Leaf Type: Pu-erh
Where to Buy: ESGreen
This mini tea cake was made by high-level material made from broad-leaved wild tea trees. Traditional court recipe.
The vintage year is 2002, which is over 10 year now.
Learn more about this pu-erh here.
As I’ve mentioned (more than once!), I’ve had a very difficult relationship with Pu-erh. It started off really bad … and I think it is those bad memories that taint my experiences with Pu-erh even now. And really, I don’t think it was the fault of the Pu-erh back then… it was my lack of knowledge. I didn’t know how to brew a Pu-erh properly, and I ended up with a very earthy dark tea that made me think I was drinking a very thin mud rather than tea. It wasn’t pleasant.
But that was then, and this is now!
And I have learned quite a bit since then, I have learned better ways of brewing tea. I have come to embrace the gaiwan as not a “gadget” but an essential tool for tea making. I love my gaiwan, because I have not only rediscovered the joy of Oolong but have also learned there is much joy to be discovered even with a tea I once disliked: Pu-erh!
It’s the earthiness that was off-putting. And when brewed improperly, a Pu-erh can be overwhelmingly earthy, so much so that it is really REALLY off-putting. But when brewed correctly, a Pu-erh can be so delightfully complex while maintaining a mellow character that is really quite enjoyable.
This Pu-erh is indeed earthy – but the strongest earthy tones are experienced in its aroma, when the tea is in its dry cake form. After a quick rinse and a 30 second infusion, I smell and taste only a very delicate earthiness, which is layered with an intense sweetness that is like caramel. It is very smooth.
I’ve often heard Pu-erh compared to a “fishy” taste but I don’t taste that here. There is a slight mushroom-y/earthy flavor to it, but not at all fishy. The sweetness is what I taste most, it is very mellow and remarkably smooth. It’s a really excellent value, too, because I got six very flavorful infusions from one mini tea cake, and I think it would have given many more!
This is one of those Pu-erh teas that I’d recommend to someone who has had bad luck with Pu-erh in the past … this is a good one and certainly worthy of a try. You might just find this one to your liking!