86
drank Maiden's Ecstasy by Samovar
186 tasting notes

I think by now that it’s official that I’m a fan of pu-erh. I find myself craving it a lot. The cooked version, at least!

takgoti sent me this, and I’ve been waiting to try this one for a while, since it’s supposed to be a really good one. I have to admit, the name really makes me giggle. It’s sounds like Victorian pornography.

But actually, the smell was a bit of a turn-off. For some reason, I was getting a bit of a smell of fishiness off my sample. Nothing strong, and the main smells were earth and super-dark sweet (think molasses), but it was kind of there.

Anyway, so I gave the super-dark-chocolate leaves a rinse with boiling water before allowing them to steep. I guess I should mention that the rinse water, upon dumping, already smelled pretty pu-erh delicious!

I love steeping pu-erh, just because its color is so dramatic. On the pour, it’s such a brown-black, practically opaque brew. Thankfully, the smell coming off the wet leaves and the cup was nothing fishy. Instead, there’s a deep earth smell, a fairly smoky smell (more gunpowder smoke than lapsang? It doesn’t really have a savory quality…), and a hard-to-detect sweetness. It’s very akin to other pu-erhs I’ve tasted.

The taste here is a lot smoother and light and refined than I was expecting! The only other plain pu-erh I’ve had is Golden Moon’s, which has a bit more body and intense flavor. Then again, it could be because of my lower steep time for this puppy. There’s a really nice earthy edge, mixed with a sort of smokey goodness. Pu-erh doesn’t really taste like dirt to me. It’s more soil-like. That smell of fresh-tilled soil in the sun. This develops into a subtle sweet note. It’s not overbearing or cloying or false. Maybe a bit raisin-like? It’s almost fruity. But a dark fruit. A fruit that I don’t think exists. The aftertaste is very autumnal. Wet leaves on a rainy day.

From the wet leaves, and sometimes from the taste, I’m getting this almost bake-y quality. I’m picturing something like a molasses bread. Even though I’m not quite sure if that even exists. I’m only getting it on a few sips, but when it happens, it’s unusual enough to take note. The complexity of this beastie is pretty amazing.

I’m hoping that subsequent steeps of this one are great, because so far so good!

So, the Second Steep (4:00, boiling) was a bit thinner than the first, but a lot of the earthy and smoky complexities were still present. Still very nice, indeed. The infusion was a bit lighter than the first, but it had the smell of a typical pu-erh. Which I take to be a good sign, since once the liquid doesn’t smell like it’s supposed to anymore, then it’s done.

The Third Steep (4:00, boiling) is even lighter than the second. We’re approaching something that looks more akin to black tea than to coffee! The smell is still soil-rich, but now the taste has evolved significantly. The smoke and earth elements have taken a back seat to the sweetness, which has evolved into a raisin taste, perhaps dusted with a bit of brown sugar. I can’t get out of this molasses theme. Let’s see how long this baby can go on! I should note that this might be the best resteep I’ve had thus far in my tea adventures.

It’s time for the Fourth Steep! (5:00, boiling) My wet leaves smelled a bit sweeter now, and but the infusion still smells like good-old pu-erh. The color of it is definitely akin to a black tea although something about the under-tint is off. A little purple, maybe? Whatever. Anyway, the taste on the first sip was kind of… WEIRD. Like charcoal, followed by intense sweetness. Serious sweetness. Sweet like white tea or green tea sweet. Well, actually it’s a bit muskier than that, but it’s lingering on my tongue in a similar way.

Now, here’s where it gets really weird. As it cooled, it started to have this kind of rotten taste to it. Really, really off-putting and very off. Like ripe garbage. Or like really, really over-ripe and blackened fruit. Not cool. Really, really gross, actually. Not cool at ALL. So I had to dump the cup, and I’m dumping the leaves as well. I also can’t get the sweet flavor out of my mouth. Maybe the leaves picked up a smell or something? Or a taste? But it’s seriously one disgusting flavor.

Yeah, no. Dumping the leaves. But at least the first three infusions were pretty good!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
Cofftea

I have yet to try anything from Samovar.:( I’m not a fan of cooked pu erh, but I’m definitely giving this one a shot.

Laura

This sounds like a very interesting taste experience. You’ve motivated me to try my pu’erh again tonight!

Auggy

I think Soil-like (instead of dirt-like) is the perfect way to describe this. Makes total sense!

teaplz

Cofftea, Samovar is pretty much amazing, and I haven’t tried raw pu-erh, so I can’t really make the distinction.

Laura, I hope it goes better for you! I think pu-erh can be an acquired taste, definitely. I tend to really like earthy things (mushrooms are one of my favorite foods, ever), so it clicks with me. I definitely want to see what happens when you have it later!

Auggy, soil sounds so much more refined, you know? :D

takgoti

Whee! How many steeps deep did you go?

teaplz

Just finished the second steep, and while it was a bit more delicate than the first, a lot of the flavors were still there! :D I think I’m going to keep going. How far have you gone?

takgoti

Twelve. Seriously. Might have been able to go longer, being honest, but I wanted something different after twelve and I was having to let it sit for longer than I was patient. I pretty much drank it all day.

sophistre

I seem to recall reading that this one is a good introduction to pu-erh (at least I think it was this one, and since I’m pre-matcha and just woken up at this point I think I’m going to be too lazy to double-check). I’ve got another Samovar order brewing, so maybe this would be a good addition.

teaplz

Hot damn. Twelve?! Wooooow. I’m drinking infusion 3 right now and it tastes like raisins. Maybe with a bit of brown sugar. Mmm. This one is sustaining very nicely.

And sophistre, I think I read that somewhere too? I think it’d be a good one to start with, since I find it a bit lighter in taste than some other pu-erh. The complexity is there, but it tastes a bit accessible. I really liked Golden Moon’s as well, which I think was a bit stronger than this.

teaplz

WHAT THE HELL. Fourth steep was gross. Seriously. Ugh and ew.

takgoti

@sophistre Yes, I’d call it a good starter pu-erh for sure.

@teaplz Curious. How’d you steep it?

takgoti

@teaplz Scratch that, I just saw that you updated the log. Going to read.

takgoti

Huh. I can’t say I’ve ever had that happen to me, but YIKES for you. That sounds unpleasant. I hope you found something else to get the taste out of your mouth!

Raffi

Ditto, I’ve never gotten to the point where it smelt that bad. For me it just got thinner and thinner until I just wanted a change or it was the end of the day anyway. Odd.

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Cofftea

I have yet to try anything from Samovar.:( I’m not a fan of cooked pu erh, but I’m definitely giving this one a shot.

Laura

This sounds like a very interesting taste experience. You’ve motivated me to try my pu’erh again tonight!

Auggy

I think Soil-like (instead of dirt-like) is the perfect way to describe this. Makes total sense!

teaplz

Cofftea, Samovar is pretty much amazing, and I haven’t tried raw pu-erh, so I can’t really make the distinction.

Laura, I hope it goes better for you! I think pu-erh can be an acquired taste, definitely. I tend to really like earthy things (mushrooms are one of my favorite foods, ever), so it clicks with me. I definitely want to see what happens when you have it later!

Auggy, soil sounds so much more refined, you know? :D

takgoti

Whee! How many steeps deep did you go?

teaplz

Just finished the second steep, and while it was a bit more delicate than the first, a lot of the flavors were still there! :D I think I’m going to keep going. How far have you gone?

takgoti

Twelve. Seriously. Might have been able to go longer, being honest, but I wanted something different after twelve and I was having to let it sit for longer than I was patient. I pretty much drank it all day.

sophistre

I seem to recall reading that this one is a good introduction to pu-erh (at least I think it was this one, and since I’m pre-matcha and just woken up at this point I think I’m going to be too lazy to double-check). I’ve got another Samovar order brewing, so maybe this would be a good addition.

teaplz

Hot damn. Twelve?! Wooooow. I’m drinking infusion 3 right now and it tastes like raisins. Maybe with a bit of brown sugar. Mmm. This one is sustaining very nicely.

And sophistre, I think I read that somewhere too? I think it’d be a good one to start with, since I find it a bit lighter in taste than some other pu-erh. The complexity is there, but it tastes a bit accessible. I really liked Golden Moon’s as well, which I think was a bit stronger than this.

teaplz

WHAT THE HELL. Fourth steep was gross. Seriously. Ugh and ew.

takgoti

@sophistre Yes, I’d call it a good starter pu-erh for sure.

@teaplz Curious. How’d you steep it?

takgoti

@teaplz Scratch that, I just saw that you updated the log. Going to read.

takgoti

Huh. I can’t say I’ve ever had that happen to me, but YIKES for you. That sounds unpleasant. I hope you found something else to get the taste out of your mouth!

Raffi

Ditto, I’ve never gotten to the point where it smelt that bad. For me it just got thinner and thinner until I just wanted a change or it was the end of the day anyway. Odd.

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22-year-old NYC girl just starting out on her tea adventures! I used to hate tea. If you asked me a few years ago what I thought of tea, I’d tell you it tasted like hot, dirty dishwater. Not anymore! I acquired a taste for tea when I started drinking peppermint tea for my upset stomach problems. From there I graduated to teas like chamomile and Lipton. But Lipton wasn’t strong enough!

I’m getting the hang of this loose leaf thing. Black’s my default, but I’ve found that I really love teas that fall into every category. I’m a purist – I always drink my tea neat. I prefer unflavored tea over flavored tea, and really dislike anything flavored with artificial-tasting substances. I’ve grown up a bit in my tea drinking, and I find that novelty appeals to me less and less.

I also am the happy girlfriend of the boy that created the tea randomizer, which can be found here: http://www.jaydeee.net/pickatea.php

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New York City

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