This is the 4th pu-erh toucha I have tried over the last two days, and the second from a sample pack I bought through Teavivre this past November, 2013.

Age of leaf: July, 2006.

Brewing guidelines:
Ceramic 4 cup teapot, no sweetener, 5 gram toucha, ~1 cup of water, 5 second wash.
……….1st: Just under boiling, 2.5’
……….2nd: Boiling. 5’

Appearance and Aroma of dry tea leaves: Right away, I could tell this tea was a very different type pu-erh than the last three I have brewed up. It was loose (as a sample, I am assuming it is broken from a larger toucha), and of a much lighter color than the last three pu-erhs; ‘spicy’ was one of the first words the came to mind. The aroma was also worlds apart: milder, lighter and clearly fresh. My initial impression of this one over the other pu-erhs: I like it better.

Aroma of tea liquor: mild but pleasant aroma.

Flavor of tea liquor: clean, light and spicy.

Overall: Generally speaking I prefer my tea to be light, natural, and fresh (that is why I mostly drink Chinese green tea). This ‘raw’ pu-erh is a refreshing change to the last three ‘cooked’ ones I had. I am now beginning to think that first two touchas I tried yesterday—the SpecialTeas one and the one from Taobao—were ‘cooked’; the color of the last three was very dark brown, almost black, and this one is orange and much lighter in color. I liked the flavor; the second steeping was a little bitter, but still enjoyable. Overall, I like this tea.

Fortuitously, I kept a little of the second steeping of the last cooked pu-erh and heated it up so as to compare it side-by-side with the flavor of the second steeping of this raw pu-erh. Its obvious now how different the two are: the cooked is fishy, heavy; the raw is spicy, light, perhaps woodsy. It’s hard to say which I prefer. I like each one for different reasons.

I’ll leave off the numeric rating until I try it with shorter steeping times and possibly in my new Yixing.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec
mrmopar

Nice uncooked is listed as sheng and cooked is shou. I would think the first ones were shou and the last one sheng. Although very old sheng will look like shou but with much more intensity. Nice notes you do better than me on that!

mrmopar

Forgot shou is also ripe and sheng is raw.

SimpliciTEA

Thanks, mrmopar!

Yeah, I’m still getting down the pu-erh terminology; my understanding is:
shou = ripe = cooked

sheng = raw

mrmopar

I think you are doing well!

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mrmopar

Nice uncooked is listed as sheng and cooked is shou. I would think the first ones were shou and the last one sheng. Although very old sheng will look like shou but with much more intensity. Nice notes you do better than me on that!

mrmopar

Forgot shou is also ripe and sheng is raw.

SimpliciTEA

Thanks, mrmopar!

Yeah, I’m still getting down the pu-erh terminology; my understanding is:
shou = ripe = cooked

sheng = raw

mrmopar

I think you are doing well!

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

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Bio

(Updated 6-3-2014)

After about three years I changed my avatar from the picture of a green teacup with steam rising (one I created using Paint) to this dragon gaiwan. This is one of my favorite gaiwans, although I haven’t brewed any tea in it as of yet.

You can call me, Joe.

What, How and Why I steep:

I typically expect, and shoot for, at least three flavorful steepings out of (just about) any tea I brew up.

I generally start at the times and temps below ( = minute(s), " = second(s) ), then add 5F and 30" for each successive steeping:
Chinese Green - 175F, 1’ ;
Japanese Green - 160F, 1’add 15F, then decrease by 15";
White - 160F, 2’;
Oolong - This varies;
Indian Black/Chinese Red and Herbals - a little off the boil, 2’; why do I start with such low temps & short steep times? So as to ‘spread out’ the flavor over multiple steepings. I have found this to work with every tea I have tried so far. Also, I am not looking for intense flavor in that first cup (i.e. Western style), I would prefer to taste it—and savor—it over many steepings.
Pu-erh - Beginning in 2014, I finally chose to dive into pu-erh! Standard parameters when I brew ripened pu-erh in my 150 ml gaiwan (I also own an 11 oz Yixing):
First I do a 15" rinse with near boiling water. Then for each successive steeping I add Stevia.
……….1st: Near boiling, 0.5’
……….2nd: Boiling , 1’
……….3rd: Boiling , 1.5’
etc. Until there is no flavor, or I ran out of time and energy.

I hope to ‘streamline’ my reviews going forward, so, hopefully, they are a little less technical and dry (and perhaps even stilted), and a little more organic and experiential (and hopefully, flowing); this somewhat new approach to reviews is a kind of metaphor for where my life is headed right now, and is one reason why I write reviews: as a kind of time-capsule of where I was in my life at that time.

Tea Rating scale:

1 – 29: There is no reason to even think about drinking this stuff again.
30-49: I may drink it if someone else brewed it up, but I would not bother brewing it up myself let alone bother buying any.
50 – 59: I like something about it, and I may brew it up if I already have some, but I would not buy any more of it.
60 – 69: I like a few things about it, and I may buy it if the price is right.
70 – 79: This is a tea I enjoy and would drink fairly regularly as long as it is reasonably priced.
80 – 89: A tea I will drink as often as I can, and will likely try to buy some when I run out (as long as it’s affordable).
90 – 99: This has everything I look for in the best of teas: beauty in appearance, a delightful aroma, and most importantly, depth and yummy-ness in its flavor.
100: Perfect.

My primary interest is in artisan loose-leaf Chinese green, red and ripe pu-erh tea, although I enjoy a white and an oolong tea every now and then as well. Here and there I brew a few of the other true teas and an occasional herbal.

Since I choose to live on a very limited income (‘Voluntary Simplicity’), I have to be very conscience about how much I pay for tea. In reading their Tea Enthusiast’s books, Mary Lou and Robert J. Heiss sold me on the wonders of artisan teas. Thankfully I have found that there is affordable, artisan tea out there; it’s just like anything else that has true value: it takes hard work, dedication and at least a little persistence to find it.

I came to tea out of a desire to find something to help calm and focus my mind as naturally as possible. My mind is very active, so to speak, and at times I find it very difficult to focus and keep myself centered. For years now I have been practicing Yoga daily along with others things to help me to stay relaxed and present, but I found I wanted a little something extra to help me start the day; the theanine in green tea seems to help me in this.

I have been enjoying loose-leaf tea since November of 2010.

I enjoy connecting with others about tea.

I drink Stevia with just about all of my tea (no sugar or artificial sweeteners).

I drink a pot of green tea every day in the AM (usually steeped three times over the course of the day), sharing it with my wife.

Each tea in my cupboard is carefully and colorfully labeled in a tin or in a jar that used to hold something else (I love to reuse things!) .

I have three teapots: a glass Bodum – I don’t use the metal infuser/press anymore (greens), a 16 oz glass Victorian (to brew greens and whites, and to use as a pot to decant other teas into), and an 11 oz Yixing (ripe Pu-erh only). (New in 2014) I also one a number of gaiwans ranging in volume from from 125 ml to 250ml.

I tend to be direct, straightforward and honest when I post anything to the discussion boards. I take the approach that everything I say is stated with the implied disclaimer: In My Humble Opinion (i.e. IMHO). I may occasionally emphasize this point, where appropriate. I view your comments in the same way. You are in no way obligated to read what I have posted. And I am in no way similarly obligated to you.

Sitting with my cup of tea I greet the day in anticipation of new discoveries along the way.

Location

Midwest, USA

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