Leaf Type: Pu’er, Pu-erh, Ripe, Shu
Where to Buy: Mandala Tea
We totally scored with this find! We have sampled so many different ripe teas over the years both in China and here at our shop. Samples are continuously sent here from various tea merchants and most of the time, we find them ok at best. But when we tasted this gong ting (imperial court quality, smallest leaf) tea, we immediately had every last bit of it shipped to us so we could share it with our customers not to mention drink it ourselves!
Hailing from Bu Lang mountain in Menghai, this is an expertly crafted tea. Rich and sweet, hints of dark chocolate and slight nuttiness with a creamy aroma becoming more pronounced as the post-fermentation smell quickly becomes a memory. We are sure that this gong ting, given a bit more age, will easily rival our favorite Golden Gong Ting from 2005. We are extremely pleased when all the conditions come together to create a memorable tea and this, my friend, is one of those teas.
Learn more about this tea here.
I had logged eight steepings before I lost focus, and became too full to do more. Each steep brought forth new and wonderful flavors!
When reviewing a pu’er I find it difficult to write in paragraphs because each steep is like a new tea unto itself. So with that I give you my tea log with short notes on each steep. I know it may be dull to some, but to those who really enjoy pu’er I hope it gives even a small glimpse of the wonder of this tea! These are my actual notes.
Steep One: 30 Seconds (after an initial rinse)
Light, Juicy mouthfeel, Dry in back of throat, Mushroom flavors, Spicy, Creamy, and my favorite flavor.. Leafy!
Steep Two: 45 Seconds
Leafy, Oaky, More Creamy than first steep, Autumnal Flavors and aromas like being in the woods after a light rain in autumn! Love it!
Steep Three: 1 Minute
Leafy aromas with an amazing mossy flavor again the wet leaves in autumn flavors but more prominent!
Drier, Earthy, Hay, Tingly, Mushroom.
Steep Four: 1:15 Minutes
Light, Clean, Milky, Nutty
Steep Five: 1:30 Minutes
Weaker on flavor in this steeping, Mellow, Leafy, Sweetness coming out!
Steep Six: 2:00 Minutes
About the same as the last cup but sort of getting weak. I went for another steep anyway.
Steep Seven: 2:30 Minutes
Mossy, Juicy and now Fruity!
This shows just because one steep is less flavorful its always a good idea to steep one more time!
Steep Eight: 2:45
No real flavors present although a light golden color. No notes taken, by this time I was absorbed into a movie (Red Tails – GREAT movie!)
Overall I was surprised to find I did not get any of the chocolate notes as in the description but was not disappointed! I think I will allow this to age quite a bit and re-visit it later on.
I did enjoy it very much and there were some wonderful flavor notes and a few surprises even once I began to think it was past it’s steep-ability!
A nice tea with mellow flavors through out that over all remind of me my favorite season! You can’t beat that!
On another note. My husband, who drinks very little tea to begin with, at first, said it smelled fishy. “Fishy” is a word that seems to come up often with pu’er, but I proved something to him and myself.
I said rather than fishy think of it as MUSHROOMY!
He disagreed so I made him go get an organic mushroom from the fridge!
He took a bite and said “OMG your right!!!”
I think the two flavors are similar in some ways but distinctly different enough. Plus for most mushroom is more palatable to stomach and mind than “fishy”. Honestly, I did not get a bit of fishiness in this pu’er and I only bring it up because all too often, especially with those who are first starting out on their pu’er experience that word comes up. My suggestion is to grab yourself a couple of mushrooms, and take a couple of bites to compare.
After pointing this out to my husband he drank with me the entire time! I was so shocked and happy!
It was a great experience to share a pu’er session with him and he also shared his tasting notes with me during that time. We both enjoyed this tea very much.