Has anyone experienced bad/putrid tea?
I tried a tea last night that, after opening up, gave off a putrid odor (I know that’s a strong statement, but it was bad!) and I just could not drink it. Out of fairness to the vendor, I won’t name the tea because I’m sure “bad tea happens”, but has anyone else had a similar experience?
What type of tea was it? Ripe puerh often has a strong odor but this often doesn’t carry into the brewed tea.
It was a raw puerh.
How old was it? Sounds like wet storage, get it as dry as possible for as long as possible to draw out the dankies.
You are dealing with the same issue as funky cheese, there is nothing wrong with the cheese, its just high on the funkometer!
Ripe or aged pu’erh can get the funkies or the dankies. Pu’erh is controlled spoilage, all fermentation is. If its a tea other than a Pu’erh something is probably wrong.
Someone asked me once if vinegar can go bad, I said sure.. it already has… twice…
I’m curious exactly what tea you are referring to. Puer is very much a ‘one man’s trash is another man’s treasure’ kind of world, so it wouldn’t surprise me at all if someone else loved it. I’ve actually stocked up on a puer I’ve seen described as tasting like pants. Of course I understand If you don’t want to reveal.
I contacted the vendor and let them know just in case they got a “bad batch”. I prefer not to reveal the exact tea because it would be unfair to the vendor. I know you guys get that. The odor was truly putrid – like rotten vegetables. I can’t imagine this is “normal” for any kind of puerh. But hey, I’m new to tasting and new to shengs. I was hoping someone else would have experienced the same thing at one time or another, although I suspect if this was a “spoiled tea” then occurrences might be rare.
How big a piece was it?
You might want to just let it air out for a couple of weeks.
Though I admit, “rotten vegetables” putrid does not sound like a note you’d expect in a 2015 sheng.
Aside from the common storage factors, there’s other reasons like:
- The batch you got was very low grade. Low grade puer is pretty prevalent in China. Vendors may not know that they’re getting the low grade puer when they buy from distributors over there even though they believe they tried the tea.
(Side note: It’s known that some sellers in China allow people (includes vendors and regular consumers) to taste a tea and when the buyer decides to purchase, they swap it with another one.)
- Puer can also be reprocessed. This isn’t an unusual practice in China at all. What I mean by reprocessing is shady sellers take used tea leaves and process them again so they look new again. A lot of times you almost can’t tell a tea is reprocessed just by looking at it.
As a result, there’s loads of unknown crap, chemicals, etc. that get into the tea
- Heavy amount of pesticides/chemicals used
- Poor processing
These are just some reasons I’m throwing out there. Very hard to tell without knowing anything else about where the vendor got the tea from.
I’ve noticed that there is a rather big misconception that puer is putrid or tastes terrible to some people. Objectively speaking, real quality puer should not taste like that at all. Even if it doesn’t fit a person’s particular taste, the rotten taste indicates that the puer itself is a very poor quality.