Every time that I’ve peeked into my tea cabinet this year, Peets’ Ancient Trees Pu-erh has stared right back at me. I purchased a tin way back in January with a christmas gift card, and have been saving it for a special occasion; assuming that there were two 50g tuo chas inside. As it turns out, there’s somewhere around 20 single-pot tuo chas inside! I had no excuse to avoid this tea any longer.
I popped one of the ~4g tuo cha in my 100ml gaiwan and started with a lower temperature (180*) rinse for 20s to help clean and open the leaves. Afterwards, I used ~195* water for 30 seconds, and strained it into my litlte gong-fu pitcher. Here’s where the fun really began.
This shu (I’m assuming?) pu’er comes from “organic, ancient trees,” and for a small tuo cha, it does have a fair amount of distinguishable leaves by the third or fourth infusion. It does, however, make for a perfect introduction to the flavors found in the thick, robust world of pu’er.
From the outset, I can’t help but notice the slightly floral flavor of rose hips that slowly gives way to the classic smoky earthiness of ripened pu’er. As I increase each steep by 15 seconds or so, the color shifts from a light pink, to chocolate brown, to an opaque black brew that’s almost indistinguishable from a good cup of coffee. After 6 solid steeps, it began to slowly fade away for another 4-5 infusions or so; never really straying far from its initial flavor.
Peet’s “Ancient Trees” Pu’er might not be all that exciting for knowledgeable pu’er fans, but it’s a very nice introduction to the smoky, spicy flavors found in the world of pu’er. If you don’t care for it at first, give it a couple months to mellow out and come back to it later on. I think I might take it out of the tin and pop it into a little cotton bag I have to give it a little room to breathe.