I am feeling bold and daring today so I decided to give this one a shot. There was a time that I thought I would never try pu-erh – the idea of it was just too scary. But then Steepster(ites) came along and made me brave enough to try it. I’ve tried a handful of different pu-erhs and don’t hate them, but I haven’t found one that I can really get behind (at least, not a cooked one – I’m kind of loving raw ones so far). I keep trying though! I might be out of luck simply because they all have a taste that I end up mentally calling ‘earth syrup’ and it’s just a little too rich/sweet/thick for me to not feel overwhelmed. But again, I keep trying, so I’m apprehensively excited to be trying this one.
The dry leaf is more ‘hay syrup’ smelling than ‘earth syrup’, but after a quick rinse and then some steeping and the earth comes out. No fishy though, which is another pu-erh smell/taste that can be a bit much for me so the lack of fish equals good. There actually might be a little hint of something spicy in the smell, too, but I’m not exactly sure on that.
Okay, I have to say this first steep is promising. Yes, there is some sweet dirt taste going on but it isn’t thick or heavy enough to reach syrup status. Instead, there is a little almost-Yunnan-like tea taste at the beginning of the sip and a little peppery-type like warmth/spiciness left on my tongue after each sip. The damp dirt sweetness hits in the middle of these two flavors and follows through to the end. And while the tip of my tongue is tingling with spice after the sip, the sweetness expands in the middle of my tongue. The post-sip sweetness is almost into syrup territory thickness but not quite.
Amazingly, I finished off my cup and wasn’t too pu-erh-ed out to avoid more steeping! Second Steep (4:00) is sweet and smooth and edges a bit more towards earth syrup but still doesn’t feel too heavy. I’m thinking the peppery warmth has increased a bit but that could be residual lunch after-spice (but I don’t think so since sipping seems to increase it).
And I’m still up for another steep, so Steep Three (5:00)! It actually tastes a lot like the last steep. Smooth, earthy sweet but not heavy enough to be syrupy. Not as much depth of flavor as steep one and I’m not getting so much of the hint of spicy, but it’s still good.
Fourth Steep (6:00)! Mild, sweet but a little lighter/thinner than the last two steeps and more closely matching the first steep (but without the pepper tingle).
Honestly, I wouldn’t be adverse to taking this tea a bit farther (which is kind of amazing since it is a pu-erh and usually I’m done pretty early in the resteeping process) but I just finished a HUGE blog post about my Hawaii trip (http://pinkness.danzimmermann.com/2010/10/mia-ness-over.html) so I feel the need to celebrate and relax with something green so I’m going to call this tea done. I’m also going to leave this unrated for a little contemplation time. The fact that this never hit earth syrup is huge for me so I actually can say that this is a cooked pu-erh I really like. Shocking, I know. But now the question is: how much do I like this? Will I start craving it’s slightly lighter pu-erh profile? Is this enjoyable enough to break through my anti-cooked-pu-erh mindset to where I would actually buy it? That’s what I need to figure out so no rating for now, but it’s definitely a 75 or over.