I was kindly gifted a pair of these with an order. I’ve never drunk pu’er (technically heicha) advertised coming from outside Yunnan, so I was interested to try this. I was drinking this away from home and thus didn’t have my 100ml gaiwan on hand. As such, I ended up making due with a 130ml one, which I filled up to around the 100ml mark.

Normally I rinse dragon balls for around thirty seconds, but I recalled the description mentioning these balls requiring only around twenty seconds, so I followed that recommendation. I let the moisture penetrate deeper into the ball for around five minutes while I sipped the wash. Both the dry and wet leaves have a quite smoky scent. Smoky at least to my nose. The tea soup itself was still quite light, but sweet and oily and perhaps a bit fruity. This tea was very promising so far.

I proceeded to do eleven proper infusions, the timing for these being 6s, 6s, 8s, 10s, 15s, 20s, 30s, 45s, 75s, 2 min. and 3 min. The first steep was still quite light, probably lighter than the rinse due to the shorter time, but the quality was there. The tea had a nice, soft mouthfeel, accompanied by a sweet taste with perhaps a hint of the smoke from the aroma. After the second brew, the dragon ball had already come apart completely. As one would expect, the resulting soup was now much bolder than before. The very nice mouthfeel continued being the highlight here. The flavors were soft and enjoyable. Sweet, maybe a bit vegetal if I stretch a little.

The third steep was even bolder. Quite bright. Maybe a touch tart. It kind of tasted like hot leaf juice, in a good way. It was also quite refreshing. The fourth brew was one of the money steeps. It was thicker and very flavorful. This is going to sound weird as it’s a first one for me as well, but what I tasted was egg yolk. Really, really good. The aftertaste was incredibly sweet.

While the fifth brew was still very flavorful, the tea was starting to show first signs of beginning to simplify. Texture-wise it was very easy to drink. The following infusion was really sweet, with the whisper of smoke making a small return in the finish. There was maybe some vegetal character as well and the texture continued being really nice.

The strength continued holding up in the seventh steep, but we were definitely entering the late steeps now. The liquor was sweet with a nice mouthfeel. Highly enjoyable. The sweetness left lingering in your mouth was crazy. Steep eight had a really wet and juicy texture. I could taste a fruity tartness, reminding me of the white part of an orange between the rind and the flesh.

Steep nine was very clean and still pleasant, but the flavors were now definitely starting to taper off. The soup was sweet, with a touch of orange rind present as well. The tenth infusion didn’t mix things up all that much. The soup was clean, sweet and mineral. Really nice and easygoing. Steep eleven was finally the last one I did. At this point I was starting to find the tea less enjoyable than before. It had flavor and sweetness, but it was starting to taste a bit diluted. Overall still quite pleasant though. Very clean and pure. I could have tried one more brew, but I decided to err on the side of caution and call it here.

Overall this tea was really good. I’m definitely a fan. This is a tea I can highly recommend to both those new to raw pu’er as well as seasoned drinkers. I got absolutely no harshness like bitterness or astringency and in terms of flavor Outlier should be quite approachable to new drinkers. At the same time there is a lot here for more veteran drinkers to enjoy. While priced as high as a quality Yiwu tea, it is as good as those teas and made quite affordable by being offered in dragon balls. If you’re wary of Outlier because of its origin, don’t be. This stuff’s good.

Flavors: Mineral, Orange Zest, Smoke, Sweet, Tart, Vegetal

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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I’ve been drinking loose leaf tea since around 2014 if I remember correctly, but the summer of 2016 is when I really became passionate about tea and I started brewing gong fu style at the start of 2017. While oolongs were my first love, I drink mostly pu’er these days. I do drink other types of tea with varying degrees of regularity as well, so I don’t discriminate.

I only review pu’er and don’t designate scores to any of the teas to encourage people to actually read the reviews and not just look at the scores. I tend to be thorough, so my reviews can run quite long, but I do try to always gather my thoughts at the end. These tasting notes are as much a record for myself for future reference as they are a review of the tea, so the format is something that’s geared to satisfy both.

You can follow my adventures on Instagram as tujukki.



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