I’m a little nervous about this tea but it seemed too weird not to try so I tossed it in my CTG order. I do love oranges. Moldy oranges that have been stuck in a cave for years though? Not so much. Full disclosure, I bought this tea with the expectation of not liking it so this has a bit of a science experiment aspect to it.
I truly have no idea how to do this, but CTG mentions a slight orange taste when “part of the rind” is used. I figured that meant to brew with mostly just the tea, so I broke apart the little orange, dumped the tea in my pot and then added bit of rind in there, too.
The leaves smell a bit like dirt. Dusty dirt. With a slight hint of clean freshness. Like the smell of an attic that no one has been in for 20 years, but when they were up there two decades ago, they dusted with Pledge. So yeah, that’s a bit weird. And not entirely pleasant. But not entirely unpleasant either. Just… interesting.
After a good rinse, things started smelling like pu-erh normal. In other words, like a barn. This particular barn had a good bit of sweet hay smell going on and the dirt smell was of clean, wet dirt.
The taste is nicely mild. One thing I tend to dislike about pu-erh is that the barnyard sweetness can be so thick. It makes me feel like I’m drinking syrup made of farm and it’s just too rich for me. But this doesn’t have the syrupy super-sweetness to it. Very similar taste profile, just not as thick feeling. I don’t know how much orange I pick up from the taste, but there is a cleaner ending than what I’m used to and I’m going to attribute that to the orange rind. As it cools, the sweet barnyard dirt taste moves to the front of the sip and some dry hay starts coming in on the back. Still has a clean but mostly sweet end.
The second steep (30s) brews up very dark but otherwise is pretty much the same as the first steep. There’s a little more sweetness-cutting cleanness (which I’m guessing is because the orange rind is staring to soften and steep a bit more) but that’s about it. I do like that increase though.
The third steep (45s) is tilting back a bit towards barnyard especially on the tail end, but overall it is very similar to the first two steeps.
Overall, this isn’t bad. It’s not going to make me into a pu-erh fan but it’s one of the easiest drinking cooked pu-erhs I’ve had; it’s rather mild and inoffensive. Not something I’ll avoid finishing off but not something that I’ll need to get more of once it is gone.