This is a long one, folks. So grab a big cuppa:)
Okay, I got this tea from Brenden at Whispering Pines Tea clear before Christmas with the rest of my order.
I had never tried Puerh tea and decided that with my next hundred tea notes I was educated enough in tea to start on something anew.
I was still secretly quite intimated, so I waited until a day when I knew I would be around most of the day to play with it.
So one day a bit before Christmas, I decided that I wanted to try it.
Set the kettle to boil, got out my little bodum infuser cup (8 oz), got the kettle up to a boil, performed a 15 second rinse and then infused the tea for 2 minutes and 30 seconds, per instruction on little tea packet.
The smell after this infusion was so strong.
I have cleaned a lot of barns in my day and this smelled exactly like that.
A deep manure and hay smell.
I tried not to let it deter me from tasting this, I had read enough of Puerh teas to know that it is common for these to scents to emerge, I just had no idea it was going to be so strong.
Then I grew brave enough to take a sip.
GAG! Oh my land! It seriously tasted like strong bitter manure (don’t ask…but yes, I do actually know how that tastes, growing up on a farm and then being a Vet Assistant for years,sometimes your mouth is just open at the very very wrong time)
I felt tears of disappointment prick my eyes.
NO! I must like this tea. I am supposed to be improving my taste in tea!
I gagged down the rest of the cup, determined not to waste.
I felt sick to my stomach, but still plowed forward and messed with the tea the rest of the day, shorter steepings and such, but every time I tasted it from that point on it just tasted so bitter and nasty, it was like that first tasting never left my tongue.
It did not help me when I read the previous tasting note on the tea is was from Bonnie my tea and life idol, giving this tea high ratings.
That was it. It certainly was not the tea, it was me.
By the time my Hubby came home, I was so irritated and angry and I hadn’t gotten half of what I had wanted to do that day done and he kept asking me why I was so upset.
So…I told him. He listened and gave sympathetic nods, then broke in and said “You don’t have to like this type of tea just because everyone else does” to which I responded like a 13 year old girl throwing a fit “Yes! Yes I do!” but I was seeing I was starting to lose him.
He spotted his new Diesel Power magazine he got in the mail and was browsing through it.
I started to walk away mumbling to myself when I heard the words “Make me some” I turned around “what?” and he said “yeah, make me some of this Poo-poo tea that ruined your day, I wanna taste it”
Okay… I was slightly shocked.
Starting with a new piece, I took a new look on preparing the tea.
I took a deep breath.
I was going to start with tiny, tiny steepings.
So, I did. I started with just a 15 second steeping. no rinse.
The water had barely even turned color.
It was so much better.
From there I would go up to like 25 seconds, then 30 and so forth.
This was so much more delightful of a experience.
And sharing it with someone too, we both held cups and talked about what we smelled and tasted.
It still has some barnyard notes to it, also deep woody notes.
But, I find it intriguing.not bitter at all.
I am not going to rate this tea yet, because I am still so new and still experimenting.
This was just a beginner at Puerh point of view.
For a expert review please read Bonnie’s review on this tea, it does it so much more justice.
But for me…
So, begins my journey with Puerh.