This is my first straight pu’erh! A big thank you to David Duckler for including this in my last order, haha definitely a hint that I need to try pu’erh!
So this tea, I didn’t know exactly the best way to steep it. I read through Verdant’s site and the reviews on steepster, and decided to go with Bonnie’s parameters as I was worried it would end up pretty strong after a 2 min steep.
So I rinsed with boiling water for 30 seconds, then steeped for 40 seconds. I can see why the smell can be off-putting to some people, I found it actually not bad! Reminds me of Port Alberni, with the slightly fishy scent and a hint of musty woods.
Ehhh, I’m not sure about the taste yet though. I think I may have done something not quite right with the steeping, maybe my leaf ratio or something. The water may have been a bit too hot too? I get the caramel taste and saltiness in there, but mostly near the end of the taste. The initial taste is a bit musty and hard to describe, not quite what I was expecting, but this is my first pu’erh, so I’m assuming this is a normal thing, or I may have done something weird? Haha, it’s not unpleasant, but I have no idea how to rate until I try a few more steepings and maybe play with the leaf ratio and steep times a little bit, although I think this was a good steep time rather than the 2 mins to begin with, it’s definitely not too strong :)
Overall, very interesting, this tea intrigues me. I want to experiment and be able to distinguish a few more flavors. I just need to extract that caramel aftertaste a wee bit more, and this will be rockin’. It’s probably more my untrained palate that’s messing with this tea. I’m very happy I got the nerve to try it though, and will re-steep this afternoon and keep you posted on further developments. No rating for now, as I am new to this type of tea and don’t know what to rate it.
ETA: I tried adding a little wee dab of sugar to the latter half of my cup, this made the caramel more pronounced and definitely brought out the sweetness of the tea. Not sure which I prefer though, I think it was more interesting without sugar!
ETA again: Second steeping (also at 40 s) is a lot better, in my opinion. More smooth and mellow, and a bit more of the caramel flavors poking through. Maybe next time I will try 2 rinses just to see what that does for the flavor. Also, I am feeling quite excellent drinking this tea. It is calming me, maybe grounding is the word. I am pleased with this tea and am excited to explore further into the world of pu’erh.