This is my first time enjoying a Puer tea pressed into the Jin cha mushroom shape. The dry leaves sitting in a warm gongfu teapot smell like earth and muddy pasture with little hints of musty mineral like the inside of a concrete basement or a stone cave.
After a rinse, the wet leaves smell like walnuts, wood, and mineral. The warm tea liquid smells like dough. On the first infusion the onset of the flavor is woody with hints of bamboo and a sweet background. There are some mineral notes, but it isn’t as earthy tasting as I expected it might be. The mouthfeel of this tea is incredibly juicy. It makes me salivate a lot and yet it also feels very wet and mouth-coating on its own.
In the next couple infusions, the sweetness is a bit less, and a wood flavor is what comes through the most. There are hints of root vegetables like beets. I accidentally let the fourth infusion sit for a few minutes, rather than the short 20-30 second infusions I started out with, so it tasted considerably more thick, but surprisingly not overbrewed or overpowering. There are slightly bitter earthy notes of cocoa or Pacific Rim region coffee now, but the drink is still quite clean and smooth.
The next infusion was shorter again and was pretty sweet again, really clean and not musty at all. While I seem to have had the experience that most ripe Puer tastes similar, I think what is beginning to make one stand out over another in terms of quality is the texture or sweetness of them, and with this one having a really nice clean, juicy texture, and a nice sweetness to it, I think this is really good quality ripe Puer… plus it comes in the shape of a cute little mushroom. It’s hard to say no to that! My only concern is that it doesn’t store as easily as a disc shaped Puer cake does and right now I live in a really small apartment with very little shelf space for more tea, so I’m not sure if the mushroom shape is really meant for me.
Flavors: Mineral, Walnut, Wood