Some tea experiences are unavoidably disappointing. And when a tea experience is frustrating, the best you can do is to learn from that experience in order not to repeat the same mistake again. While I did not have high expectations from this mini pu-erh brick, sheng (raw) pu-erh excites me. Judging by its age, I’d have thought to have a decent taste. But most of what I got was astringency and bitterness with a little bit of floral scent.
The colour of the liquor was all right (nice light amber) maybe a little too dark. However, when I looked at the infused leaves I was surprised to see almost more stems than leaves. Obviously, stems cause the astringency and bitterness and they are not easy to spot in a mini brick.
Luckily, I only bought a sample and I do not have to drink this tea again. However, this taught me once more how important it is to:
1- Know the origin of the tea (the seller or the wrap could inform you on this, in this case, I was unable to tell)
2- To see and try the tea before you buy it (especially if you buy in bulk)
3- To observe the infused leaves which follows the second point as they tell you a lot about the composition of tea leaves/stems/buds.
Albeit this was an unpleasant experience, I learnt from it and it will help me to find better teas. I will keep sharing my experiences with you and hoping that someone else will benefit from it. Today I could not quite enjoy my cuppa, I hope you did!
Harvest time: 2013
Leave colour: Light and dark green leaves/stems
Liquor colour: Light amber
Tea aroma: Floral
Tea taste: Astringent and floral
Steeping/brewing: You can use around 100°C water temperature and brew 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.