This is one of a Pu Erh sample collection I had from the dealer. I’m not sure if the dried chips in it are orange or orange peel or both; but it smells strongly of orange.

I used a moderately-heaped teaspoonful and brewed for five and a half minutes; the instructions are for ‘up to five’ but I lost track of the time – it doesn’t seem to have done any harm. This resulted in an intensely dark, black-brown brew, quite opaque but because of the density of colour, not from cloudiness, with a slight oiliness on the surface.

Surprisingly, given the smell of the dry tea, it does not smell strongly of orange: I’m getting a faint smell of orange and a little stronger than faint earthiness (in the garden soil sense).

Similarly, in the mouth, there’s an earthy taste, not very strong, and just a hint of something between orange and orange peel. It may be simply just the combination of these two flavours, but I’m possibly getting the tiniest hint of liquorice. There’s a slight firmness in the flavour, possibly the result of the bitterness of orange peel – just the tiniest hint and the overall flavour is not bitter. Although it’s what I would characterise as a quite robust brew, I’m not getting that much in the way of the basic tea flavour and the result of that is that I’m not getting that ‘satisfying’ feel from drinking it.

For me, it’s an ‘okay’ sort of brew – pleasant enough, but not one I’m going to buy again.

Boiling 5 min, 30 sec

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Happily retired male.

Started exploring ‘proper’ tea in March, 2010 after decades of PG Tips teabags. I was initially looking for ‘the perfect tea’; now I don’t want to find one – I’m so much more enjoying exploring the variety.

A confession: I take my tea with four sweeteners to a half-pint mug.
28/05/2012 – I’ve decided to wean myself off the sweeteners, starting this morning, so, three per mug instead of four (I’m getting a growing feeling that I’m failing to get the best out of some of the oolongs and greens I try and I intend getting a gaiwan and the appropriate little cups, and sweeteners don’t seem to be appropriate, there). 16/02/2013 – since New Year’s Day I’ve only been using two sweeteners. I’m struggling to get used to it, to be honest – some teas are more difficult than others.

How I make tea: either in a traditional teapot which holds enough for three half-pint mugs and has a removable infuser (London Teapot Company); or in a half-pint mug with an Agatha’s Bester filter. Sometimes I vaguely think about getting some nice, genteel cups and saucers …

Important: I measure the tea with plastic kitchen measuring spoons – teaspoon and half-teaspoon sizes – so when I say a ‘heaped teaspoon’, as the correct measure is a levelled one, I should probably be calling it ‘two teaspoons’!


Derbyshire/Staffordshire, UK.

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