1st smell out of the package: smokey. I have to admit that smell made me nervous given my reaction to the Lapsang Souchong. (Which I have not tried the 2nd steeping idea yet.)
Wet smell: Earthy. Slightly leathery aroma, (Which I’ve been told is a good thing with Pu-erh.)
1st taste without sugar: (Yes the 1st taste was with the 1st steeping. GAG. lol) So I pitched it and started boiling water for the 2nd steeping. I steeped it for 1 minute and roughly 30 seconds. Automatically added 4 packets of Apriva sweetener, (Kroger brand of Splenda.) It worked.
I taste an almost creaminess to the tea, I can see how others have gotten a caramel-ish taste in it. I am not wowed at all in this tea, however not about to judge all pu erh by it. I plan on trying out some other ones, (though not willing to yet try the ones with other flavors mixed in, like from Teavana’s)
I would not refuse a cup of this if offered from a friend, though. And now that I finished my cup, I feel mixed, because even though it didn’t wow me, I liked drinking it. How weird is that?! Maybe my palate is changing. That would be great, because I really would love to enjoy traditional teas, though I do not want to give up on my crazy love for flavored tea combos from stores such as Teavana….I don’t think my budget could afford that anyways. Heh.