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Rinsed the leaves at 208F for 15 seconds, then a second brief rinse with slightly cooler water. Used about 7g of nuggets.

First infusion (205F/4min):
Smells a bit earthy. Tastes a bit like dirt. In spite of what I thought was over-steeping, I don’t think it suffered for that extra minute. In fact, I think it could stand to be stronger.

Second infusion (205F/3min):
Less dirt flavour, more sweetness? Still not getting any of the flavours that other people have.

Third infusion (205F/4min):
Again a bit less dirt flavour, a bit more sweetness.

Hmm, ok. This is my first straight pu’er (other than the one from my roommate), and I’m not sure what exactly I think. Wondering if I put enough tea in – my scale may have messed up a bit; it was a nugget plus a couple partials. Or maybe my rinse(s) weren’t done correctly. It wasn’t bad, but wasn’t particularly impressive either, in my opinion. Maybe pu’ers just aren’t for me? Either way, I’ve ordered the sampler from Verdant, as well as 1oz. of another one, so I will know soon if pu’er is my thing or not.

Reserving a rating until I’ve tried this one again.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Indigobloom

I find pu-erh can be amazing or terrible. If it has a tippy yunnan base, bleh! otherwise, I love it… Ahhh, I should have brought you a sample! DOH!!!!

Autumn Hearth

Short steeps I think are what bring for the sweet cakeyness. I did the quickest of rinses and steeped for less than 10 secs. Of course I have found that not everyone can appreciate short steeps. He thinks that anything I gongfu just tastes like brewed rocks, be it yabao, shu, oolong or green. I on the other hand find then to be sweet and mineral and in this case cakey, especially on the second and third steep. Shrug.

Ian

Are you brewing western? I did and I did two rinses at 15 seconds each and then brewed with 205 water for 3 minutes increasing each by 30 seconds. I have a 12 oz mug, if that helps. If you’re using a teaball for this one I would strongly suggest you find a different way. The nuggets have a lot of sediment in them and rinsing them is what breaks them up, but they can’t fully break and can remain clumped in the tight space of a teaball, which is probably what is preventing you from getting the cakey flavor. I would recommend brewing in another mug and then pouring the liquid into another cup via a strainer to drink. That will allow plenty of room for the leaves to unclump.

TeaBrat

I agree that your infusions might be too long. I would also try this in a gaiwan if you have it.

DaisyChubb

oo yeah, are you using the teaball? Why not try just leaving a nugget in the bottom of a mug, and pouring/straining into another cup. Might be kind of messy, but honestly it’ll be worth it for the taste.

Kittenna

Thanks for the suggestions everyone! I can’t imagine that 10 seconds would have any flavour at all though; I’m really questioning my accurate measurement of the tea. But, I do have enough to try multiple things!

I feel like I should explain something – I do actually have two infusing baskets (one from DavidsTea and another that essentially acts as a cup holding the water and leaves with a strainer in the bottom that opens up to let the tea flow through when I push a button. Bad description. Anyways, I try to use the latter for straight teas, or sometimes the former, but am now avoiding the teaball for anything but flavoured teas (or Banana Oolong, but that’s a special circumstance). So this one was essentially brewed in-mug :) However , I am now wondering if I should have broken up the nuggets before infusion – they are still very much in nuggety form in the basket. And that’s after a total of 11 minutes of infusing, plus the two rinses.

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Comments

Indigobloom

I find pu-erh can be amazing or terrible. If it has a tippy yunnan base, bleh! otherwise, I love it… Ahhh, I should have brought you a sample! DOH!!!!

Autumn Hearth

Short steeps I think are what bring for the sweet cakeyness. I did the quickest of rinses and steeped for less than 10 secs. Of course I have found that not everyone can appreciate short steeps. He thinks that anything I gongfu just tastes like brewed rocks, be it yabao, shu, oolong or green. I on the other hand find then to be sweet and mineral and in this case cakey, especially on the second and third steep. Shrug.

Ian

Are you brewing western? I did and I did two rinses at 15 seconds each and then brewed with 205 water for 3 minutes increasing each by 30 seconds. I have a 12 oz mug, if that helps. If you’re using a teaball for this one I would strongly suggest you find a different way. The nuggets have a lot of sediment in them and rinsing them is what breaks them up, but they can’t fully break and can remain clumped in the tight space of a teaball, which is probably what is preventing you from getting the cakey flavor. I would recommend brewing in another mug and then pouring the liquid into another cup via a strainer to drink. That will allow plenty of room for the leaves to unclump.

TeaBrat

I agree that your infusions might be too long. I would also try this in a gaiwan if you have it.

DaisyChubb

oo yeah, are you using the teaball? Why not try just leaving a nugget in the bottom of a mug, and pouring/straining into another cup. Might be kind of messy, but honestly it’ll be worth it for the taste.

Kittenna

Thanks for the suggestions everyone! I can’t imagine that 10 seconds would have any flavour at all though; I’m really questioning my accurate measurement of the tea. But, I do have enough to try multiple things!

I feel like I should explain something – I do actually have two infusing baskets (one from DavidsTea and another that essentially acts as a cup holding the water and leaves with a strainer in the bottom that opens up to let the tea flow through when I push a button. Bad description. Anyways, I try to use the latter for straight teas, or sometimes the former, but am now avoiding the teaball for anything but flavoured teas (or Banana Oolong, but that’s a special circumstance). So this one was essentially brewed in-mug :) However , I am now wondering if I should have broken up the nuggets before infusion – they are still very much in nuggety form in the basket. And that’s after a total of 11 minutes of infusing, plus the two rinses.

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I have always been a tea fan (primarily herbals and Japanese greens/oolongs) but in the last year or so, tea has become increasingly more appealing as not only a delicious, calming drink, but as a relatively cheap, healthy reward or treat to give myself when I deserve something. I should clarify that, however; the reward is expanding my tea cupboard, not drinking tea – I place no restrictions on myself in terms of drinking anything from my cupboard as that would defeat my many goals!

My DavidsTea addiction was born in late 2011, despite having spent nearly a year intentionally avoiding their local mall location (but apparently it was just avoiding the inevitable!). I seem to have some desire to try every tea they’ve ever had, so much of my stash is from there, although I’ve recently branched out and ordered from numerous other companies.

I like to try and drink all my teas unaltered, as one of the main reasons I’m drinking tea other than for the flavour is to be healthy and increase my water intake without adding too many calories! I’ve found that the trick in this regard is to be very careful about steeping time, as most teas are quite pleasant to drink straight as long as they haven’t been oversteeped. However, I tend to be forgetful (particularly at work) when I don’t set a timer, resulting in a few horrors (The Earl’s Garden is not so pleasant after, say, 7+ minutes of steeping).

I’m currently trying to figure out which types of teas are my favourites. Herbals are no longer at the top; oolongs have thoroughly taken over that spot, with greens a reasonably close second. My preference is for straight versions of both, but I do love a good flavoured oolong (flavoured greens are really hit or miss for me). Herbals I do love iced/cold-brewed, but I drink few routinely (Mulberry Magic from DavidsTea being a notable exception). I’m learning to like straight black teas thanks to the chocolatey, malty, delicious Laoshan Black from Verdant Tea, and malty, caramelly flavoured blacks work for me, but I’m pretty picky about anything with astringency. Lately I’ve found red rooibos to be rather medicinal, which I dislike, but green rooibos and honeybush blends are tolerable. I haven’t explored pu’erh, mate, or guayasa a great deal (although I have a few options in my cupboard).

I’ve decided to institute a rating system so my ratings will be more consistent. Following the smiley/frowny faces Steepster gives us:

100: This tea is amazing and I will go out of my way to keep it in stock.

85-99: My core collection (or a tea that would be, if I was allowing myself to restock everything!) Teas I get cravings for, and drink often.

75-84: Good but not amazing; I might keep these in stock sparingly depending on current preferences.

67-74: Not bad, I’ll happily finish what I have but probably won’t ever buy it again as there’s likely something rated more highly that I prefer.

51-66: Drinkable and maybe has some aspect that I like, but not really worth picking up again.

34-50: Not for me, but I can see why others might like it. I’ll make it through the cup and maybe experiment with the rest to get rid of it.

0-33: It’s a struggle to get through the cup, if I do at all. I will not willingly consume this one again, and will attempt to get rid of the rest of the tea if I have any left.

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