Dry, this smells amazing. I am thinking of the horse barn at the exhibition but in a GOOD WAY. Sweet clean hay, damp wood, hard working animals and minimal stink. This is contrasting with the cow barn which always smelled much more of excrement. Blech. I have come to really enjoy the smell and taste of hay and damp wood in my teas, and trying to get into puerh seems like the logical next step for me and my tea journay. Black teas and roasty oolongs still make me a happy panda but puerh might offer me just a little bit more.
Because I am a puerh noob I have used a bit less leaf than I probably should have, but that’s okay. Coupled with 95 degree water, I am ready to dip my toes in. I am using my smallish gaiwan and very small double walled cups. I have also broken out my tea feet (tea pet) to get their tea on too.
First steep at 30 seconds. Because of my conservative leaf and temp, I figure I can up the ante on time. I am tasting this one, though I know typically the first steep is a rinse. Not much about this is typical though. The smell is strong and smoky, like tanned hide or salted meat. Smoked wood, tobacco. I am developing an appreciation for a smoky note so this is actually enticing. The flavour is sweeter than the smoke note led me to believe, and taste more like the initial smell – sweet hay, damp hide and a hint of salt. Perfectly drinkable though not my ideal cuppa. Much more earthy than sweet though.
Second steep at 45 seconds yields the same aroma of smoke and salt. The taste is much sweeter though, more sweet hay, less earth. Much nicer, though it tastes a bit light. This is very sippable, the contrast of the taste and the aroma is very interesting. The smoke really develops as the tea cools.
Third steep at 1 minutes results in a brew much like the second, only amplified. I am getting some floral tastes now. I didn’t get any fruit or spices before now but I hardly know what I’m doing and I’m okay with that. This is my favourite so far, the smoke is mellowing out and allowing the taste to dominate the aroma.
Will likely steep more later but taking a break to put together our corn chowder now. General impressions are that this is a nice tea, but not my favourite. Something to enjoy occasionally. Will try it more traditionally at some point (more leaf/less time) and see what I get. Might do a cup western style too.