My first pu-erh! I’ve been very excited for this moment. All the descriptions of it sounded exactly like something I’d like, given my inclination for smells of musty basement, dirt and wet leaves.
Smelled like wet leaves in the bag, the rinse stage brought out much more of a, what my mother aptly described as, “bike tire air” smell. I know some people brew this gongfu style but I was kind of lazy about that. I used half a french press of water for one square, poured out some of the water at 45 seconds for a first taste. Yep, taste like bike tire air. But not unpleasantly! After the 4 minute-ish mark I poured the rest of it into my cup. My mother uncharitably described it as “still bike tire with some outhouse mixed in.” I had more positive connotations of decomposing log and musty shrooms. Pretty much exactly what I’d expect old wet tea leaves to taste like, but in the best possible way.
there’s some bitterness too that I noticed more as the tea cooled, but it’s not overpowering or harsh. It actually goes well with the earthy taste. A second steep brought out more earthy flavors and the rubbery tire taste was much less perceptible. Third steep is starting to lose intensity, but is still enjoyable.
Definitely looking forward to my next pu-erh experiences!