A cave of time immemorial. The outline of the falcon above. A sinking of the body into cool mineral soil. Libraries of worn braille in stone. Thick, smooth creases in the mumbling, shifting faces. Blind? No, I can see.
Do you remember? How could you forget.
It’s in your blood, it’s in your bones.
In these wet leaves, I know my home.
I purchased this Large Leaf from Old Trees Pu-erh from the bulk tea section at Rainbow Grocery. I was surprised to see several puerh from the Phoenix Tea Collection as well as a few daily drinkers, green and black. I’m not sure what prompted me to purchase this puerh since the dry leaf looks like it’s had better days, like an ancient pile of dry autumn leaves, ragged and with several large stems. Curiosity again?
It smells like what I imagine the best of aged puerh smells like. There are notes of clean soil and a very particular savory and spicy medicinal smell that I’m close to placing but just can’t get there. A hint of date syrup lies underneath. Warming and rinsing really brings all those notes forward, no new additions. The wet leaf shimmers like velvet under the light.
The first steep of 10s is a clear dark orange-red, thick, oily, and so smooth with a really pleasant soil note backed up by a strong minerality and savory quality. Silky, astringency and bitterness nowhere to be found. It retains this strength in character for many steeps. Right before I substantially increase the steep times, a very persistent and strong returning date sweetness emanates from my throat. I lost track of the number of steeps because I was in such a relaxed state, but the tea just faded away nicely, not leaving me wishing there was more to the session. Perfect.
I am so grateful to have tried a puerh with so much age. It’s an incredible tea and I’m regretting not purchasing more than one session’s worth. Though that does make for a good excuse to go on a day long bike ride from my new residence up north to the Phoenix Tea Collection and Museum in Lagunitas where I can hopefully purchase more.
Recommended for experienced puerh drinkers. This might be overwhelming or too strong of a flavor for a lot of people.
More reviews of what I think is the same tea can be found here: https://steepster.com/teas/chicago-tea-garden/10957-large-leaf-from-old-trees-pu-erh
As you can see, it has mixed reception.