I'm looking for a good starter pu-erh...any suggestions?

Hello! I tried a few different kinds (forget which now!) a while back, and didn’t really have a taste for them. I think I’d be more receptive to it this time around! Any suggestions for specific types, brands, and tips for preparation would be greatly appreciated!! Thanks!

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Dr Jim said

Try a lot of small samples. Both sheng (raw) and shu (ripe or cooked). I tried a bunch of samples before I found a few I really liked, but everyone’s taste is different.

Yunnan sourcing is having a sale Monday. From the US site, S&H is only $7, and you can get a lot of 25 ounce samples for about $5 each. (plus if you like Yunnan black tea, they have a good selection.)

25 ounce?? you mean gram?

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I’m happy you are showing interest in pu’erh, they are so yummy and can be so rewarding!

It’s a topic that offers so many possibilities, I will just focus on shou (ripe) pu’erh in my answer. I’m sure many others will cover the sheng part :-)

I second both Thomas and Dr. Jim’s answers.

Quality is the key, before anything else. I would start with loose pu’erh before getting into cakes. Easier to handle. Ontario 1357 from Whispering Pines is one of the best shou I have ever tried. I think the flavor profile is very accessible to anybody. Rich and smooth with natural notes of vanilla. They offer perfect guidelines on how to prepare it on their website. And they are having a 20% off sale right now!
They are my favorite tea seller, so I recommend all their teas, high quality on everything they sell.

Yunnan Sourcing is also a great place to shop for good quality at a very decent price. Like Dr. Jim said, they offer sample size, so you can try before investing in larger quantities. They also have a sale going on, 15% off everything.

Last but not least, I highly recommend Mandala for their loose pu’erh. My favorite from them is Temple Stairs, another very smooth and rich shou. Special Dark and Noble Mark are also good choices.

Hope you get to enjoy pu’erh as much as I do, good luck and have fun on your journey :-)

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Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU Thomas, Dr. Jim and Tea Fairy!! I so appreciate all your input and direction, here! I was feeling a bit overwhelmed and didn’t know where to start, but with your excellent guidance, I am excited to embark on this Pu-Erh journey!! I have just placed an order at whispering pines, and Yunnan Sourcing is my next stop!! Thanks again!! :)

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boychik said

I love YS, Mandala, Whispering Pines. You may also explore Puerhshop.com. They sell sample sizes as well. Also Dragon Tea house ( they sell on ebay , Aliexpress , Amazon but I recommend to place an order thru their website .biz). I suggest you to follow the thread pu if the day: sheng or shou . And read a lot . Also I prefer to make it gongfu. Invest in an easy gaiwan if you don’t have ;-). Rinse and short steeps, just few secs.

cookies said

I like Berrylleb on ebay as well. You can get 20g samples from most everything he sells.

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mrmopar said

Agree on the Berrylleb store. Cookies I have a direct link to them if you ever need it. Saves a bit of$.

Ripe or shou puerh
Mandala “Phatty Cake/Special Dark”
Crimson Lotus Teas excellent shou’s
Menghai, Haiwan and Boyou tea factories make good shou.

Raw or sheng
White2tea Repave.
Yunnan Sourcing Bang Dong Village or Ye Sheng Cha
Mandala “Wild Monk” maocha
Misty Peak Tea excellent Yiwu
TeaUrchin Yiwu Peacock Blend
finepuerh excellent well aged Dayi samples.
Puer shop good range of samples fast shipping.
Lots of choices no particular order. Just a starting point you may want to look at.
Whispering Pines I hear is very good. I haven’t tried any yet but they seem well liked. I just got some in so I will try to review one this week.

cookies said

Oh, I would love that if you don’t mind sharing. I’ll follow you if you need to PM it.

mrmopar said

Got ya cookies. P.M. me as we will discuss some things. :)

Thanks so much for all the great info! Could you provide a link for Berrylleb on ebay? I did a few searches, but wasn’t able to find anything. Thanks again!! Much appreciated!

mrmopar said

Here is a link to one o their items. You can get in the store rom there.

Thank you! Looks great!

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Jason select said

If you’re on the fence about pu-erh still, we just featured this one in the latest Select box: http://steepster.com/teas/palais-des-thes/54123-pu-erh-imperial

I think it’s pretty good for people who aren’t super into pu-erh. It has those tones of characteristic pu-erh but isn’t super overwhelming in the “dirty” “earthy” flavors that can turn some people off of pu-erh in general.

Thanks so much for the info, Jason! There’s a Palais des Thes in Soho I’ve been meaning to check out. Will have to stop on my way to work tomorrow! Thanks for the tip! Sounds right up my alley, as that’s what I remember being put off by about pu-erh in the past!

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MzPriss said

All the suggestions you’ve gotten so far are excellent. I would add a sheng, Wild Mountain Green from Mandala to the list. It was my very first sheng and it is really accessible and easy to drink.

Very good to know. I’m adding it to the list! Sounds like a good starter! Thanks so much!

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AllanK said

You can’t go wrong with the 2008 Song of Chi Tse from Berylleb King Tea. Read the reviews on Steepster.

Very intriguing! I’m definitely going to add it to the list!! Thanks for the recommendation!

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