I realize I am spoiled with local tea options compared to some other folks. A few weeks ago I was in Rainbow Grocery and noticed they have a bulk tea selection. In the bulk tea jars were a bunch of mini touchas from Pure Puerh! I know they are based in Northern California so I shouldn’t have been too surprised.
This is the other green toucha that I didn’t buy from them at the San Francisco Tea Festival. Now that I have my dedicated Yixing teapot, raw puerhs are becoming a good weekend drink for me. You fill up your teapot and can re-steep many times. This one mini toucha claims you can make 12-14 cups of tea out of it!
Steep #1: After a quick rinse I steeped this for around 20 seconds and got a very light infusion, which is slightly woodsy and a bit sweet. I’m picking up on a light fruity flavor too, like apple. There’s a slight bit of bitterness in the mix but so far I am not finding it too overwhelming. My infusions are fairly small, I’m getting around 4 oz. of tea for each one.
Steep #2: 30 seconds. The color is a bit darker than it was before and a definite smoky aroma is starting to emerge. Still, I am happy that this is not too acrid or rough for my palette. As far as bitter-sweet goes, I can handle it.
Steeps #3 and 4: 15 seconds. I did them together in the same glass mug. The tea is hitting more of a stride here and starting to settle down somewhat. The flavor is getting to be a little more mellow, still woodsy, smoky and slightly sweet but less of a sour quality.
Steeps #4 and 5: at first I thought the bitterness was receding, but as my cup was sitting here cooling off, a big wallop of it hit me when I began to sip on it. Might try to use ½ the touocha next time, 8g is likely too much for the small teapot.
One thing I have noticed about sheng pu-erhs is they are very good for the digestion; I suppose it must be this bitter-sweet and green quality. Without being gross, I find they have an almost purgative effect at times.
I think perhaps this tea could benefit from a little aging, but I have no idea how well touchas age. In any case I will probably not be too tempted to pick up any more of these in the future. It’s a typical young sheng, kinda sour and wild. That’s the nature of the beast you’re dealing with.