Holiday Tea-son! While not technically a holiday tea, tangerines/mandarins make me think of the holiday season (I’m eating one for breakfast right now!) so I figured I would finally try one of these little stuffed pu-erhs that I’ve been curious about for a while now. Plus I can just throw water on it throughout the remainder of the day when I need another tea fix, since I always seem to give out on steeps before pu-erh does. Handy! I got this from tea-sipper’s cupboard sale last January, so thank you tea-sipper!
I’ll admit I felt weird about leaving the tea in the shell, even though I know you are supposed to do that… I couldn’t even get “cracks” into the shell like the recommendations on TeaVivre’s site suggested because it was so hard, so I couldn’t imagine that the expansion of the leaves would be enough to break it; how would the pu-erh be able to fully expand and flavor the water then? So I removed the pu-erh, then just dropped the empty shell into the infuser with it. If I’ve created the biggest faux pas ever, feel free to let me know.
The steeped cup is a coffee-like darkness, and smells very earthy, but has a light, citrus-like perfume wafting from the cup. Previously my only experience with orange-flavored pu-erh was an artificially-flavored monstrocity from Adagio that had a very metallic bite to it… it was a decidedly very bad tea. The pu-erh base in this is very smooth, with a strong earthy flavor, and some slight minerality that is left on the tongue at the end of the sip. This tea has a very natural flavor; I’m so used to how strong orange flavorings are in flavored blends that this is actually quite subtle tasting in comparison. It’s an underripe sort of citrus flavor… I realize I’ve never had a “green” mandarin, but it actually has a very “green” sort of taste. There is a sort of light, delicate, and somewhat floral sweet taste to it, a bit like orange blossoms, rather than the more citric/tart/tangy taste I’m used to from citrus fruits. As the owner of the Hibiscus Rescue Habitat, we all know how I like those tart/tangy flavors, which is sort of what I was expecting… but even though the flavor has sort of dashed my expectations, I also really like sweet floral notes, so I’m still enjoying this. Would I have enjoyed a citric tartness more? Yes, but for what this is, it’s nice, and I’ll enjoy sipping on it this morning.
Flavors: Citrus, Earth, Floral, Mineral, Orange Blossom