Okay just to put this review into perspective – My first puerh was from the Verdant 5/$5 deal. I wanted to get an idea of what their quality was like before ordering anything. That puerh pleasantly surprised me.. After the initial hit of loamy earth, I really liked the mushroom flavor that dominated the cup and kinda found it addictive. I also cold brewed the leaves after the first infusion and enjoyed that too.
Perhaps I shouldn’t have tried this at work? This is my 3rd foray into the world of puerh. Yay puerh noobie me!!! I received my Upton box of samples last night and tossed this mini into my bag and have just brewed it in a little ceramic office cup/infuser set.
The mini tuo has a slight smokey savory scent to it. Ok, not bad, smells like the green Upton Saiqing mini-tuo last night. Looks nicely packed and smooth.
Tossed it into the infuser and poured hot water over it… uh oh! it started breaking up immediately into very fine fanning like pieces. o.O I’m supposed to rinse this, it’ll all float away!? Alrighty then just do it… and done, whew. Poured more hot water over it and watched the mini crumble like crazy.. omg.. I’m gonna be drinking bits of leaves! They are gonna escape the infuser and I’ll have to check my teeth constantly! The water is having a hard time getting past the leaves to drain… oy? Then panic sets in. This is taking too long.. it’s super dark already.. this is crazy! Go water goooooo!!!!!!! Finally, it’s drained and I can ignore the infuser to peer at the crazy dark cup. Alright, I know.. I know… I was warned about this, this is normal… REALLY. Dang thing is darker than coffee.. I’m so very afraid… do I really want to drink this? I mean, it. could. kill. me. Drink a coffee this dark and bitter is the name of the game. I’m so screwed… JUST DO IT!
Drama aside, I’m drinking it… 1st steep slight smokey flavor and tree bark wood. Not bitter at all! YAY!! For whatever reason, the smoke really reminds me of a snack type food we have here in Hawaii called smoked ika (squid), and I can’t get the association outta my head.. The sediment at the bottom of the cup wasn’t as bad as I feared. I’m grateful that the main flavor is woody with the smoke as an accent.. though the smokey flavor is what I’m carrying in my mouth after the cup is gone. 2nd steep more wood, still strongly flavored and scary dark.
Overall, while not unpleasant, this isn’t really floating my boat. I did feel a little light headed about 1/2 way into the first cup.. when I started typing this review… but I’m not sure if it’s this qi thing folks talk about or just relief that I actually got through steeping and tasting it.. hahaha!! I’m guessing it’s the latter. ;)
Flavors: Smoke, Wood