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Free sample generously provided to me by Teavivre. Thanks so much!

Preparation notes: 2 of the 4 enclosed tuo cha in 500 ml. water in my Breville at the below parameters.

Dry leaf: My only other run in with pu erh tea was with a Teavana blend roughly a year ago. It was a fruit blend, and in loose leaf form, not a cake, so I guess you could say this is my first authentic pu erh experience.

The tuo cha are small – maybe the size of a quarter, or slightly larger. The immediate scent that came to mind was fishy, which my boyfriend interpreted as food pellets. There were also notes of dirt. Very organic smelling.

Steeped tea: I opted toward the later steeping time with this one, and though it isn’t bitter, I’m thinking I might have gone a little strong and would probably dial it back next time. This brewed up a dark brown to black color which totally shocked me, even though it had been noted by others. I guess I just didn’t think it would be possible to get so dark despite the short steep time.

The predominant smell from the steeped tea is that of the hamster food pellets my boyfriend smelled initially. The fishy smell is displaced more toward the background, with hay and dirt taking the center stage. It smells a touch sour, too.

Surprisingly, given how dark it is, it doesn’t taste astringent or bitter. Just…strong, with a full mouthfeel. It seems like a midway point between black tea and coffee. The taste itself does have some earth on the swallow, otherwise, think a very strong black tea, with the accompanying maltiness and smoothness that it has when steeped properly, and you will have an accurate picture of what this tastes like as well.

I understand why people say that pu erh is an acquired taste. In my case the taste wasn’t the issue – it was the smell I’ll have to get used to. After my experience with Teavana I had written this type of tea off completely, but it turns that I may actually like them after all. I think further exploration is in order!

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 0 sec
TeaBrat

I had to giggle at “hamster food pellets” :)

Ninavampi

I completely agree… Taste of Pu-Erh is fine, the smell is what requires getting used to! (this from my first experience today)

JoonSusanna

@Amy oh – that description was courtesy of the boyfriend. I’m going to have to stop asking his opinion while I’m still drinking a tea, because once he says something like that it’s all I can pick up on for the remainder of the cup. Boys!

@Ninavampi – I just saw your tasting note on the pu erh – I am SO jealous of your dad for going to China and getting to pick out tea! One day I will go to there…

Ninavampi

I also want to go to China one day! : ) I think I might go crazy with the options!

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TeaBrat

I had to giggle at “hamster food pellets” :)

Ninavampi

I completely agree… Taste of Pu-Erh is fine, the smell is what requires getting used to! (this from my first experience today)

JoonSusanna

@Amy oh – that description was courtesy of the boyfriend. I’m going to have to stop asking his opinion while I’m still drinking a tea, because once he says something like that it’s all I can pick up on for the remainder of the cup. Boys!

@Ninavampi – I just saw your tasting note on the pu erh – I am SO jealous of your dad for going to China and getting to pick out tea! One day I will go to there…

Ninavampi

I also want to go to China one day! : ) I think I might go crazy with the options!

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Bio

A few of my favorite teas (in no particular order):

*Dessert flavored blacks
*Breakfast blends
*Virtually any black tea (but lapsang/keemun!)
*Dancong oolong
*Sencha
*Dragonwell

When it comes to tea, I feel like the 10th Doctor says it best:

“Tea! That’s all I needed! Good cup of tea! Super-heated infusion of free-radicals and tannin, just the thing for healing the synapses. "

Location

Atlanta, GA

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