Back from my Christmas break today, and time to be brave once again. I mostly drank teas I was familiar with over the holidays – old friends I knew wouldn’t let me down. Now that reality has set back in, I’m back to my usual routine.
I picked this one up with a Butiki order a while ago, and it’s languished in my cupboard ever since. That’s because I’m more afraid of pu’erh than I like to admit. My last one wasn’t so bad, though, and that’s given me the confidence to continue my journey today.
I gave this one 2 minutes in boiling water for a first steep, and the resulting liquor is an orangey-red-brown. It smells typically pu’erh like, earthy with a hint of sweaty horse.
The taste, on the other hand, couldn’t be more different. It’s fresh, sweet, and far more reminiscent of a forest after a rain shower than a pig sty or horse’s stable. There’s an earthiness in the initial sip, but it’s a grassy-earthiness rather than a muddy-earthiness; very clean and green-tasting, if not quite what I’d call vegetal. The mid-sip is cooling and little camphor like. It puts me in mind of mint, but there’s no mintiness in the flavour. I can taste leaves and herbs more than anything – I’m thinking maybe basil or oregano with a hint of chlorophyll in the aftertaste.
This has been a completely unexpected cup, and by far the most pleasant experience I’ve ever had with a pu’erh. I probably could have left this one to brew longer, and I would definitely feel happy to go with the recommended 7 minutes for subsequent steeps. As it’s nearly time to go home, though, I’m not going to get to try this today. Definitely one to revisit, though.