I decided to get this mainly based on what I read on the description, which advises this puerh has slightly less fermentation than other cooked puerhs. At the end of the day this only cost me £12 for a 250gram brick…if I don’t like it I have not spent a lot of money, if I do like it then that is a bonus. Here are my notes…
Fresh out of the packaging you can definitely smell the typical fermentation aroma, however definitely not as pronounced as other cooked puerh I have tried. I would probably suggest you let this brick sit for a while to give it time to “air out”.
I used 7 grams in my 140ml gaiwan. I then rinsed the leaves with boiling water twice, which I would suggest is mandatory. Wet leaves, surprisingly, actually smell very pleasant, a rich balmy aroma with some nutty undertones lurking in the background. A good start.
I did my first proper steep for about 15 seconds which resulted in a a very dark amber liquid. The texture is a little “thin” for my liking, as I tend to prefer my shu pu thick and sticky. The taste, well again it surprised, this is actually quite pleasant. The balmy aroma I smelt in the wet leaves is there in the taste. It is smooth, mellow and sweet, with only a small hint of bitternes. I am also getting the nutty undertones as well, which again is very pleasant.
I decided to push this shu pu further with my second steeping, brewing it for about a minute. This time the texture of the liquid was darker (almost black), thicker and more sticky. Tasting it again there was more boldness and character, however it remains pretty smooth and mellow. I begin to sweat a little on my forehead and the nape of my neck…the caffeine starts to kick in. One thing that I really like is the rather long sweet finish I am getting…it stays at the back of the throat for some time and is still here while I am typing.
I did end up steeping this about 10 times and unfortunately the leaves start to “run out of steam” and the brew begins to get a little one dimensional. However, as bargain priced shu goes this one is actually very decent and well worth your time and money. I have had more expensive shu that has tasted terrible, so for me this one is a bit of a no brainer.
I will definitely get another brick to sit down and age for a few years…it would be very interesting to see how this tea will transform over the next 2-3 years. I can only hope it will taste even better with a bit of age.
So, overall this 2013 brick really did surprise me. It is still very drinkable at the moment which is good, and although it is not very complex and a bit one dimensional it does hit a lot of high notes. With Winter fast approaching I could quite easily see myself drinking this daily in the morning to warm myself up before work. For me it was £12 well spent.