63 Tasting Notes


About two years ago I discovered pu-ers can be flavored when I bought a harmless looking cake from a drugstore in Chinatown that I frequent.

It all boils down to the “cha-qi” for me, both in terms of intensity of flavor and the quality of buzz elicited. From the moment I washed the leaves of this Long Run cake, the floral aroma was promising and true. The liquor is of a pale amber caste, maybe a wee bit cloudy by purist standards. The leaves are on the dainty side, green with young tender stems.

I’ve already had four infusions. The second was for 30 seconds and that was too long because it became too bitter, so I strongly recommend only 15-20 sec. I can’t really detect any sweetness. I’ve never found jasmine to be as sweet as it smells. It’s probably good for another seven infusions, though at one setting that would be altogether too much of this tea. It’s just that potent.

This is a tea-drunk tea. You may want to be careful about drinking on an empty stomach. I think it would be great as a first measure to clear a headache of any type.

I drank a lot of jasmine tea when I lived in Beijing, but none of it was jasmine pu-er. The question obviously begs as to the differences. I’d guess that it’s the cha-qi, because I can’t detect any smokiness, which is a fav for me among the raw pu-ers.

It is a very up-lifting tea. Those fond of jasmine tea will love it.

175 °F / 79 °C 0 min, 15 sec

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Earthy, mushroomy pu-er. For the life of me I cannot detect any citrus taste to it, though the idea of aging in a mandarin peel is interesting.
Not a lot of cha-qi to this one. Maybe a good starter for introducing folks to pu-er.

195 °F / 90 °C 1 min, 15 sec

it’s still a good tea

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The thing with really good raw pu’ers is that they taste better with each infusion. This one seems to bottom out fairly quickly, that is in terms of complexity and richness of flavors.

So much depends on storage. I had another raw pu’er which I tasted upon purchase and then once a month after placing it in a proper storage container. After three months, the tannins had mellowed and after 6 months it was a perfect balance of bitter, sweet and smoky.

This Bana cake has some nice smoky note initially but it goes away quickly. I’ve had this now for more than a year and a half and will now place it in a zisha container and see how it develops. It really needs to find its “sweet-spot.”

180 °F / 82 °C 0 min, 15 sec

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I’ve been drinking Chinese tea since the early 90s when I was a student at Peking University.
My attention has focused on pu’ers, since by profession I’m a doctor of Chinese medicine and sometimes find it a useful lifestyle addition.
From there, I started importing, mostly for patients and other health professionals but also as an interesting hobby that can deepen individuals’ understanding of Chinese medicine.


Los Angeles

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