100

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.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 8 g 3 OZ / 100 ML
Hris

I just love teas that evoke a narrative, engaging all the senses and capturing the imagination. It makes the experience so much more special.

derk

Well said, Hris.

Nattie

Your tasting notes always make me want to try teas I’m almost certain I wouldn’t appreciate enough.

derk

Nattie, who knows, maybe you would!

Nattie

Maybe! Historically I have rarely loved pu-erh, but my tastes have been changing lately…

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Comments

Hris

I just love teas that evoke a narrative, engaging all the senses and capturing the imagination. It makes the experience so much more special.

derk

Well said, Hris.

Nattie

Your tasting notes always make me want to try teas I’m almost certain I wouldn’t appreciate enough.

derk

Nattie, who knows, maybe you would!

Nattie

Maybe! Historically I have rarely loved pu-erh, but my tastes have been changing lately…

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Bio

Trades are on hold until I work through a bunch!

[Always up for a trade. I keep an updated cupboard. Check it out. Don’t be shy. Message me if you want to try something :)]

Most enjoyment:

Wuyi and Taiwanese oolong, sheng and shou puerh, Yunnan and Wuyi blacks, Laoshan green. I also appreciate Japanese, Vietnamese, Thai, Darjeeling and Nepali teas, bagged tea and herbal teas/tisanes.

I take my teas without milks or sweeteners except sometimes chai and the rare London Fog or matcha latte. I generally steep a tea until it has no more to give.

I’ll try anything once because it helps me learn. Not opposed to well placed herbs, flowers, fruity bits and flavorings. Just nothing cloying especially banana, caramel, coconut, cinnamon or maple.

Preference reference:

100-90: A tea I can lose myself into. Something about it makes me slow down and appreciate not only the tea but all of life or a moment in time. If it’s a bagged or herbal tea, it’s of standout quality in comparison to similar items.
89-80: Fits my profile well enough to buy again.
79-70: Not a preferred tea. I might buy more or try a different harvest. Would gladly have a cup if offered.
69-60: Not necessarily a bad tea but one that I won’t buy again. Would have a cup if offered.
59-1: Lacking several elements, strangely clunky, possess off flavors/aroma/texture or something about it makes me not want to finish.
Unrated: Haven’t made up my mind or some other reason. If it’s puerh, I likely think it needs more age.

Location

Sonoma County, California, USA

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