365 Challenge > Day 170 - The worst sheng pu-erh I have ever tasted


I was at this dream-like park in Istanbul with a peacock hanging around. I decided to steep some tea as part of my 365 challenge. I had a mysterious sheng pu-erh given to me as a sample by a friend who also warned me that it might not be good. The leaves did not look too bad, and the cake was compressed some six years ago. My expectation was not high, but I was still very disappointed when I took a sip from this tea.


Not sure what I can say. I tasted rotten fruit (some infused leaves were of rotten consistency) with some plastic aroma seriously it was possibly the worst tea experience one could ever have. It also had some strong astringency and smokiness. I read about the latter as it usually indicates a bad quality pu-erh. It may be caused by the woks/ovens where the leaves are processed when the smoke cannot escape the room. This usually means poor infrastructure hence poor-quality tea.


I am not even sure if this tea is really from Yunnan. Sometimes, leaves from other regions are compressed and sold in the market as ‘pu-erh tea’. The storage, the leave composition, the processing everything might have gone wrong. This experience was unpleasant, but it only made me appreciate decent tea even more.


Tea Profile:


Type: Dark

Origin: Yunnan?

Harvest time: 2014

Leaves colour: Shades of brown

Liquor colour: Amber

Tea aroma: Smoky

Tea taste: Astringent, moldy and plastic-like

Steeping/brewing: You can use hot water around 100°C and steep 7 gr leaves for up to one minute in gongfu style or up to three minutes in Western-style. You can brew the leaves many times (until the taste is lost). To each infusion add additional time. Experiment for a result that suits your taste.

Shelf life: I would not keep it and throw right away.

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