – so far, so good, at least.

@Fuzzy_Peachkin – We can explore the world of Pu’erhs together :) Hooray for dirt! ;)

OMGsrsly

Yes. Yes, they do taste like dirt. I like adding a little sugar to cheaper loose puerhs (Tealux’s Naked Puerh is AMAZING with a pinch of sugar), to really explore the spicy earthy sweet flavours. :) The smell is still intimidating, but I love the taste. Used leaves also cold brew into a fascinating tea.

Terri HarpLady

Great review! Congrats on getting through your first Puerh experience. I haven’t really tried too many flavored ones, but the ones I’ve liked are:
Blood Orange Puerh from The London Tea Room.
Bolder Breakfast from The Tea Spot (mix of black tea, puerh, & chocolate).
I think there was one with Caramel too, that was kind of nice.

Cavocorax

OMGsrsly – I’m glad I grabbed that one from Tealux then! I just haven’t tried it yet. I grabbed 6 different puerh samples from them and so far am happy. I like a few of the ones from DavidsTea too – they’re easy starter puerhs!

canadianadia

@OMGsrsly, Terri HarpLady and Cavocorax -Thanks for all the suggestions. It’s nice to have some ideas to help figure out what I should try next. I’m treading cautiously with Pu’erhs because I feel one misstep might scare me away completely. So your suggestions are very helpful – thank you

Dexter3657

I’m seconding the vote for Tealux Naked Pu’erh. It’s a decent inexpensive loose shu pu’erh. I find with my sample that it needs a pretty decent rinse to get rid of the initial dirty socks/fishy smell. First steep is pretty strong, but mellows quite a bet for steeps 2 onward.

Canadianadia, when you are ready to make the step to plain pu’erh I would recommend a sheng (raw). They taste like pu’erh – dirty, earthy, but in a much gentler softer version. I drank a sheng for the first time last night (tried two different ones) and they were both much lighter on the pu’erh flavor. Might be a gentler transition for you.

canadianadia

Thanks Dexter3657 – I’ll have to keep that in mind when I venture towards the plain pu’erh

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That’s my mug! I’ve never really been a huge fan of Winnie the Pooh, but I like the fact that this mug is more or less clear. Plus, I can’t help but giggle when I say “ewww …I have Pooh on my mug” and people in the room gawk in horror before realizing I’m talking about Winnie. Am I easily amused? heck yeah!

A little something about my interests? – In no particular order, I love tea, makeup, paper crafting (card making), home renovations, and gardening.

As a rule, I tend to drink my tea without adding anything, but if that doesn’t work for me, I indulge in the fact that rules are meant to be broken. Yep! I’m such a rebel…sometimes I even color outside the of lines :P

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