Leaf Type: Pu-erh
Where to Buy: White Two Tea
This cake is made from the Menghai factory recipe 7582, composed of many larger leaves. This production was made on private order at a smaller factory between 1995-1999, we decided to take the median of the age and list it as 1997, though we can not pinpoint an exact year. The tea is already smooth and easy to drink. There is some humidity that still shows up in early steeps.
Learn more about this tea here.
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The aroma of the dry leaf is delicate and earthy. It’s not a strong fragrance which I sometimes find in an aged tea. I’m glad the earthy notes are rather subtle here because it’s usually that really strong, earthy scent that I find off-putting. This is not off-putting at all.
To brew it, I grabbed my gaiwan. I eyeballed a measurement of leaf (the sampling I received from White Two Tea had been broken off the cake) and placed it in my gaiwan. After having brewed cake pu-erh enough times, I’ve gotten to the point where I can recognize by sight how much tea is “the right amount.”
As I said, the sampling had already been broken off the cake, but a couple of the pieces were a little thicker, so I took a knife and I split the leaves apart so that I’d get a proper infusion.
I brought the water in my kettle to 185° and I poured enough water into my gaiwan to cover the leaves. Then I let that steep for 15 seconds and strained off the liquid, discarding it. This is a “rinse” or a reawakening of the leaves. I find this step is crucial for the best tasting cup of tea.
Then I filled the gaiwan with more water (same temperature) and let it steep for 45 seconds and strained it into my little teacup.
Ah … this is lovely! It’s sweet and mellow. The earthiness is perhaps the most pleasant earthiness I’ve yet to taste from a pu-erh. There have been times when the earthy qualities are just not pleasant at all. They taste a bit more like earth than they do earthy, if you get what I’m saying. But, this is more like the flavor of a mushroom. That’s the kind of earthy I like.
It’s not brine-y. It doesn’t taste fishy. It’s remarkably smooth with no astringency and no bitterness. It’s a really lovely cup of tea. And since it’s a pu-erh, I can take this for several infusions (and by several infusions – when it comes to pu-erh – I mean more than 3 or 4!)
The second infusion presented a slightly deeper flavor than the first. Earthy, and I’m starting to pick up on the development of a caramel-y like flavor. Very pleasant. Mild. Smooth. A hint of a vegetative flavor that complements the aforementioned mushroom note.
The flavor kept getting deeper with each subsequent infusion. It remained very mellow, smooth and sweet. The sweetness develops from a caramel-y note to more of a dark molasses-y type of flavor.
I picked up on notes of raw cacao in later infusions. I’m also picking up on a mineral-y quality and a slight ‘tangy’ note to it. Not astringent tangy, but as if someone had squeezed a lime on my tongue but without the distinct lime note.
I really enjoyed this tea – the first that I’ve tried from this new-to-me company! I found this experience to be quite encouraging of what is to come!