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Pu-erh Tea
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Edit tea info Last updated by Jason
Average preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec 8 oz / 236 ml

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25 Tasting Notes View all

  • “Golden Moon sample No. 22 of 31. Fate determined Friday would be pu-erh day! The package says it contains aged Chinese tea from the last century. Which sounds really special and exotic until...” Read full tasting note
    89
    __Morgana__ 953 tasting notes
  • “Very dark amber in the cup. With most teas, the bottom of the cup can be seen - not with this, it is very nearly opaque. This tea tastes exactly as most people describe, strong and earthy. This is...” Read full tasting note
    81
    leafboxtea 17 tasting notes
  • “Having only put a small dent in my Golden Moon Tea sampler, I figured it was time to really get to work on here. I must confess, that though I will try anything and usually do not have any...” Read full tasting note
    88
    cinoi1551 243 tasting notes
  • “I like this tea. I am going to start with the... Cons: A bit watery and not as earthy and rich as I would like. Pros: Still has a great earthy flavor, a mellow sweetness, fabulous lingering...” Read full tasting note
    88
    RachanaC 431 tasting notes

From Golden Moon Tea

The most widely celebrated tea in Asia, this mysterious loose leaf tea is aged in secret caves for several years where it takes on a sweet, earthy aroma. Its health benefits to you are immeasurable.

About Golden Moon Tea View company

Golden Moon is dedicated to offering outstanding, whole-leaf teas of the greatest quality and finesse. All Golden Moon Teas are hand-plucked and meticulously crafted to enhance leaf character, aroma, color, clarity, body, complexity, and above all, flavor.

25 Tasting Notes

89
953 tasting notes

Golden Moon sample No. 22 of 31. Fate determined Friday would be pu-erh day!

The package says it contains aged Chinese tea from the last century. Which sounds really special and exotic until you consider the last century only ended about 10 years ago. ;-P Still, 10 years is probably older than most tea I’ve tried except for the Celestial Seasonings mystery tea bags I found in the back of the pantry from years and years ago. So this should be interesting.

This is my first non-Samovar loose pu-erh, and I now know that all pu-erh leaves are not tiny and cute. These are fairly big, and chunky. They look like fragments of brown tree bark. They have a mellow, chocolate earth smell.

The tea’s aroma is really yummy, though it doesn’t have the smell I associated with pu- erhs. There’s not even a small amount of leather in this one. It smells sweet and (to me anyway) chocolatey. Like the middle-to-high chocolate notes in fresh baked brownies (just not the dark fudgy ones). The color is medium to dark brown, not as dark as the Palace Pu-erh, not as light as most black teas.

Wow, very tasty. Interestingly, it’s not like the other pu-erhs I’ve had. I really don’t get a lot of earthiness. It’s more like a very dense and flavorful black tea, smooth, sweet, some malt, and a character that verges on chewy and biscuity. Its not so much a taste as it is a connection, but I feel a strong cocoa association, maybe a little of the mocha-java as well.

I’m liking this one quite a bit. Some day when my experience has increased sufficiently I’ll have to get more scientific about my pu erh ratings. For now, I’m giving this a mark commensurate with my enjoyment from this tasting.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
malomorgen

i just ordered those samples today :D

__Morgana__

Great, you’re going to have so much fun with them! I’ll be sad when mine are gone.

Jim Marks

It sounds like it might be a sheng instead of a shou.

__Morgana__

Could be. Doesn’t identify itself.

Rabs

Still, 10 years is probably older than most tea I’ve tried except for the Celestial Seasonings mystery tea bags I found in the back of the pantry from years and years ago.

ROFL!!!!!

__Morgana__

@Rabs, hahaha, true story. Plus I found the nursing tea I got when I had my first baby in 2004, which wasn’t all that delicious to begin with. Out it went. BTW, big shoutout to Pam Caldwell and Herblore if you ever find yourself needing help to lactate enough to keep up with demand! Fenugreek FTW!

Ricky

Pu-erh friday! I haven’t done that in a while. I still have a few pu-erh samplers from Bana Tea Company left to finish.

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81
17 tasting notes

Very dark amber in the cup. With most teas, the bottom of the cup can be seen – not with this, it is very nearly opaque. This tea tastes exactly as most people describe, strong and earthy. This is a tea that one generally has to get used to – it will be an acquired taste for most people.

The “earthy” taste – some people just call it strange – comes from a unique ingredient that appears during the curing: fungus, bacteria, or mold. Anyone who has ever scraped out the deep blue veins from a strong Danish cheese and licked the mold off the knife is going to recognize the source of the “earthy” taste in Pu-erh immediately.

Extremely old (40-50+ years) Pu-erhs are known to have visible strands of blue mold. Even on younger Pu-erhs, the mold is still present, just not visible. It is that fungal growth that gives it the unique taste.

The age of a Pu-erh is important when thinking about the tea, Golden moon does state what year it may be from but they describe the ingredients in the tea as: Aged Chinese Tea from the Last Century. Pretty vague, but given the price, the tea probably a recent vintage from the last 2-3 years.

We brewed this for 2 minutes, 30 seconds using boiling water.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec
Carolyn

Thank you so much for the information on Pu-erhs! It’s invaluable to me since I’m trying to feel my way around them.

Micah

That’s very interesting that the flavor is caused by mold. I suppose that’s why pu-erh ages like it does, right? The only pu-erh I’ve had are the tuochas from Tea Source so I’m excited to try the sample of this that I ordered.

Pamela Dean

If it’s from the Last Century, wouldn’t that mean it’s at least 10 yrs old?

How many infusions did you try?

Leafbox Tea

There was no way of knowing how old it was. Given the price of the tea and what we’ve seen of Puerhs from other vendors this is probably from the last several years and not anything ancient. Even 10+ year old Puerh would be more expensive than this giving us the idea that it is much younger.

We did three infusions and each one was full of flavor. Puerh is reported to be good for about 5-6 depending on the tea. The third infusion we did was smooth and mild but still had plenty of that unique Puerh taste.

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88
243 tasting notes

Having only put a small dent in my Golden Moon Tea sampler, I figured it was time to really get to work on here. I must confess, that though I will try anything and usually do not have any trepidations about anything, I was a little nervous trying this. You should be happy to know, that my concern was unfounded!

The leaves smell sweet yet earthy. I brewed it hot, with no additives. The aroma of the brew smells fantastic: earthy and woodsy and like early spring when you are getting all sorts of fresh nature smells that you haven’t smelled in a long while because of winter. I’m rambling, but the scent is so difficult to describe. The taste somehow combines all of these different fragrant notes into a flavor: it is earthy with a little smoke and a little sweet.

Overall, this tea played to the senses, fantastic aroma both brewed and dry and delicious flavor.

Preparation
3 min, 0 sec
Cofftea

I’m still amazed by steeping times in this range. I’m so scarred from my 1st pu erh experience seeing steeping times like this actually make me shudder. It’s funny how reading something can trigger a physical reaction. I had the same trepidations w/ retrying pu erh. While our preparations are vastly different, I’m glad you had success as I did!=D

Cinoi

Yay! Thanks! I think it’s probably because it wasn’t one of the cakes of tea compacted with things I don’t want to think about. I think because GM sells it loose and already cleaned, if you will, that you can steep it for that long.

Cofftea

My 1st experience was loose as well. Steeping that long brings back memories from my aunt’s farm. I just can’t handle that so I prefer shorter steeps.

Cinoi

Ah, I know what you mean, I’m sorry you had a bad one, which one was it (?) so I know to stay away!

Cofftea

It was Adagio’s Pu erh Dante, but steeped using Carolyn’s preparation instructions it was actually VERY good- I’ll never go back to steeping it like a black tea again:)

Cinoi

hmm, i considered picking it up after i enjoyed the chocolate pu-erh so much, but when i realized it was in this GM sample, i decided to try it and see if i liked it first, so they’re not all great apparently

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88
431 tasting notes

I like this tea. I am going to start with the…
Cons: A bit watery and not as earthy and rich as I would like.
Pros: Still has a great earthy flavor, a mellow sweetness, fabulous lingering taste after swallowing.

I am pretty sure I will buy this one and next time steep it longer. I know they said 2-3 mins but I think 3:30 will work for me.

Overall: Great tea and worth a try!

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec
Cofftea

Watery? The shu’s I’ve had have been so thick I could feel it lol:) But then again I do a high tea/water ratio (1:1).

RachanaC (Rachel)-iHeartTeas

Now thats one serious ratio LOL :)

Cofftea

BUT… I also do a quick rinse (15 sec) and short (20 sec) steeps. I was terrified that between the rinsing and short steeps I’d get a watery cup inspite of the large ratio, but I was definitely wrong.

RachanaC (Rachel)-iHeartTeas

Ahh well that makes sense but I think I may get nervous doing that. My luck I’ll do something wrong.

Cofftea

Actually I like making pu erh when I’m getting bogged down w/ life’s crap. Having to focus on a tea like pu erh requires makes me forget all the other issues in my life.

RachanaC (Rachel)-iHeartTeas

I will try that out sometime. I can always use a new technique on stress relief.

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72
382 tasting notes

Golden Moon Sampler Tea #19:
This was actually my breakfast tea, but I didn’t have time to log it until now. Let me tell you about my day. Taught two discussion sections and was hard-pressed to say who won the “most people who didn’t read” award. Then I got to drive two hours to LA! Then I got to stare at microfiche/film for four hours. Then I got to drive back! In rush hour traffic! GOOD TIMES.
After a day like that, maybe you would say, you need some damn good tea. To which I would reply, after a day like that I need beer. Or possibly something stronger. The day I figure out a way to mix tea and alcohol without getting something absolutely horrific, I will probably give up beer (note: this is a total lie, beer is awesome). But that day is not today.
On a somewhat related note. Although I love beer and I love tea, I am much less willing to try new beers than I am to try new teas. Why is that I wonder?

Getting back on topic, Pu-erh! It was largely a mystery to me until my first Adagio black tea sampler a year ago. Adagio’s Pu-erh Poe, I have recently begun to suspect, however, is not really a good example of it’s breed. Or perhaps Golden Moon just really likes Pu-erh that has the funkyness factor turned up a notch. That said, the smell was actually not that weird, but as soon as I tried some, I was like GAH MUSHROOMS.

Then I took a step back. I said to myself, wait a minute, Ewa, don’t you like mushrooms? To which I replied (yes, I realize that it is only ok to talk to yourself if you don’t answer, but I’m afraid I crossed that line a while ago), well yes, but, you know, on pizza! And in pasta sauce! not in TEA. Well, I answered, why not? Isn’t there tomato flavored tea? There was a tasting note of it earlier this week! AND. There is a sweet Chinese dessert that uses fungus. Well ok, but if you recall, I rebutted, I don’t actually like that dessert…

This continued on for some time, but the end verdict ran. Ok fine, it is only the fact that I am unused to mushroom in my tea that makes me go gah, the taste itself is actually kind of neat. It certainly has more character than it’s Adagio counterpart. But I maintain that Pu-erh chai is just weird.

This moral of this story is: writing tealogs while exhausted and mildly inebriated is just not a good idea.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
SoccerMom

This tasting note was a fun read!

__Morgana__

Lol Ewa, you crack me up. Drink hearty, mate… there will come a time in your late 30s when beer will no longer be your friend. Gives me a splitting headache now after even a single one. If it didn’t, I’d probably get a beer of the month club membership to offset my tea of the month club memberships. For every caffeine boost there should be an equal and opposite alcoholic downer, but alas, I mostly stay up way too late instead. ;-)

Ewa

Man, beer is already not really my friend. My actual theory regarding the whole “not being willing to try new beers thing” is that it has too much in the way of calories for me to risk getting something untasty. Oh beer, you are so tasty! Yet you make me so fat ;_;

__Morgana__

That’s why I switched to wine, much more predictable calorie wise and doesn’t give me a headache unless I drink way too much of it, in which case I’ll be barfing anyway so the headache is the least of my worries. ;-)

Ewa

Wine also prevents heart disease! If it’s red.

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88
186 tasting notes

DUN DUN DUN….

Pu-erh. The dreaded tea with the reputation that would make you want to run for the hills. Fishy tastes and smells. Bird feathers/droppings, nail clippings. Earth and dirt.

Needless to say, I was terrified to try this one. But I mustered up the courage and cut open that packet from GM. Then I hesitantly, very carefully, took a little sniff. You know what? This doesn’t smell bad at all! I thought to myself. It’s very earthy and rich and deep, with an almost bake-y smell. It’s very difficult to describe. The overall smell is similar to a black tea, but it smelled… aged. In a good way. Like an old, leather-bound book. Friendly, almost.

So I began to feel a bit more confident about the cup that awaited me. The leaves don’t do all that much in the pot, and they’re pretty plain looking, but a bit thicker-looking than most blacks (and they are jet black with some brown intertwined). The cup that this steeps up to be is DARK. A deep, deep amber, that you can only see as transparent if you stick it in direct sunlight. Otherwise, it looks like your spoon as disappeared into the black lagoon.

With lots of trepidation, I look the sip, and I was shocked at how inoffensive this was! Then I took another sip, and I thought, mmmmm. Boy is this tea complex. Infinitely smooth, with no astringency, and ridiculously sippable. Now onto the taste, which is so layered, I’m loving it. There’s a taste of earthiness. But we’re talking about more of a savory earthiness, like you’d get from mushrooms. Not dirt outside your house. There’s a level of smokiness. In fact, it’s the smokiness that I thought lapsang souchong was going to taste like. And then, the aftertaste… it’s earthy and deliciously sweet. I mean, as sweet as a green tea tastes on the aftertaste. I was thoroughly shocked at that flavor coming through. It almost has a thick mouthfeel, but is still so smooth and wonderful. I’m still boggled at that sweet component, because it is downright addictive. It’s savory and amazing. Ricky, the resident pu-erh king, really liked this cup as well.

If you’re really afraid of pu-erh, I suggest trying this one. It has its own unique flavor, but really isn’t that frightening. No fish components, and it’s loose, so you don’t have to worry about picking foreign objects out of the cake! Yay! I’m still marveling at the depth of flavors and wonderful savory elements. And that sweetness! MMMMM.

Second Steep
It’s a bit sweeter this time around, with less nuances and complexity. It’s probably the best second steep I’ve had of any tea, ever, but it still pales in comparison to the glorious first time around. I also find myself tiring of a tea and its flavors after one cup. Maybe multiple steeping and I aren’t made to be friends.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec
Suzi

Hahahaa! Hooray for taking the plunge! D: It’ll take me quite a while to work up the bravery to tackle pu-erh again, though!

teaplz

I just read your review of your pu-erh experience, and that sounds AWFUL! I’m so, so sorry that you encountered the fishy pu-erh, because if that had happened to me, I’d have never tried it again. If I had more than another cup of this, I’d definitely send it your way for tasting!

Ricky

Glad you like it :D

Hyrulehippie

whoa. I think it’s about time I got acquainted with your new friend.

Somehow I thought you could ONLY use gong-fu style brewing with pu-erh, so I was too scared to try up until now.

I’ve been meaning to try golden moon anyway…>__<

teaplz

Why am I craving this now!? :(

Hyrulehippie, I just followed the GM package. And if you’re going to order from them, get the sampler! Their entire catalog for $20. :)

Erynn

I love a good pu-ehr, from the earthy, damp cave scent to the deep, dark flavor. Bad pu-ehrs are bad, but good ones are fantastic.

And hey, Hyrulehippie — I learned to drink tea gong-fu style with Taiwanese oolongs from the friendly and wonderful Shiuwen Tai at Floating Leaves teahouse in Seattle. Oolongs done in a gaiwan are really fantastic.

takgoti

So glad your first pu-erh experience was a pleasant one! It’s funny that you said that about multiple steepings – totally makes sense when considered with your need for variety. I’m more of a find it, like it, drink lots of it until while interspersing it with different teas until I find something better gal.

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40
911 tasting notes

Three minutes seems short, but it says 2 – 3 so I’m gonna give it a shot.

The dry leaves smell lovely. Earthy and smooth and a little sweet. No fish to be found so fingers crossed.

My first thought upon smelling the wet leaf was ‘seaweed’. But not exactly. Kind of like… dirt-covered, boiled wakame. The tea itself smells sweet but there is an undertone of… not quite fish but something oceanic or seafood-ish in it. But the dominant smell hits me as dried sweet hay that has been rained on. This reminds me of the fish pu-erh so I’m nervous.

The taste is better than ROT’s. No sweet smoked fish. There are similarities though. But not in the bad tastes, only in the good. This one does have a weird aftertaste, though. Not weird, just… not expected. There’s actually a little bit of dryness that kicks in within the sweet hay flavor at the tail end of the swallow.

I’m not 100% sold on this one. I definitely like it more than ROT’s but it doesn’t come together quite as happily for me as Samovar’s Maiden’s Ecstasy.

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

If Maiden’s Ecstasy is better than this, than I can’t wait to try it, cause I thought this was pretty damn good!

Auggy

I think there are a lot of similar tastes going on with the two teas and that ME just… melds better. For me, at least. I’m looking forward to trying the Palace Pu-erh since that’s supposed to even been better than ME!

takgoti

I’m really excited for you to try Palace. Carolyn’s earlier post inspired me to brew up a pot on which I am about to imbibe, because I got in my head that I am going to beat Lost Odyssey tonight.

teaplz

I actually think that once the boyfriend gets here I’m going to try some of the terrifying, unknown Dragonhell. That way I can get it out of the way and drink nommy things for the rest of the week/year/ever.

takgoti

Not all Dragonwell is bad! Maybe you’ll like it!

Ricky

Dragonwell was interesting, it’s salty!

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63
357 tasting notes

I decided to bite the bullet and try my second-ever pu-erh after having such a negative first experience. I read the little blurb on the sample packet and immediately my imagination took off for the whole duration of the steep. It’s “aged in secret caves?” Visions of the opening scene from Indiana Jones & the Raiders of the Lost Ark played in my mind. But this time the handsome adventurer is trying to steal a bag of this tea instead of an idol. And then my mind shifted gears and I thought of Batman sipping a cup of this tea. Yeah. I have issues.

Back to reality!

The packet smelled kinda musky/earthy. When I was adding the hot water I got an unexpected whiff of french fries. No, not fries, but of the hot oil used. Like when my brother used to work at a fast food chain in high school he’d come home with that greasy smell – that’s the smell I’m talking about. I put the teapot’s lid on and said a little prayer for my palate.

The aroma from the cup was like a barnyard after a light rain. Still not the greatest fragrance, but eons better than the Adagio sample I had that was “dirty fishtank.” It’s the taste that sort of took me aback. It’s so different than what I was expecting. Still not my favorite, but it was much more interesting to me. I spent the first half of the cup just totally absorbed in trying to figure out how to put this taste into words. Like licking a cave’s wall? Making some black tea out of water dripping from a stalactite? Licking a shag carpeting from the ’70s? And where on earth was that sweetness coming from?

Halfway through the cup I sort of got distracted by other things and so came back to it where it’s almost completely cooled off. This is where it really gets weird for me. I have trouble drinking Bigelow’s Constant Comment because it reminds me of my maternal grandmother who passed away when I was a young girl. My mom assures me that she drank it even though I can’t recall her drinking any tea, but in my mind that tea is part of my grandmother. This tea reminds me of my maternal grandfather. He lived much longer and never drank tea. But my lord. I’m drinking this and it’s rather unsettling. This tea is part of my grandfather. I can’t explain it further than that.

I’m actually looking forward to trying a second steep. I never thought that I’d say that about a pu-erh. I will edit to add something if I feel that it affects my initial note. I really don’t know if I’ll purchase this tea. I have a newfound curiosity regarding pu-erhs as a result of it so it gets a surprising NE from me.

ETA: Second steep was more earthy and less…mineraly than the first. I just added a minute to the steep. I’ll probably sample some more pu-erhs, but this one is a possible future purchase.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 0 sec
Stephanie

Lol! @ your Batman and Indiana Jones references. :)

S

I loved this note :)

Rabs

Aw, thank you! It was a rather odd note to type. I mean, I had all the silly Batman and Indiana Jones experience that was easy to type and as I typed I was able to figure out that “fast food” smell. But the whole grandpa thing took me by surprise since I was typing and pausing to drink my last few sips when it hit me like a wall. That last part took me a good five minutes to type and re-type until I felt it was somewhat coherent. I mean – I could’ve left it at “this tea is my dead grandpa!” but I thought y’all deserved an explanation beyond that ;)

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83
117 tasting notes

Oh, so this is pu-erh. I just realised that I haven’t had it before, and that I probably should’ve tried this before drinking Golden Moon’s Pu-erh Chai1. After tasting this, I have a much better understanding of all the different flavours swirling around in that pu-erh chai.

I didn’t know what to expect here, but the packet says “earthy.” From the dry leaves what I got is a fragrance that I’d describe as more fruity than earthy. The tea itself is a different story: I definitely got earthy from the first whiff, but upon exhaling and inhaling again, my first thought was, “sandalwood.” Sandalwood! I am mad about sandalwood. I have incense. I have soap. I have talcum powder. And I’m very, very picky about my sandalwood, too, much like I am about my rose2. And what I got from this tea was the hint of some really lovely sandalwood.

These earthy, incense-y, sandalwood-y, very slightly smoky traits all carried over from the fragrance to the flavour, and the end result is really nice. If this is what pu-erh is usually like, I’m a fan. I quite like its flavour and find it second only to rooibos (my favourite since I first tried it in 2009).

1 http://steepster.com/bleepnik/posts/128501

2 http://steepster.com/bleepnik/posts/128096

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
Azzrian

Mmmm Sandalwood! I have my eye on a sandalwood tea table SIGH its so expensive.

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87
1592 tasting notes

In general, I’m afraid of Pu-erh. I have tried it a few times in the past, and I still own one, but I rarely drink it. When I randomly grabbed one from my sample box, I ended up with pu-erh. Hesitantly, I opened it and put the leaves into the gaiwan. The scent was familiar and earthy but light.

Upon steeping, it brewed a medium-dark red brown. It smells familiar too. The taste was unexpected. It was light and smooth; sweet and malty; earthy but not overwhelmingly so. CHOCOLATE. WOW. I was pleasantly surprised. I steeped this again and again, and it still held up. The brew became lighter and sweeter.

Very good tea :) I got to enjoy my favorite little fish tea cups with them too!

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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