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Alexander said

The Taste of Pu-erh

So I bought this Pu-erh from one of my local international markets. It calls itself a Chen Nian Pu Er Tea (it says its a Ripe 2year pu-erh, but does not state the actual date of production.). I get home and excitedly opened the package to find it a loose leaf pu-erh. I brewed it in the Gong fu Cha style (filled the bottom of my tiny pot with leaves, used boiling water, rinsed the leaves twice before drinking, etc.). I was surprise by the odd flavor which reminded me of (oddly enough) the dusty/moldy smell I would always find in my Grandfathers basement. At the same time, however, it was extremely smooth with a sweeter, earthy finish that lingered for some time. This was my first Pu-erh and, though I can see this flavor growing on me, I just have to ask… Was this a bad Pu-erh or do I just need to get used to the flavor?

22 Replies
sandra said

nope, for me pu-ehr taste mushy, and a bit like dirt. there are other pu-ehr though, that taste differently, but after my frist trial, and never ventured into another pu-ehr adventure again.
i guess it’s a tea you either love or hate. I belong to the 2nd lot lol

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I’ve been trying to like pu-erh so hard but I just can’t get over the musty smell/taste and the earthiness has been too much for my tastebuds so far. I’ve tried it from all over, a bunch of different companies and types and ages (not all on my steepster notes) but I just don’t like it. I’m glad that you DO like it, and I think you may just need to get used to the flavour since that sounds pretty typical of what they all taste like to me.

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RiverTea said

This is the pu-erh’s flavor musty with a touch of earthiness. It is indeed hard for some to enjoy it and difficult for some to hate it. What you describe there seems like love at first sight and we are glad you liked it. Pu-erh also needs some getting used to so go on enjoying it!

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tperez said

I think I had about the same reaction the first time I tried pu’erh. :)

I had bought some cheap loose leaf, and while I liked the smooth, sweetness I couldn’t deal with the moldy garbage flavor that was hanging around on top.

There’s usually some “compost pit” flavor in young ripe pu’erh, but if its decent quality and two years aged like it says, that flavor should have mostly gone away.

It should taste sort “earthy” but the earthiness should be more like fall leaves, rich soil, mushrooms, and clay than compost pit. The tea should definitely not taste moldy!

It may be that you got a poorly fermented pu’erh, or it may be that you just don’t like the taste. If your tea tastes moldy I wouldn’t drink it. I’m just getting over a tongue yeast infection that I think was caused by some bad pu’erh :(

mrmopar said

But you were my first pupil!

tperez said

Haha Mrmopar, definitely not talking about the pu you sent me!

I was talking about the loose pu that I had bought from Zenjala which was pretty bad. The flavor improved some since then, but it still tastes a bit odd when I looked closely at it there seems to be some small blotches of white mold. And after I gave it a second chance a few weeks ago I got this tongue infection started up, and its the only thing I can think of that would have caused it. :(

Thankful to be your “pu’pil” :)

mrmopar said

Just having some fun! I know you have evolved , I checked your cupboard out. You have some great tea in there! I am envious….well I do have my own stash just have to keep it hidden! Of course now you are a pu’master!

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Bonnie said

Puerh is as diverse as green tea or black leaf tea…and shu and sheng are way different from each other also. You do need to rinse a puerh, then steep a short time in a Gaiwan for the best results. I almost NEVER have a fishy musty puerh (not worth it to buy an off brand on the cheap) and I often make lattes with PU. Best people to ask about puerh on Steepster are mrmopar, terryharplady, ashmanra , and I’m no expert but available.

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mrmopar said

Will be glad to help if you need anything.

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Alexander said

Thank everyone. Now that I know this is what it should taste like, I can let myself get used to it. But still, does anyone know of a good, older, pu-erh that is affordable?

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sandra said

hotsoup.nl has several older ones.

don’t let the Dutch site scare you; i know they ship worldwide nowadays. excellent service! i’d try to contact them via e-mail.

https://www.hotsoup.nl/nl/Pu-Erh-thee.html

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mrmopar said

Here is a good cheap one from the puerhshop, and only $13.98. Tried it last night money well spent.http://www.puerhshop.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=1_6&products_id=1387&zenid=qagq6jnffaffugbd6vqbnnk1i2

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Sammerz314 said

Moldiness is usually a sign that the tea was not stored in ideal conditions. Mostly likely, too humid of an environment. The mustiness, on the other hand, is rather characteristic of a shou puerh.

mrmopar said

Agreed on those 2 points. A musty smell is ok a moldy or fish pond smell is usually a sign that the tea was stored in a way too humid environment. I try to keep mine between 55 to 70% humidity max and the temp below 75 degrees. pu’er from seller with proper storage as opposed to one without. the 2 teas would definitely have a large odor and taste difference between them.

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