pu-erh of the day. Sheng or Shou
Just the Dayi bulang peacock and the 2010 Chen Sheng Yi Hao and a couple of other samples.
Shen Gu You Lan 2012 raw. A lovely tea acquired from Tea Urchin. It has a touch of fruitiness, the good kind of bitterness, and a well balanced young pu erh flavor that held up well to a good number of steepings. It seems like it would have the potential to age well, it just has that feel to it, though I suppose one never knows. The cha qi was really different, it wasn’t overly stimulating but rather facilitated a calm alertness. The only downside is the price – a cake comes in at just over $100. If it were half that, I’d buy it in a heartbeat. The sample came as a freebie with a recent order.
Interjecting with a quick question here if you don’t mind.
I am totally new to puerh. I have three options to try for my first one. A package I got an an Asian market (I suspect it’s mediocre at best), some little bitty ones given to me in a trade, and this that I ordered from Red Leaf:
I am leaning toward just the Red Leaf as my first one, just because it seems a little more reputable than the other two, and the reviews of it are good.
But, I have been reading a bit about puerh, the short steepings, small infusions and all. The directions on the Red Leaf site seem almost opposite – 3g tea to 6 oz water, steep for 5-7 minutes, and no mention of a resteep.
PS this is what I got at the Asian market if anyone wants to venture a guess. It was really cheap and I liked the container, I figured if the tea is awful, I still have that.
idk, none of those sound particularly palatable, try them all with maybe the unflavored ones first. Just try not to let a bad experience with those turn you off from trying proper puerh in the future, because they’re probably not representative of the real stuff in the slightest.
in terms of brewing it, (i’m assuming they’re all shu/ripe puerh), you want to first rinse the tea with boiling water twice (like 10-15 or so seconds each rinse) and discard the rinses because they’ll be nasty, and then do short-ish steeps, like maybe 30-60 seconds, and you should get several resteeps even with low grade puerh, (increasing the time as you go, to taste).
This is the one I got in a swap: http://steepster.com/teas/menghai-tea-factory/18152-chrysanthemum-pu-erh-mini-tuocha
that’s probably the best bet out of the 3, though i think I’d still try the unflavored one first
Recommended for “new” drinkers Shou or ‘ripe/cooked’ puerh Mandala’s “Phatty cake” or a 2010 older Menghai tea factory “v-93” or “Dayi hong/Red aura” depending on vendor translation. The one you have is from the menghai area not the Menghai tea factory. As far as I am aware Menghai doesn’t make any puerh other than loose in smaller than 100 gram cakes.
Sheng can be more astringent or bitter. Mandala’s “Wild Mountain Green” raw cake or Yunnan Sourcings 2013 “Wu Liang Ye Sheng”. Both would be great starters for sheng. The difference in what you have tried will be immense. Most of these can be had be had in sample sizes also. If you need any assistance message me and I will be glad to help. Steep times and washes will depend not only on amount brewed but style of brewing as well as type of puerh, sheng/shou different parameters on the tea.
Second the recommendation of the Wild Mountain Green – it is VERY accessible. Also the Phatty Cake.
Thanks! I might wait for the Butiki box to come around and try one of those first, I am afraid I will try a bad one and then be intimidated to try another.
Those 2 shengs are the top ones and if you enjoy green tea those would be very similar. Even though the Wu Liang Ye sheng is a purple bud that most are bitter that one is not. Very soft to be a purple bud.
I second those recommendations! Especially the Wu Liang. It is very accessible. You could also sample a few ripe pu erhs from Yunnan Sourcing if you try an order with them.
In the meantime, I say just go for it and try the ones you’ve got now, who knows, they might be good, and if not, it can only get better from there. Just rinse the tea twice first and then start with short-ish steeps and see how it goes.
This morning is a 2001 Yiwu wild sheng that I purchased from the phoenix collection. I find this tea very interesting as it has many long twigs and larges leaves (twigs and leaves up to 3 inches long!). The tea has a natural sweet rice note which I am enjoying very much. Very unique.
Lao Man E 2013 Spring by Tea Urchin
Wow, talk about bitter! This tea is not for the faint of heart. It is incredibly bitter, purposely made to be so. Will this bitterness translate into a well aged pu erh? Perhaps! But I would not drink it again for at least another few years. It does, however, have staying power, lasting a god number of infusions, and you can just tell that this is a quality tea. It has a nice feel to it, possesses medium body, and so far is not terribly stimulating. I’m not sure whether I want to buy a cake and age it, but I am considering it! I am not going to rank it because I just wouldn’t know how to.
Zhang Jia Wan 2012 Spring by Tea Urchin
This is my fourth tea sample from Tea Urchin. The only problem I’m having is that they are all so good I want to order a cake of everything I’ve tried! Pu erh is an expensive passion. This was another high quality tea with a nice feel to it. It is definitely on the more mellow side and seems to already be exhibiting some signs of aging. Got a good number of steeps, each honey colored medium bodied with not much bitterness and some honey like sweetness. The cha qi was solid but not overpowering. Another solid tea from a great company. An added plus – the wrapper is adorable!
I had the Imperial Dark Bu Lang Gong Ting from Mandala for breakfast. I still love Special Dark more…
Finishing off a 2008 Xiaguan “Hong Yan Yuan” tuo, on ice. Yummm. The Crane is Dead, Long Live the Crane.
I drank North Shore Pu-erh, It’s a Shou Pu-erh blended with a few other things, from Verdant Teas TOTM Club blends.
Made with Tian Di Ren Puerh http://verdanttea.com/teas/tian-di-ren-yiwu-2008-shu-puer/
I haven’t had this Pu-erh itself other than in this blend so I’m not sure how it actually taste but in this blend I do taste what seems to be a pretty decent puerh that seemed to work quite well with the added ingredients.
wow, that’s an insane markup for a tiandiren shu cake, Tian Di Ren is a bottom of the pile cheapo factory. That’s not to say that their tea isn’t good (I haven’t tried it) but it’s usually worth no more than like $10-20 a cake, even aged. It’s no where near an $80/cake premium brand, that’s really a lot of money for a 2007 shu cake. For 2007 shu, that’s like the cost of the highest end cakes from Dayi or Douji, or something.
I’d have to agree with sansnipple about the price. Tian Di Ren, is ok at best and I’ve paid $10-12 for a full cake, no more than $10 for the ripe versions.
ya, thats why i never tried it, glad this blend was in my monthly box tho :)
Verdant is good with blends. I just wish they were more realists/fair with pricing. I tried two a WHILE ago, and they were really good :)
I was thinking the same about the pricing and spent about an hour seeing if I could find this exact cake with no success.
I tried the gold metal tribute ripe cake from ‘10 (I think) and it’s quite decent. Prices for it range wildly.
I haven’t hear much discussion about the different factories. There is clearly a real repository of knowledge that many of us could benefit from. How many of you read puercn.com?
yeah, i looked on taobao, and i couldn’t find the exact one, but there weren’t any that were even a fraction of that price range. There are a couple other tian di ren cakes on white2tea and puershop though and they’re only $12-25, and that’s english speaking western vendors, most of taobao tian di ren was only like 50 RMB.
white2tea… never heard of that site.
“tiepai” i never knew what they called those fakes. i’ve got one and it’s quite tasty, actually.