Ok, so this was my big “new tea” today.
I bought it last week; and it comes in little mini-cakes. As it happens, these are my first Pu’Erh cakes which is intimidating in and of itself, except more scary still is that these come wrapped in the dried skin of a mandarin orange. I was so out of my depth figuring out how to open this fucker up to get to the tea without totally destroying and ruining the beautiful mandarin orange shell. The original plan was to send one of the cakes to VariaTEA and let her be the guinea pig testing it out, but I got impatient and wanted to try it today.
Anyway; there is a “seal” of sorts on the top so I kinda gently pried that open with one of the little pick things for walnuts and other Christmas type nut things (not a nut cracker; but the thing that helps get the nut out of the shell?). That part went well enough. After that though, uhhh…
Gotta note; this cake smells amazing! Surprisingly fresh and with this really nice sweet orange scent that fills the room in a very comforting way.
Using the little nut pick thing I did my absolute best to gently pick apart some of the leaf to make my cup; it was sorta hard to do with the tough Mandarin shell really limiting the amount of exposed tea and it made a bit of a mess but eventually I “found my groove” and got a good amount of tea loose and in decent shape. From there, I did a quick wash and then steeped my tea!
This is a white Pu’Erh and, to be honest, I’m not very experienced in Pu’Erh (as my horrible technique tonight likely demonstrates) so I’m not entirely sure what significant flavour difference that has or if the technical side of things (aging, storage, whatever else makes Pu’erh Pu’Erh) is really any different. But my observation was that this was much, much lighter and smoother than any Pu’Erh I’ve ever had – and definitely not as earthy or raw as I’ve become accustomed to.
What it was, was very natural with really beautiful and serene notes of sweet hay, mandarin/orange, and honey. While the process of making the cup was messy, this actual result was anything but; very feminine and soft while still full bodied. I’m really happy I decided to push my comfort zone and pick this one up; and I look forward to the journey I’m sure I’ll be taking with it.