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 :)