Adventures in pu-erh, day 2.
This one came loose. It has big, coarse, dark leaves that look rather like the leaves of a Big Red Robe oolong. They don’t smell at all fishy, for once. They smell of earth, soil, and something aromatically volatile, like resin.
I rinsed twice and steeped in the gaiwan with boiling water. I went 10, 10, 20, 40 (an accident, I meant to do 30), 40, 60, 120, 240, 360, and 480. My attention span being what it is, I wanted to stop around steep four. But nevertheless, I persisted.
And I’m glad I did because somewhere around the four minute steep, the tea changed. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
The tea started with a medium copper liquor (the run off looks pink, as I’ve experienced before and find interesting), which got darker through the first four or so steeps to a cognac color and then lightened up again.
Through the entire experience, I was very conscious of drinking something that came from plants. The early steeps were heavy on the leather, earth, and mushroom notes, but then became more woody. Like sticks. The leather notes faded away as did the mushroom ones. The tea became milder and almost sweet.
Around steep four, it became something different, very mild, with a flavor of its own that I’m having trouble defining. The character was like cocoa to me, but the flavor wasn’t quite that. I also want to say it reminded me of whisky, but not in an alcohol sense if that makes sense — there wasn’t anything chemical about the flavor. Maybe it’s tobacco and I’m getting it confused with those other smells that come out of mens’ clubs with heavy wood furniture and red leather upholstery.
Yeah, I’m going with tobacco.
Anyway, it’s a really interesting tea that is worth hanging with. If I’d continued, so would it have.
Flavors: Earth, Forest Floor, Leather, Mushrooms, Resin, Tobacco, Wood