This is a nice, smooth, creamy, mellow ripe pu-erh. It was received as a free sample with my tea order, so thank you Teavivre. The sample included two generous pieces of tangerine skin. I brewed this gong fu style with an initial quick rinse, then a first infusion of 10 seconds. That produced a light, sweet, mild and mildly earthy liquor, light in color, and containing no detectable traces of citrus to my palate. The second infusion, I went for 30 secs, and this time the liquor is much darker. It is still very smooth and only very slightly bitter at the longer infusion time. I do get a very subtle hint of citrus in this second infusion, but I really do mean subtle. If I didn’t know it had tangerine and wasn’t looking for it, I probably would not have noticed it. The second infusion finishes sweet and leaves a somewhat thick coating in the mouth and on the lips. Only after 5 minutes does a small amount of astringency appear. I wonder if the tangerine was more present when it was younger. I can imagine a bit of fresh tangerine zest in this tea would be delicious, but alas, I have none on hand. Third infusion, I’m letting it steep for a minute with just off the boil water that was poured high directly onto the tangerine skin. Can you tell I’m wanting that tangerine note? :-) This pu-erh doesn’t mind being steeped longer. The third infusion is mellow. No bitterness at all, which surprised me. Caffeine content must be pretty high. It’s producing a nice feeling. Fourth infusion I pushed to 3 mins. Still smooth and mellow, no bitterness. I checked the fridge once more, and found a mandarin orange. I added a squeeze to my cup to see how it would change the tea. Interesting— it was readily absorbed into the overall tea flavor and did not stand out prominently, so perhaps the tangerine has been present all along, influencing the overall flavor, providing a touch of sweetness, but never becoming a prominent note. For anyone wanting to a try a ripe shou pu-erh, but is put off by mustiness, this one is a good one to try. If you were to do a couple of rinses first, you’d bypass the old library book found in some shou pu-erh.
Flavors: Citrus Zest, Cocoa, Earth