I’m starting to think that I need to start using two numbers to rate pu-erh tea. The first would be the flavor rating that I use for all other teas, and the second would be the psycho-active rating, or cha qi.
This tea is a great example. I don’t really like the taste, which is still pretty bitter at the 6th steep. However, halfway through this 6th cup (first cup this morning) I have this relaxing “buzz” going on that is probably what people talk about as “tea drunk”. I’m not going to provide a rating on steepster (or seriously propose a two-point system) but my internal rating system for pu-erh become based upon a combination of flavor with qi, but it would be better to use two numbers. This is not the only tea that I enjoyed for qi but didn’t care for in flavor. Of course, a few special teas have both.
So, on to this tea: It starts with a grassy flavor, which is my preference in a green-style tea, but with a little more veggie than I like to see. Very soon into a sip, a very powerful bitterness starts to build and it dominates the taste to the point where very little else is noticeable. I steeped at 185, which I would think would produce less bitterness than at boiling, or my ususal black tea temperature of 200. I’ll try at 175 degrees next time just to see if that makes a difference.