As this is a very long post indeed, here is a summary for those with short attention span.
Tea is very good. Smooth and with some smoky notes. It lasts for many steeps, and provokes rather a lot of mental images about cattle. Yes, cattle. The animals that say moo.
And the actual post:
I was sorely tempted to try to write this whole entire post in the royal We, it being Imperial and all that. But then I decided that I would find that annoying to read in a long post if someone else did it, so it would undoubtedly be equally as annoying to write. So I didn’t.
I don’t really know why I was in pu-erh mood this morning. Usually specific moods and cravings like that have something to do with what I have just seen other people post about. A famous example here is Mike and that caramel black he’s got that always makes me want to go and make mine.
But that wasn’t it this time. I had decided on being in a pu-erh mood, before I even started looking at my Dashboard page. Maybe I was dreaming about cows last night or something like that.
Anyway, I dithered a bit between my various pu-erh samples from Nothing But Tea and eventually landed on this one. The word ‘Imperial’ rather appealed to me this morning.
I did a short 15 second pre steep, and then steeped for 30 seconds in not quite boiling water.
This tea has aroma all over the place! It’s a little sweet and a little flowery. Quite summerly and very pleasant. Some of you may recall that I rather like that note in pu-erhs that reminds me of an oldfashioned cowstable. Not the milk or meat factories we have today, but a small stable with maybe five to ten cows all lined up eating hay and waiting for someone to come and milk them by hand. Maybe they’re even plotting kicking over the bucket a time or two for some brief bovine entertainment. (I have mental images of giggling cows now….)
Anyway, I like that note in a pu-erh. As is evident, it speaks to my imagination. Even when it isn’t there, because this pu-erh doesn’t have that note. Oh, the cows are there, all right. Only they’re not in the stable. Here, they’re out in the meadow, eating grass and with little calves running around them playing moo.
First sip blindsided me. Scratchy! Rough. Almost smoky. Who set fire to my cow pasture?! I mean, hey I like smoky in tea. Heck, I love smoky in tea. I just wasn’t expecting it here. As it cools down a bit, it smooths out completely and the scratchy smoky bit is gone. It’s gone all round and slightly earthy but without being dusty or mouldy. There’s even something a little flowery on the swallow there. It’s vague, but it’s there.
Second time around, 45 seconds.
The aroma is stronger. The cows are still in the pasture and there’s an earthy note. Like, maybe it just rained. I can almost see the rainbow.
Tastewise, it’s stronger here. The smoky note is more apparent in the beginning, but it still turns smooth after a while. There’s a slightly dusty note on it now and the floral swallow is gone. It’s still nicely round though, and it’s going quite well with this piece of chocolate I’m eating.
Third time around, 45 seconds.
I went for the same steep time this time instead of a full minute, because the second steep had turned so much stronger than the first on just those 15 seconds.
It’s earthier here. I think a cow just took a good roll in the dust out there on the pasture. Look at how she’s wiggling her legs! The scratchy has gone from the initial sips, it’s just plain smoothness. I suspect it’s because I didn’t increase the steeping time.
Fourth time around, 1 minute.
The cows are back in the stable. There are definite stable-notes in the aroma now, although the cows are still rather smelling of fresh air.
The scratchy flavour is back again with the longer steep. Although it still smooths out as it cools, it takes longer for it to do so. The smoky note is much more pronounced now and it doesn’t go away.
It’s odd, really. You would think that a smoky note would go away over time and steeps, not increase in intensity.
Maybe it’s a good thing I didn’t go for that royal We thing. How something called ‘Imperial’ can turn out to be so very peasant-y, I’m not really sure, but the royal We totally wouldn’t have worked in this post at all.
These are just the first four steeps and I’m posting here because this is already turning out to be a very long entry. I dare not think how long it would be if I were to continue it until the leaves had been worn out. I’ve been drinking this tea from this morning when I got up around 8 o’clock and until now where it’s about half past two. It’s the only tea I’ve had all day, and I haven’t grown bored with it yet. I’m definitely going to be getting me some more of this later on.
It’s rather an inspiring tea. I think I’ll be doing some writing now.