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I wasn’t sure how I felt about fermented teas without a floral note to cover up some of the flavor when I ordered this. But at $18 for a 3.5 ounce brick, this seemed like a safe way to try out unadulterated pu’erh without shelling out $100 for a ripe 400 gram chunk with some age to it.
Well, after taking a whiff of it in the bag, I’m hooked. It smells like a gently dampened forest floor, woody and organic with a whisper of sweet fallen leaves. There’s also some detectable dirt, but that’s not an unpleasant note, surprisingly. When you saturate the tea with boiling water, the aroma turns into what I can only describe as the scent of vivarium—clean soil and mulch that slowly steeps in the intense humidity. The taste is what you would expect from the dry scent: woody, earthy, and overall pleasant. Very, very smooth. Nothing fishy about it, no astringency, no biting edge from an excess of tannins. A touch of sugarcane in the aftertaste with a gentle minerality. It’s like a tasty and polished version of the liquid you get from boiling dried oak leaves on the stove to make leaf litter for a blackwater aquarium. I’m sure there are better fermented teas out there, but I’m in love with this stuff for the time being.

Flavors: Bark, Earth, Mineral, Smooth, Wet Wood

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 15 sec 5 g 12 OZ / 354 ML

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