Thank you Stacy at Butiki Teas for this wonderful sample!
Where do I start here? There are so many thoughts concerning this tea and it’s uniqueness. Let me state as we see with this tea, like many other things, it’s possible for other cultural groups to adapt and adjust it to their own region.
Wikipedia voices the following http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pu-erh_tea:
Please note, I consolidated the main parts from this article to illustrate the theme of processing provinces.
“Pu’erh tea is a variety of post-fermented tea, specifically Dark tea, produced in Yunnan province, China… There are a few different provinces, each with a few regions, producing dark teas of different varieties… Those produced in Yunnan are generally named Pu’er, referring to the name of Pu’er county which used to be a trading post for dark tea during imperial China. While Yunnan produces the majority of pu’er, other regions of China, including Hunan and Guangdong, have also produced the tea… In addition to China, border regions touching Yunnan in Vietnam, Laos, and Burma are also known to produce pu’er tea, though little of this makes its way to the Chinese or international markets.”
As one can see, this tea doesn’t necessarily follow these normal sources for production and in my opinion, makes this tea even more intriguing!
Using the full portion of the sample in my gaiwan with boiling water, allowing for 7 seconds steeps, I found a sweet fermented sourness to the sip. Yeah, I thought that too – sounds weird, tastes GREAT! You can smell and taste a soy likeness with sauteed onions and roasted corn. Definitely reminds me of some teriyaki dishes that I’ve had from time to time, of which this makes the tea a very nice mid-afternoon or early evening. I could see this being a “dinner tea” in contrast to a “desert tea”. The difference is you could bypass a meal and easily substitute this tea for a soup of some kind.
After the 2nd or 3rd infusion (sorry, lost track), I started letting the leaves steep a tad longer – somewhere around 30 secs. This brought out a bitterness and taste that resembles acorns (yes, as a child I was curious:), then turned to a good astringency. With the longer steeping, it is certainly a full bodied tea, with a lingering tangerine/grapefruit citrusy.
Overall, I must say I’m pleasantly pleased with this tea. Very nice! Thanks again, Stacy for this wonderful addition to your offerings.