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Poulpi said

Do I hate Pu-Erh ?

I know that this question can sound silly, but it was kind of a catchy title ;-)

Here is the deal, I’ve been drinking Oolong for quite some time now, and started to brew it gong-fu style, I’m no tea expert, but I can say that I start to understand tea …
I have read many things, and also became interested in Pu-Erh tea which I find quite fascinating. I wanted to start educating myself to it, so I bought this :
http://cgi.ebay.fr/Xiaguan-Te-Ji-Premium-Tuo-Cha-Puer-Tea-2009-100g-Raw-/220487965959?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item33561b5d07#ht_6553wt_994

Problem is I did not like it AT ALL, so here is my question : Have I chosen a bad Pu-Erh to start with (I know that buying on ebay is not the wisest choice), in which case there is still hope I guess, or shall I assume that Pu-Erh is simply not for me ?

thanks
Poulpi

25 Replies
Uniquity said

While I can’t speak to the quality of that tea, I can share that pu-erh was for me (and for many) a tricky tea at first. I have tried a handful of flavoured ones now and didn’t like any but ave tried one unflavoured which was drinkable. It’s one of those things that grows on you, it seems.

Poulpi said

But it’s one thing that didn’t grow on you yet, then, if I understand well ? ;-)

Uniquity said

Well, the tuocha from Teavivre was good and I still want to keep trying more but it’s definitely not a favourite yet.

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tperez said

I think Xiaguan is supposed to be pretty good quality, it may be that you just don’t like raw/sheng pu’erh at that stage in aging. You might want try a good ripe/shou pu’erh.

So far I’ve enjoyed ripe pu’erhs and very young raw ones. I tried a sample of a raw 2008 Menghai from Mr. Mopar on this forum and didn’t care for it much, so I wouldn’t give up on pu’erh yet :)

I made a similar thread a few months ago, but it turned out the pu’erh that I had bought just wasn’t very good

Poulpi said

I’m not planning on giving up yet :) I understand that loving pu-erh is not obvious for everyone though !

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Bonnie said

Don’t worry, I’ve known others here on steepster who like you just took their time and now and then tried a pu’er until they found a couple they actually liked. When I can afford shipping again, I’d like to send you a few samples if you’re still up to it. (Quite frankly, I’m not too fond of artificially flavored tea’s…or jasmine pearls).

Poulpi said

I would love to ! in the meantime do you have anything to recommend ?

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Bonnie said

Yes. Butiki Tea, Organic Ancient Phoenix coins. Whispering Pines Tea, Imperial Shou Puer Toucha, (When it comes back in stock Imperial Breakfast Blend from Verdant), Lao Tong Zhi 2012 Shu Pu’er Cake from Verdant, Yanxin Reserve Shu Nuggets ‘04 from Verdant. Mandala has lots of puerh’s and a favorite of many is their Phatty Cake. A standard for me is Menghai V93 2009 which you can find many places. Most shu I steep 30 seconds and I use about a tablespoon and a half in a gaiwan. I’m not one to overload. Always rinse your puerh. Truthfully, I’d be glad to send some but right now I’m broke. I have some flavored ones that are nice little tuocha’s with orange.

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Bonnie said

Ah, I see you are in Paris where my Nephew lives! Yunnan Sourcing carries V93 menghai puerh. I’ll have to see who else does that’s easier to get from Europe. My friend in England might know also.
Actually, the ebay site you have listed sells V93 from 2010 and 2011 as far as I can see. I personally think it’s a good every day Pu-erh. Not fancy, but nice.

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mrmopar said

i think with the bitterness of a sheng has turned you off. i would recommend a shu pu-erh with a few years aging to it. pu-erh can be a tricky thing. all of it must be washed or rinsed to “wake up the leaves”. you must not drink this toss it out. make sure the water is boiling on this rinse and cover the tea for 10 to 20 seconds and toss. begin your next steeping with water about 205f. give the tea no more than a 20 second steep and try it and see if this suits your taste more. if this is still too “grassy or green” i would recommend a shu or ripe cooked pu-erh for you.the peparation on a ripe shu pu-erh. as bonnie mentioned the v93 is a ery affordable and good tea from the menghai factory. there is a seller on ebay named berylleb. they sell samples of the tea so you don’t have to purchase a full cake. i would keep the xiaguan keep it in good airflow with no crazy smells or anything and in about 3 to 5 years you will see this cake mellow out darken and lose some of its bitterness. overall the xiaguan will be a good cake for further aging for your pantry.

Poulpi said

thanks for the advice ! I’ll give a try at these samples to have a general overview !

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mrmopar said

set this to notify me if you have any more questions Poulpi. hit me up.

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mrmopar said

here is a link to a good seller with the v93 her name is cindy and i as well as some others on here have had great service from her. if you get something tell her jrs416cars from ebay sent you. link 181030527227 a 2010 v93. she sells the small flavored touchas bonnie spoke of also.

cuppaT said

I’ll second the recommendation for Cindy. Her English is quite good and her responses to questions are prompt and detailed. I’m sure she can find you a pu-erh you’ll like — if you’re gonna like pu-erh at all. She carries many, many types of pu-erh with fast, free shipping on most items.

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Will said

Young raw pu’er, especially tightly compressed tuocha like Xiaguan tuos may not be the best place for everyone to start (they can also be more difficult to break up than more loosely compressed tea). I don’t drink a lot of young raw pu’er myself, but if you do drink it really young, it’s better to drink the small production, old-tree stuff.

Ripe tea, while not the most nuanced tea, is the cheapest way to get some sense of the type of earthy flavor that aged raw pu’er can have. I would try an example of a good ripe pu’er from a mainstream producer (Menghai / Dayi, Xiaguan). Maybe two – one large-leaf, one small leaf. While I don’t recommend loose raw pu’er, there are some great loose ripe teas out there, which are also worth seeking out. Try some boutique young raw pu’er. If you can afford it, try a few examples of 20+ year aged raw pu’er with different storage, from vendors that are reputable. No need to buy entire cakes – just try some samples.

I think this will give you a better idea of the range of tastes that pu’er can have, and maybe some jumping off points for further exploration.

With young raw pu’er, you may want to try slightly cooler water and a smaller quantity of leaf than some would recommend. For ripe pu’er, rinse twice and use boiling water.

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Bonnie said

mrmopar knows his puerh… and my suggestions were the regular ones that I give to people who live in North America (they’re milder puerh’s but very tasty and well received by first time shu drinkers or those who’ve had bad puerh).

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