This is a real pu-erh tea that holds nothing back.
If you are one who likes to walk into a deciduous forest in fall after a light rain and lick every surface clean, then this tea is for you. Robust, bitter, and unrelenting. It may have been because I steeped it in a gaiwan or maybe my greenhorn taste buds are not mature enough for such an aged pu-erh, but my god was this tea bitter. Bitter in the woody, leaf-pile, pine needle, stick, compost heap kind of way. I truly felt like I was walking through a forest after rainfall. It was also very dry in the back of the mouth.
I’ve drank it twice now, both times from a gaiwan. I’ve only steeped it for a total of 5 infusions each time, only because I couldn’t bring myself to drink anymore. However, there was enough strength in the tea for at least twice as many infusions, if not more.
Even though I did not enjoy the tea very much, I could tell that it was something special. Very complex in flavor with great strength, mouth-feel was OK, and it was still very calming and warm; however, definitely not for the faint at heart.
UPDATE: I’ve taken the advice from Nadacha and decreased the amount of leaf I used and steeped it this time in my yixing pot, the results? Simply fantastic.
The harsh bitterness is gone and what is left behind is a soothing, earthy, woody piece of delightful drinking. Impeccably smooth and creamy without a hint of dryness. It has a deep and complex flavor with notes of earth, wood, wet leaf, vanilla and leather. The aftertaste is full and coats the back of the mouth with a vanilla and wood-like bitter-sweetness.
Amazing what 14 years can do for a good tea!