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Misty Peak Teas
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When this tea arrived in the mail, the envelope smelled like diesel fuel. I’ve had a package or two in the past the smelled like it traveled under a truck rather than in one, so I wasn’t too surprised, but I was concerned about how this would affect the flavor of the tea. The envelope was not as well sealed as it could have been, leaving room for debris to potentially enter at the edges. I transferred this tea to another container and put off sampling it for a while because I was afraid of how it might be after such a journey.
I used all 8g that I received and brewed in a gaiwan (I don’t have a yixing pot yet!)
Wet leaves after 10s rinse smell like spinach and dirt
1st infusion 10s: first cup brews golden yellow. Taste is vegetal (like spinach) and mineral; also bitter and astringent.
2nd infusion 15s: brews slightly darker than before. Smells more earthy and less vegetal. taste is more bitter and astringent than before, masking the other flavors. But not so much so to be unbearable. There is something citrus and possibly floral, but it could just be the tartness making it seem so.
3rd infusion 20s: So bitter! I hope it gets better as the other reviews have suggested.
4th infusion 25s: less bitter (thank goodness!) but mineral flavor dominates. I’m really not too fond of strong mineral flavor in my teas, so I’m not enjoying this too much so far. there is some other earthy flavor lingering in the aftertaste, but I can’t describe it precisely.
5th infusion 35s: more bitter again, still mineral flavor. I don’t know where the rest of you are getting the other flavor notes that you describe. Maybe my tea really was affected in transit. I just don’t feel much like steeping this one anymore.
I’ve had a couple other green pu-erhs and there were sweeter and not so bitter. Maybe this one is better suited for aging rather than immediate consumption.
Nicholas just sent me a rather novel-ish response to my review, concerned that my opinions will affect the reputation of his tea and asked that I might edit my review. While I appreciate his concern and the time taken to write and to answer previous questions of mine, I feel that his “concern” was unnecessarily accusatory. I realize that my novice tea brewing skills as well as the poor packaging of the tea affected my review of it, so I did not give this tea a numbered rating because I knew that wouldn’t be fair. I gave my honest opinion and I don’t see how I can ‘edit’ my personal experience with this tea other than to note his suggestions for improvement so that the rest of you won’t make my mistakes:
Water temperature: He suggested that I used the wrong temperature of water and said that he took an effort to instruct us how not to ruin the tea so that this wouldn’t happen. He said I should have used cooler water (I actually never said what temperature I used, so I don’t know how he should know). No where in the original instructions did it say so. this is quoted from the instructions: "The water temperature of 195 degrees (F) boiling, or just boiled, water is preferred. Unlike Green teas and other delicate tea leaves, Pu’er has the strength to endure boiling or very hot water. "
The reply I just got says “Spring water at about 180 degrees, not boiling, will be most suitable for a green pu’er”
Admittedly, I found it difficult at times to distinguish when the original instructions referred to sheng or shu or green puerh. It was not clear and even contradictory in a few places. Still, absolutely nowhere other than the quote above did it mention water temperature. Also, if this green puerh is to be treated like a green tea, then why did I receive such lengthy instructions on how to brew shu or aged puerh?
Water type: he says "As for the mineral taste, perhaps the water you used caused this. " I have a water filter attached to my faucet and if the tea should be so ruined by my filtered water, then I don’t know what else to do.
Steeping time: I am now told that: " Soaking the tea for more than a second or two its first steepings takes the good out of the tea and you end up with several steepings more of already-injured leaves." Original instructions: “The first wash should simply be 5 seconds or so. Whereas the second can be as much as 10.” so sure, I did more than 5, but the instructions also say “Steeping times: This is a wonderful example of when personal preference plays a role.” And I have always done my first pu-erh rinses this way and I liked them quite fine.
Amount of leaf: I learn now that “8 grams is far too much for one sitting of Pu’er, no matter how big your pot or what kind of preparations you are using. We usually recommend starting with 2 grams to 4-5 grams…anything more will only make an astringent tea”
Original instructions: “If fewer people, it is best to use around 5 to 9 grams, for many people 15 grams is perfect.”
I get the impression that the original instructions sent were generic. If there were different or special considerations to give this green pu-erh, they should have been noted and the superfluous information omitted.
UPDATE 5/24: All confusions have been cleared up and all is well between Misty Peak and myself. I am still not certain what was up with the original erroneous instruction, but hopefully those of you who haven’t brewed it yet will see this review and know how to get the best out of your samples.
First, thanks to Nicholas at Misty Peak Teas for the sample.
The leaves look decent enough considering their unprotected life in USPS shipping for a few days, with no barrier between the leaves and the envelope. Thankfully a 4g chunk of cake survived and enough loose leaves remained whole enough to get about 6g total leaf for a session. I notice that the cake must be made of quite the blend of materials: fuzzy buds, small fragments, small leaves, large leaves, leaves with stems, a large chunk of what appears to be bamboo (seriously), and other parts of the tea plant.
After a rinse, the wet leaves, minus the unusable material, turned out to be quite aromatic. The scent is thick and fruity and carries far from the gaiwan, turning highly herbaceous later on. I notice they are very green, oolong-like, and have a fair share of bruising. Unfortunately, the strength of aroma does not carry over to the soup, which is as weak in body as it is in coloration. Yet, with subsequent infusions, both of these aspects grow in depth, though the soup remains definitely yellow throughout. The extent of this increase is not large, however. This tea is very slow to start, not really granting a full experience until the fourth or fifth infusion. This would normally not be much of an issue, but soon after this mark, it is quick to die out, or grants more fullness at the expense of too much roughness with long steep times.
Given this shengpu’s youth, it seems to have not had much time to develop any textural intrigue nor qi. I found the both to be quite lacking, though the tea did seem to have a decent bit of caffeine to it. While it had some good flavors to it, its form, which is what I am most interested in with pu’ercha, was weak.
Each sip opens quite undramatically, soft in body and faint in taste besides an introductory sweetness. There is a faint buttery aspect that I commonly find in very young sheng pu’er. It gets better in the development, though the duration is short and seems to peak at a medium intensity. Complexity is introduced at this point—a basic blend of fruity and floral spectrums. The sip quickly passes into the finish, which is drying and has some bitterness forward in the mouth. I’m left with a faint coolness in the throat, which is at least one promising aspect of this tea.
During later brews, the development’s intensity increases and the duration is extended to a small extent. The textural components are not aided by the longer steeps, instead increasing in the forward bitterness and astringency. The aftertaste was tasty flavor-wise, but again, lacking in mouthfeel. I found the aroma in the cup after the soup was drained to be suggestive of quality, though. It was thick, floral and fruity, with the dark sweetness of caramel.
I would rather not speculate on this tea’s aging potential, but from what I’ve heard the average Yiwu cake does okay over the years. I would say this is probably close to one of those averages, but it’s really too young for me to tell. However, I find its lack of strength (I would have even liked to have seen more power in the bitter department) given its extreme youth to be concerning. The proportion of junk to leaves in the small sample received is also concerning, and seems to indicate a lack of care during processing, as does the fair quantity of red-hued leaves.
Thanks to Misty Peak Teas for a sample, from a pu’erh novice!
Review is based on infusions 1-7. Prepared with a gaiwan. Rinsed after 10 seconds. First infusion lasted 10 seconds; the second, 15; subsequent infusion times increased by three seconds.
I would have liked to experience the aroma of the dry leaf; it unfortunately faded while the tea traveled in the mail, but through inhaling deeply I was able to smell earth and minerals. The wet leaf’s aroma strengthened as the leaves (whose color ranged from dark green to brown) continued to unfold with each infusion. A combination of musk and meat had emerged.
The liquor was consistently a clear pastel yellow.
The flavor was medium-bodied, flavorful, soft and smooth. Infusions 1-3 were sour and astringent. After swallowing, I felt a prickly sensation on my tongue, and the aftertaste was slightly spicy. The spiciness began disappearing after the fourth infusion and completely faded away during the sixth. By the seventh infusion, the flavor was totally musky and forest-like with a hint of apricot (and still a bit prickly and astringent).
Two days without tea, had to get my palate right. Brewing this tea two ways. Both will be with spring water. First brew 200ml yixing pot. Aroma almost flower like, clear yellow brew, taste a lemony sweetness with no major bitterness or overpowering smokiness as found in some sheng. Very light vegetal taste with a good amount of “qui”. This really cots the inside of your mouth with a slightly tart taste. Easy to drink and this cup won’t last long. Very warming and enjoyable to drink. Leaves look to hand rolled almost gongting size. Wow this is stout! I think tea drunk for now. I will have to do the gaiwan later as I believe this will keep me going for a while. strong enough to make you sweat! Used boiling water with a 10 second wash and then a 10 second steep.
I am only six cups into this so far. I will post a better review after I take this several cups further. My notes are so closely paralleling Awkward Soul’s wonderful review on her website, that it amazed me. I do not have a clay pot. I did decide to make-shift gaiwan steep it using a tiny Corelle cup, and a Finum basket with lid. Each steep is between 3-4 ounces.
Young sheng takes some getting used to. I happen to like sheng and found this to be really nice even as young as it is. If I had the self control to age pu’er, I believe this would be a good one.
Awkward Souls’s rating is correct for what this is now. I raised it a bit for potential.
I took this on through 10 cups. The leaf still has more to give but I have run out of day. As the flavor starts to diminish and the astringency increases around the 8th cup, adding a tiny amount of sweetener brings this to life in a very good way.
I enjoyed my day with this one. Thanks Misty Peak Teas for the sample.
TY to Misty Peak Teas for the sample!
Whoa, 2013? That’s pretty new! Lots of interesting complexities with this sheng – smooth, creamy, earthy, pear, apricot, persimmon, floral, savory, copper mineral, clean and woodsy.
I wasn’t a fan of the astringency that got stronger in later infusions, but I figure with some aging time it’ll even out. With that said, the astringency was very different, a textured dry sensation.
Full review on my blog, The Oolong Owl http://oolongowl.wordpress.com/2013/05/16/2013-yiwu-spring-sheng-puer-from-misty-peak-teas-tea-review/
Got this as a free sample directly from Misty Peak, woo hoo. My first pu erh (I bought a box of it for cheap at an asian grocery store years and years ago, but never actually opened it, oops). I had some trepidation because a lot of the funkier, more esoteric but more fiercely beloved types of teas among aficionados—oolong and pu erh!—I still don’t seem too into due to what I perceive as a funky, seaweed-y, marshy element. But this was a really great introduction for me—I’m guessing it’s relatively mild as pu erhs go because dry and brewed it doesn’t smell that funky or marshy, and while there is some of that salty butteriness and a bit of vegetal, seaweed-like character in the flavor it’s not overpowering at all. There’s also a clean, sweet-like-fresh-water flavor I’m really digging. Impressed with the texture too; it has a medium body, just right (and more than I was expecting for some reason), with a luscious, silky mouthfeel. I like it! The copy is right in that this is a tea for contemplation, one to take your time with.
After 2 and a half weeks in 70% humidity I am going to reevaluate this tea. It is still very smooth and moist in your mouth and when you swallow. It has gained a little thickness since I received it. There is a little bit of mushroom flavor, but overall the flavor is very mild. I usually like meaty, in your face puerh and this seems to be a much lighter puerh. I think it has the potential to age into a nice mouthfeel puerh with good qi. It is also good for someone that wants a milder tea to drink immediately. There is still an interesting minty flavor to the tea, but it has a new musty smell on top. As I keep doing more brews, due to the lack of kuwei and strength, I am starting to do longer steeps. There is an interesting, smooth waxy feeling that coats the mouth with longer steeps.
(Sorry for the mix mash of thoughts, I was writing this as I brewed and noticing things which leaded to a very scattered post)
Previous review: I just received this puerh cake, so it is probably a little flat because of the lower humidity and temp during shipping. I have it in my pumidor and will write a more extensive review after a couple weeks in better conditions. The dry tea smells very minty and sweet, almost like a mint tisane mixed in with the puerh. Once brewed it keeps the minty smell but loses the sweetness. It is very smooth and moistens the mouth. It is lacking a little thickness and staying power but that may be because of the shipping flatness. It has a deep tobacco and mushroom flavor, without the smokiness and bitterness of other young puerhs (making it seem a couple years older than it really is) I can’t wait to see how this progresses, and overall it’s a very good tea
I just received this puerh cake, so it is probably a little flat because of the lower humidity and temp during shipping. I have it in my pumidor and will write a more extensive review after a couple weeks in better conditions. The dry tea smells very minty and sweet, almost like a mint tisane mixed in with the puerh. Once brewed it keeps the minty smell but loses the sweetness. It is very smooth and moistens the mouth. It is lacking a little thickness and staying power but that may be because of the shipping flatness. It has a deep tobacco and mushroom flavor, without the smokiness and bitterness of other young puerhs (making it seem a couple years older than it really is) I can’t wait to see how this progresses, and overall it’s a very good tea
This tea is very nice.
I am newer to these kinds of teas and it is my first green puerh, but I have tried the black before and it is nothing like this.
The aging is wonderful, but I understand that most black puerhs are not aged, only processed to be black. This tea is going to be wonderful for aging as the tea is perfect now.
I bought two of the cakes, and will buy more in the future if they are still available. I do agree that Yiwu produces the better of the green puerh teas because I tried a different one recently that was not as complex or flavorful as this. The tea is a tea for all times of the day, so that makes me feel good! Haha. Hope this helps others.
Oh ya, don’t steep it for more than 30-40 seconds, as it is full leaves and has no need to be steeped that long! Held its flavor until the 10th or 11th steeping.