1998 Ripe-Pu-erh Tea Ball-PB98

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Pu-erh Tea
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3 Tasting Notes View all

  • “11 steeps, 5-45 seconds. Started off by giving this tea two 5 second washes because I had a feeling it was going to take a while for the ball to expand. Which it did. The color began as a light...” Read full tasting note
  • “Free sample provided by ESGREEN. Thank you! I received about half a dozen of samples from ESGREEN two months ago and I wanted to try this Pu Erh ball with gaiwan which I didn’t have at that time,...” Read full tasting note
  • “I received this as a free sample along with my pu-erh gift order. Thank you Esgreen for the sample! Leaf Quality: This tea came in the form of compact tea globes. The leaves themselves were easy to...” Read full tasting note


The ripe pu-erh tea material has been pressed into separate tea balls. Each tea ball made from 10-15g loose-leaf tea material. Convenient to steep and store up.

Shape: Ball
Weight: Around 500g/Tube, About 45 piece totally.
Type: Shu Cha Ripe/Cooked
Vintage Year: 1998
The Region of Harvest: Yunnan Province, China
Plant Type: Yunnan Big Leaf Bush
Leaf Grade: 5-6th Grade Leaves.

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3 Tasting Notes

28 tasting notes

11 steeps, 5-45 seconds.

Started off by giving this tea two 5 second washes because I had a feeling it was going to take a while for the ball to expand. Which it did. The color began as a light amber, but on the third cup, everything changed to a ruddy burnt umber color. Even the texture thickened. For a second, I thought I was pouring out water from a clay river.

At first the taste was the spiceless earthy flavor of many ripe pu’erhs. Which is to say not much excitement at all for my western taste buds. The fourth and fifth cups yielded some odd metallic notes, but after that it sweetened up a bit, reminding me of honeybush tea (especially with the color). Shortly after this, I detected another distressing toxic flavor that gave me an ugly feeling in the back of my throat. This was when I put the tea down for the night and let the leaves rest. But being the glutton for punishment that I sometimes am, and really wanting to give this pu’erh it’s due, I rinsed the leaves off in hot water and charged them back up for 4 more brews over breakfast the next day. By the seventh or eighth cup (total), an enjoyable masa (corn flour) taste developed. Toward the last good steep there was a brief maple flavor that developed, but like most of the other notes, it was nearly undetectable. Then, on the tenth steep, the color went out almost entirely and I was pouring out nearly clear water. I tried one more steep just to be sure, but that was that. The leaves turned off just as shockingly as they had turned on in their burst of crimson.

So based on this one experience, it was a rather unpredictable and unenjoyable tea. Did I do something wrong? I was really pushing myself to find some redeeming qualities, but maybe this tea is just not for me.


I know some pu erhs to taste odd because they haven’t been aired and stored properly. Could this be the problem?


It shipped to me from china in a pretty flimsy plastic bag. No idea how it was stored before that. What is the best method to air the tea?


Pu erh should be stored in a clean environment (as it absorbs smells and flavours if kept with other items). My Chinese friend said that paper is fantastic for storing your tea in but it’s not that easy or practical for me so I keep mine in a small cardboard box in my kitchen. It can get the air around it to help mature it but also to help it stay fresh. Plastic is a no no for the tea as it’s not natural, meaning the tea may gain the smell and taste of plastic over time. A sugar or coffee canister should be fine as long as it’s made of natural material such as wood. Don’t store anywhere too hot, too cold, too bright or smelly. The more airtight the container is the slower the aging process shall be. Clay jar… paper bag..anything natural :) I rambled on but I hope you understand what I mean.


Wow thanks! I will have to get all my pu’erh out of the plastic asap! So what is the consensus on storing pu’erh with other pu’erh? Wouldn’t the smell of one pu’erh impart its flavors to another? It just doesn’t seem reasonable to have a perfectly sized box for each individual cake or mini tuo cha.


I store all of my pu erh together but each type is separated by paper (just wrapped around like an individual parcel). They don’t seem to change in fragrance or flavour as I can still tell the difference. But I agree it’s not very practical to have a kitchen full of boxes each with a tea inside. I have over 50 different varieties of pu erh and I only have a tiny kitchen lol.


Haha. That is awesome. Thanks so much for all the insight!


Hi, this tea ball was stored in a tree bark tube originally. As my personal experiences I would prefer steeping it with over boild water(big bubbles), wash and risen it for 3-4 times before drinking. And steep it 10-10-20-20-30-40-50secs-this tea ball could normally be re-steeped for for 8-10 times. But I strongly recommend not keeping the infusions over night. And yes, airing pu-erh for over a week could reduce the old,oxidized taste. But normally airing process is for tea cakes, bricks and Tuo.

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69 tasting notes

Free sample provided by ESGREEN. Thank you!

I received about half a dozen of samples from ESGREEN two months ago and I wanted to try this Pu Erh ball with gaiwan which I didn’t have at that time, but I was fortunate enough to have won 3 Oz gaiwan on eBay auction recently, for quite a bargain price of $4.25 with free shipping.

I did a total of ten infusions with my 85ml gaiwan with water temperature of 90-95 Celsius. This 9,5 gram Pu Erh ball has a faint earthy touch with minty note in front. Reminds me of mini tuo cha but with more serious look about it. With two washes
of ten seconds each I did my first steep with like 15 seconds.

1st – 15s

What I got was dirty brown and pink-ish infusion that could/should have been another leaf wash, but I drank it anyways. It had a nice flovery (or should I say ‘orchid’) note with roasted background finishing with a hint of pleasant bitterness. When I thought about it few moments later, it reminds me of liqueur as I picked up an alcohol-like note radiating from my throat. After a few sips I start to get a tingling, almost pricking sensation in throat with numb, sore throat sensation as I finish the cup. There is very little sediment at the bottom.

2nd – 15s

In second steep I got a deep and thick brown-red liquor that is typical for well infused ripe Pu Erhs. For some reason I associate this appearance with that of strong black coffee. Earthy note is overpowered with roasted impression and you can sense a decent orchid fragrance at the very end. Liquor is smooth with strong character and long lasting roasted note. Coffee, anyone?

3rd – 20s

Appearance of third infusion is identical to that of the previous one. In terms of tasting it’s almost identical to third infusion but with a certain dryness on tongue root with diminishing orchid note. As I was careless to drink this tea on empty stomach I started to feel a punch so I had a quick bread and dry meat snack to prevent any further discontent.

4th – 25s

Identical to previous one and it really goes well after a meal.

5th – 30s

The best infusion! It’s identical to previous two but with more balanced notes and really nice thickness.

6th – 40s

This is where I started to increase from additional 5 to 10 seconds and it really proved out to be a good decision. Enjoying a rich cup of dark brew!

7th – 50s

At this point I start to get a feeling that liqour color is slowly fading out as I could see a circle imprint on the bottom of the cup. It’s still deep and tastes nice without any significant changes though. The ball shape of leaves has completely dissolved by now.

8th – 65s

Raising time for additional 15 seconds. I’m definetely sure that it’s loosing more of color intensity. I thought that this would be a sturdy, monotonous Pu
Erh, but no, citrus rind note emerges out of the blue along with peppery sensation on tongue and notable mint-like freshess airing from throat.

9th – 75s

I did only 10 seconds increase on this one because I got a feeling that I might be ‘squeezing too much of the juice’. What I god was a nice minty aftertaste with faint citrus and peppery notes from previous infusion.

10th – 90s

I really thought that liquor color would fade to pink hue by now, but it isn’t. It’s keeps decreasing in intensinty but still it’s like 5 more steeps away.
Oh well, this is going to be my last infusion for this session. I feel that my senses (and stomach) are saturated. Mineral note is prominent in this one, and when I look
back it started to apear around 8th infusion but I really didn’t pay that much attention to it.

All in all this is the best Pu Erh I’ve had so far in terms of strong and roasted character. It has much to deliver and it can be a bit dull in first few steeps but it has a few nice surprises later on if you stick with it.

I was careless enough to forgot to smell the wet leaf. Bummer.

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115 tasting notes

I received this as a free sample along with my pu-erh gift order. Thank you Esgreen for the sample!

Leaf Quality:
This tea came in the form of compact tea globes. The leaves themselves were easy to separate whole from the ball for easier brewing. The scent was nice, earthy, and mellow. The short rinse I gave the tea globe got rid of all of what little stems there were. The rinsed leaves smelled very mellow as well, and had mossy and malty tones to them. After the first brewing, the tea carried the faint scent of barley and earth.

Brewed Tea:
The brewed tea had a mild mossy flavor with light smokey undertones. This tea has definitely mellowed out over the years. The dark amber brew was very smooth and left a sweet and malty aftertaste.
Second Steeping
The second brew was much the same as the first. Mellow, earthy, malty and sweet with slight smokey undertones. The aftertaste was a bit different. Muscatel notes shown through.
Third Steeping
The smokey undertones mellowed out quite a bit for this brew. In stead, it was replaced with an aftertaste similar to mushroom or fungus. The liquor is getting silkier with every steep, with about the same amount of earthiness thus far.
Fourth Steeping
This steeping had more body then the others. There was a heavier earthy presence along with a woody finish.
Fifth Steeping
This brew was very sweet and had a stronger essence of cooked mushroom.
Sixth Steeping
Though brewed longer, this brew was substantially lighter than the rest. The color was a pinkish-amber. This steeping was as sweet as the previous, but the earthiness had completely left. There were more wood tones.
Seventh Steeping
This was very mellow and sweet. Nice woody notes still held strong.

This was a great tea. This aged rather well in my opinion.


I like that one too, reminds me of hearty brew of coffee that my stomach forbids me to have.


This was definitely a great sample.

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