I’ve had the tuo sitting around for 9 months and finally decided to break into it.
I took the cable car up California St several months ago, heading to the property management company’s office to pay a small fortune in rent. The operator in the rear of the car chatted with me the whole ride from Battery to Van Ness. His name was Otu. I was thinking during the entire clattering, ass-sliding trek up the hill ‘Tuo… tuo… tuo…’ I’ll never forget that guy’s name because of pu’er. A simple transposition of letters.
10 years old at this point. Dry leaves smell like hay with some fruitiness. Wet leaves smell aged with hay, floral, vague light stonefruit and a scent that makes me think ‘bitter.’ I suppose that’s hitting the back of my tongue. Later there’s smoked asparagus, old books, dry grass, floral, more pronounced stonefruit and cigarette butt, ending with aged pu’er.
I did not time the steeps and instead went by color. 11 total. Very clear orange-yellow to bright orange-red liquor that doesn’t have much aroma. The scent of the wet leaf is more dynamic than the taste which is straight-forward and mellow. Mineral, airy floral, old books, a very light sweetness, mild (for me) bitterness in the back of the mouth and a pleasant tartness that all make for quick, smooth, thirst-quenching cups. Something akin to green bell pepper shows up midway along with light mint and a more defined sweetness like nectar. Aftertaste of hay, smoke and floral become non-existent after the first several steeps. The taste fades away pleasantly with some throat-clenching astringency and tongue-numbing appearing late. Poking through the spent leaf, I am surprised by the amount of buds. Mixed in with those are broken leaves of all sizes (of which few made it into the strainer) and some stems. Sticky fingers.
Energy is noticeable and top heavy. My shoulders felt bulky like I’d maxed out on overhead barbell presses a day earlier. It felt like there was an anchor point between my shoulder blades and it was being lightly tugged upon, encouraging me to sit up straight. An hour after finishing, I feel very caffeinated and brain-fuzzed, numb to my surroundings. I’m still sitting proper like I’m fresh out of one of those “How to be a Prim and Proper Young Lady” etiquette classes offered in high school.
Well-balanced in taste but the energy is awkward for me. Regardless, I’m glad I sprung.