I’m becoming less afraid of pu’erh teas as time goes on. I wasn’t at all convinced by my first two, but as I’ve tried more, I wrinkle my nose less and less when I’m drinking them. Surely a good sign! I don’t have many black teas with me at work at the moment, so I pulled this out as a reasonable substitute for a cold, dull morning. It’s my first week back at work after my week’s holiday, so it’s been busy and stressful and more or less completely awful. A good strong tea is just the thing I need.

I was cautious with the leaf and brew time of this one, for a first try. I used 1 tsp and added it to boiling water for about 2.5 minutes. I figure I can always work upwards from here, but I wanted to break myself in gently. The liquor is a golden red-brown.

The main flavour is definitely earth. Damp, composty earth. There’s also a hint of smoke, although it’s not overpowering. It puts me in mind of a bonfire on a damp autumn night. There’s a coolness towards the end of the sip that’s making me think of mint, or menthol. That, too, is fleeting, but pleasant all the same. I’m not really getting any of the berries or sweetness mentioned in the description, but I guess a longer brew time with more leaf might bring those flavours out. Other than the liquor colour, I’m also not picking up any rooibos. I can’t say I saw any amongst the dry leaf, though, so perhaps my bag just needs a good shake! What I will say is that this is such a pretty tea. The red safflower petals make such a distinctive contrast with the dusky black-brown leaves and black-red elderberries. I like that they were inspired by a red fox in a forest, too — very atmospheric!

I’m looking forward to experimenting with this one a little more — varying leaf amounts and brew times until I find a balance that works for me. I’d never have thought a smoky pu-erh would be a tea I’d find myself enjoying, but there you go. This one has obviously been put together with such care that it’s hard not to like. A surprise hit :)

Boiling 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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Hi :) I’m Sarah, and I live in Norfolk in the UK. My tea obsession began when a friend introduced me to Teapigs a good few years ago now. Since then, I’ve been insatiable. Steepster introduced me to a world of tea I never knew existed, and my goal is now to TRY ALL THE TEAS. Or most of them, anyway.

I still have a deep rooted (and probably life-long) preference for black tea. My all-time favourite is Assam, but Ceylon and Darjeeling also occupy a place in my heart. Flavoured black tea can be a beautiful thing, and I like a good chai latte in the winter.

I also drink a lot of rooibos/honeybush tea, particularly on an evening. Sometimes they’re the best dessert replacements, too. White teas are a staple in summer — their lightness and delicate nature is something I can always appreciate on a hot day.

I’m still warming up to green teas and oolongs. I don’t think they’ll ever be my favourites, with a few rare exceptions, but I don’t hate them anymore. My experience of these teas is still very much a work-in-progress. I’m also beginning to explore pu’erh, both ripened and raw. That’s my latest challenge!

I’m still searching for the perfect fruit tea. One without hibiscus. That actually tastes of fruit.

You’ve probably had enough of me now, so I’m going to shut up. Needless to say, though, I really love tea. Long may the journey continue!

My rating system:

91-100: The Holy Grail. Flawless teas I will never forget.

81-90: Outstanding. Pretty much perfection, and happiness in a cup.

71-80: Amazing. A tea to savour, and one I’ll keep coming back to.

61-70: Very good. The majority of things are as they should be. A pleasing cup.

51-60: Good. Not outstanding, but has merit.

41-50: Average. It’s not horrible, but I’ve definitely had better. There’s probably still something about it I’m not keen on.

31-40: Almost enjoyable, but something about it is not for me.

11-30: Pretty bad. It probably makes me screw my face up when I take a sip, but it’s not completely undrinkable.

0-10: Ugh. No. Never again. To me, undrinkable.


Norfolk, UK

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