Apego

Recent Tasting Notes

51

Ok, I think I’ve figured this one out.
I’ve been drinking a lot of this tea the last few days, trying to find the right way to brew it.
You may remember (if “you” existed and actually read my stuff) my earlier post about this, and how it was rather bitter.
Well, after much fiddling I’ve concluded that a low temperature (for shu pu’er, at least; ~90˚C) and short (sub-30 sec) steep are what make this tea happy. It’s still bitter, but not in an unpleasant way. It’s like really dark chocolate – the high cocoa stuff.
It still smells like pine forests, but there’s hints of malt, charcoal, burnt sugar and cocoa in there too.
It’s a very dark brew – almost murky. I think I’m still using a bit too much.
My main issue with it is the dust. Oh, the dust! Whether I rinse once or twice, and even after six steeps, there’s an abundance of fine particulate matter that settles to the bottom of the chahai and cups when left for a minute or two.
It’s not gritty dust (that’s caught by the tea strainer). It’s like… it’s like the scaly, feathery dust that comes off of a moth’s wings when you grab it and put it back outside. It’s not noticeable in the mouth, but it’s hard to miss in the bottom of the cup.
But, I’ve come to enjoy this tea.
It’s smooth, almost creamy. It’s like strong black coffee, but with almost a dark rum-like flavour and chocolatey overtones.

I still don’t know how authentic it is, for two reasons:
- The little piece of paper embedded in the cake is really embedded in the cake. I’ll have to drink a lot of this tea before I can get it out.
- Said little piece of paper appears (from what I can see) to be devoid of the micro-markings that are used as proof of authenticity. This may be because it’s not authentic (which wouldn’t surprise me), though I read somewhere that they only started using the micro-printed paper in 2007 – who knows.
Time to have another round or two!

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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51

(I should mention that it’s a 2007 (2006 harvest), 7572 recipe 357g bingcha from Menghai chachang – authenticity unknown. It won’t let me edit the info above because I’m new here)

Right, I’m still undecided on this tea.
It’s my first real Pu’er. It’s fairly cheap (NZ$40/357g – the cheapest of all my good teas).
I’ve had a bit of trouble getting it right. The first time I tried it, I didn’t use enough. It was weak, but bitter.
The second time, I used way too much. It was overwhelmingly bitter.
This, the third time, I think I got almost the right amount.
Yet still, it’s bitter. So I think I need to bring the water temperature down a bit.
It’s not all bad though: it’s very smooth and quite sweet, and the earthy flavours linger in the mouth for quite a while.
It smells fantastic – it’s like sitting under a pine tree in the summer. Earthy, organic, humus…
That sorta thing.
The first steep today (after rinsing) was quite bitter, but not unpleasant. Second and third were the same, but with bitterness diminishing. By the fourth, it was perfect – probably because I’d understeeped it (think I used too much again, but by this point it was losing strength).
After the fourth steeping, the flavour dropped away rapidly.
The sixth steeping I left in for about two minutes (compared to 30-45 secs at the start) but it came out weak.
That’s the end of that.
Next time I’ll try using a tiny bit less, and not quite boiling the water.
But in the meantime, I feel like some wulong!

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 45 sec

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77

A very nice tea, if you can get it right!
It smells divine in its dry state – floral and sweet.
But the first few times I tried it, I only got a very weak brew. This tea needs quite a high temperature to get the flavour out – near boiling.
Done right, this tea results in a sweet, pale, green-gold liquor. A little dryer than the average wulong, but still very nice.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 45 sec

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