This is the first pu’erh I have ever tried — I just received Verdant’s pu’erh sampler in the mail. On the first infusion (10 seconds) after 2 rinses, it tastes just like mushroom broth made from cremini mushrooms plus a a very small amount of shiitakes. I’m not sure how I feel about this or if I’m really interested in drinking mushroom broth, will see how it develops. It’s so mushroomy, I feel like maybe I should add salt. Is this what people mean when they say pu’erh is “earthy”? I don’t think this is at all earthy — it doesn’t taste like the bottom of a forest, just mushrooms. It’s very gentle and mellow — even smooth — not at all what I was expecting from raw pu’erh. I like tea with natural sweetness, so this is a totally new tea experience. I don’t dislike it… It’s just that at this point, it seems like it should provide the base for a soup. As it cools, I do taste a slight sweetness.
Infusions 2 and 3: Mushrooms plus a new woody, slightly nutty flavor. Ah, and there are the bitter notes. So far, I can’t really say whether or not I like or dislike this tea. I’m on the fence, so clearly I don’t love it. It also leaves my mouth very dry, more so than black teas — and I don’t like that. Maybe I should’ve eased into this with shu or a more aged sheng pu’erh.
Many more infusions: Well, I’m still kinda on the fence, but It might be growing on me a little. It’s become quite sour, and again, not quite sure how I feel about it. I find it drinkable in kinda the same way that I started eating extremely pungent plan yogurt imported from Lebanon.. And now that’s the only yogurt I think has any flavor or is worth buying. I love that yogurt now — I am not at that point with this tea. I’m just saying I’m comfortable with the sourness and pungency mainly because of that.
Flavors: Astringent, Broth, Mushrooms, Oak, Sour