I have had this a few times and must have forgotten to review it. Whoops! Just as well I have a large cloth bag full of them. I was reminded of this tea when I rummaged my stash to find supplies for the EU TTB, of which this one has been included.
This tea is from Jiulu Tea whom I found on Aliexpress and my reason for buying this particular tea is that I had never tried goji berry in Pu Erh before. It sounded like a nice combination of sweet and earthy.
I like the little wrappers for the mini tuocha, they have a small goji berry flower like symbol on them, along with 4g (which always comes in handy).
In appearance on the smooth side of the mini tuocha there is a single goji berry flower pressed/molded right into them. Wonderful contrast of yellow, green and dark pink/red against the dark and golden brown Pu Erh. So cute! They smell dry, wooden and musky with strong earthy tones. Frankly as you expect Pu Erh to smell, though it is a little disappointing that I cannot smell the goji berry.
Leaf – 2 x Tuocha – 8g
Water – 100C
Method – 100ml Gaiwan
Rinse – 1st for 3 seconds and 2nd for 5 seconds
Reason for both rinses being that I’m trying to unleash the goji berry goodness, as much as possible.
First Steep – 10 seconds
Mahogany in colour with a musky, deep earth scent with some smoke and wood.
Flavour is quite soft and damp tasting with some dryness and a touch of sweetness in the after taste. Smooth for a first steep (which must have been due to two rinses). Also has elements of clay, wood and mild leather.
Second Steep – 15 seconds
Musk and fresh soil greet me at first sip, though smoothly before a soft, floral sweetness develops into a dry after taste. Some clay and damp wood tones too. A little stronger than the previous steep but only just. Also sour for a second before it smoothing itself out.
Third steep – 25 seconds
Darker appearance – reminds me of soy sauce.
More musk and less smooth at this point. Also has a herbal taste that is sour and damp. Not sweet as it once appeared. Dryness remains and takes over in the after taste.
Fourth Steep – 30 seconds
Thicker in flavour though less musk and more damp soil. Also more smooth, slight sourness left but not much. Remains dry in the after taste but the sweetness if coming back slightly as well from the goji berry. Still a herbal sweetness above all else but it makes a nice change.
Fifth Steep – 45 seconds
Another nice steep, perhaps my favourite so far. It’s a lot smoother than it was and the flavours are more balanced. It’s thick in warm, fresh, damp soil but in a way that makes me think of a forest late at night. Light smoke, musk and herbal tastes with dryness break apart my hazy day dream which just leaves me asking for more.
Cryptic in terms of a review I suppose but that is what it made me think of and part of my
reviews is to incorporate my experience, thoughts and feelings with others. To share a vulnerable part of myself with the world, in a sense.
Sixth Steep – 1 minute
Back to mahogany in colour.
Smooth and soil like still, if anything the dryness is not as bad as the start. Unless I am just used to it? Sweeter I think than any other steep, particularly towards the after taste. Beautiful surprise.
Seventh Steep – 1 minute 30 seconds
Going milder now, but as it does it increases in sweetness. Finally! I have been hoping the goji would have more flavour than it has. No wood or smoke at this point. Also dryness truly is disappearing.
Eigth Steep – 2 minutes
I would say sweet herbs and soil is all that really remains. Sweet enough to be counted as brown sugar like. Not a whole spoon of it but a pinch.
Ninth Steep – 3 minutes
Not much remains but that touch of sweetness is a nice reminder of what once was.
I said it earlier but it’s worth mentioning again, the goji berry did not taste as strong as I was expecting. It wasn’t a case of tasting it and going “oh yes, that is goji berry right there”. If I didn’t know what it was then I would have guessed it had some herb in it, something I probably hadn’t heard of and wouldn’t have thought to mention much of. Still it was ‘different’ yet at the same time the Pu Erh was nice enough and ‘typical’. So yes, it was not as special as it looks and sounds but it did what I expect of a basic Pu Erh.