From the Beginner’s Pu’erh TTB.
Brewed with a ceramic gaiwan. Steeping times 2 x five, 5 x five, 8, 10, 10, 15, 18, 20, 30, 45; 1 min, 2, 4, 10.
The dry leaf on its own smells of tobacco, clove and fennel; resting in the heated gaiwan bowl, of fresh leather and red grapes. The wet leaf aroma evolves throughout the session. Beginning: grassy and muscatel. Middle: tobacco-y, smoky. End: very grape-like.
The soup color starts off as light orange but is deep yellow by the end. Thick texture; creamy at certain points. Cup 1 is very bitter, tasting of sour smoke. 2 through 7, unexpectedly, taste like smoked salmon. I need a bagel and cream cheese to go with this!
After this, there is a turning point: a grape note appears with menthol, replacing the salmon. Feels cooling in the mouth. The soup continues to become sweeter and fruitier. No more bitterness. At cup 16, the grape note is traded with apricot, and the menthol stays as an aftertaste.