well this is an odd bird, although i should have expected that. pu-erhs are infamous for their oddness, after all! i didn’t think to rinse the leaves, so my first infusion was 2-3 tsp of tea in 16 oz of boiling water, steeped for around 5 minutes. HOLY silage, batman! the scent hits your nose first, a rich multi-layered combination of wet soil, compost, tobacco smoke, and rotten vegetation. the first sips were incomprehensible, but once the tea had cooled a tiny bit, similar flavours roll over the tongue delightfully. after the tea had cooled a bit more (still hot, mind), the flavors all collapsed into the taste of damp sand, which was disappointing. poured out the rest of that cup, started on the second infusion. boiling water, about 5 minutes again, the brew is just as inky brown from the moment the water hits the tea – does this stuff not dilute? the aroma of the tea this time around is a little sweeter – more rotting vegetation than tobacco smoke, less peat and more compost. this is not a bad thing, mind. the flavor has calmed down a bit, it is a bit less sharp, a bit less complex; it tastes more like a tea now. this is definitely not an everyday tea for me, however i can imagine it being an amazing after-dinner drink, served in small cups, shared amongst friends, like a fine sherry.