Leaf Type: Pu-erh
Where to Buy: The Persimmon Tree
The Honeysuckle pu-erh tea delivers a deep red infusion with a sweet woodsy, floral aroma. The finished brew is mild and earthy, with a lingering hint of honeysuckle. This honeysuckle tea can be steeped multiple times in a sitting without becoming bitter. This particular pu-erh is cooked and has been aged for about 4-6 years.
Learn more about this tea here.
When I first opened the tin of this Honeysuckle Pu-erh Tea from The Persimmon Tree, I got worried. The earthy aroma was STRONG and this is the kind of earthy that I find very unappealing when it comes to pu-erh tea. But, I tried to keep an open mind. So I brewed the tea.
To brew it, I grabbed my gaiwan. I measured a bamboo scoop of tea into the bowl of the gaiwan and heated the kettle to 190°F. I poured just enough of the hot water to cover the leaves and I let that steep for 15 seconds and then poured off the liquid and discarded it. (The rinse!) Then I filled the gaiwan with water and let it steep for 30 seconds. Usually, I let my first infusion steep for 45 seconds, but the tea had gotten really dark by 30 seconds, so I decided to stop at 30 seconds. I strained the tea into a teacup.
The fragrance of the brewed tea is softer than the dry leaf. It still has some of that unpleasant earthiness to it. I’m not getting a “sweet woodsy, floral aroma” as the description above suggests. I’m getting a damp wood and earth aroma. So, the worry that I felt before when I first opened the tin, it was returning.
But I took a sip and hoped for the best.
And fortunately, this tastes far less earthy than it smells. I’m getting those sweet, woodsy elements and hints of flower that I’m missing in the brewed aroma in the flavor. It’s a mellow tasting pu-erh with notes of earth but not overwhelmingly so. Mostly what I taste is a nice, sweet caramel-y undertone with a top note of flower. I don’t know if it’s honeysuckle that I taste during the sip, but I do taste a distinct floral note. And the aftertaste, yes, I do taste the honeysuckle there.
The aftertaste is my favorite part of this tea because I am really enjoying that lingering flavor of honeysuckle. It’s sweet, floral and really quite pleasant.
I only steeped my second infusion for 30 seconds as well, because it had already become even darker than the first cup was at 30 seconds. This is a tea that I recommend keeping an eye on while it’s brewing!
This infusion was deeper in flavor. The earthy qualities were a little stronger but not so strong that I found it off-putting. In this cup, I noted flavors of leather, mushroom and raw cacao. I still got that honeysuckle note in the aftertaste. I’m tasting a little less of a caramel-y taste and a little more of a molasses flavor, instead. Very deep flavor, very mellow and pleasant to sip.
Later infusions got deeper in flavor until they weren’t. When I started to realize that the flavors were becoming lighter, I stopped steeping. I lost count after six, but if I had to guess, I’d say I got nine infusions out of one measurement of leaves.
So this tea started out questionably with a rather unpleasant dry leaf aroma and even a slightly uncertain brewed tea scent, but the flavor is quite enjoyable. I’m happy that there wasn’t a briny, fishy or overpowering earthy flavor to this pu-erh. Nice.