While sorting through the mail on Friday, I was extremely exited to see a box from Hou De Fine Tea. Finally, my new tea had arrived! The only thing standing between me a highly anticipated cup of tea was preparation time.
When I opened the package, I was pleasantly surprised to see that not only did Hou De Fine Tea send the tea I ordered, they also included an extra sample. The bonus tea sample… 2008 Taiwan Tai-Tung “hao Xian Bi Lu” Green. My excitement could not be contained.
That is until I decided to have a cuppa. Therein lies the conundrum… which of the four teas should I brew today?
My eyes landed upon a tea of much acclaim, yet new to my palate – a Puerh.
Composition: This young green cake was made of mao cha (a mostly unoxidized green tea) from Bulang, NanNuo, and Ge-Lan-He area with a portion of 06 big-leaf mao cha from old plantations in NanNuo.
Dry Visual: Dark green almost brown leaves with lighter green leaves interspersed. Mostly whole leaves there are a few crushed leaves and twigs alike intermingled in this loose tea. (A picture of the wet tea is included below.)
Dry Aroma: A strong smokiness blended with an earthy/woodsy smell.
Flavor: Upon the first sip I was somewhat surprised by the smokiness of this brew -I have never tasted a smoky tea. Surprisingly, the 5th International Aged Puerh Appreciation Memorial Dragon cake, was smooth with no hint of bitterness. My first few tastes were without a sweetener, while this tea can be enjoyed without, my preference would be to add a little honey. In my humble opinion, the honey balanced the smokiness giving this Puerh a more rounded flavor.
Liquor: A beautiful amber hue.
Brewing Time: Unable to find a recommended brewing time, I opted for 5 minutes.
Manufacturer: Chang Tai Factory. It was blended by Mr. Huang Chuan-Fan of Jing Mei Tang and processed by Chang Tai. Ordered from Hou De Fine Tea.
Special Note: The harvest year for 5th International Aged Puerh Appreciation Memorial Dragon cake is 2006/2007. The Production Year = 2007. It is the official Memorial cake for their 5th International Aged Puerh Appreciation party!
What is Puerh?
Puerh is a type of tea made from a “large leaf” variety of the tea plant Camellia sinensis and named after Pu’er County near Simao, Yunnan, China.
Sheng pu-erh can be roughly classified on the tea oxidation scale as a green tea and the shou variant as post-fermented tea. The fact that pu-erh fits in more than one tea type poses some problems for classification. For this reason, the “green tea” aspect of pu-erh is sometimes ignored. Many tea specialist argue that pu-erhs should have their own class.
I really enjoyed the Puerh. I cannot say it is my favorite – I am not sure how I feel about the strength of the smokiness. I will have to drink another cup to settle my feelings. What I would love to know is if the strong smoky flavor is characteristic of all Puerhs. Any insight would be appreciated.
Until then… Happy Tea Drinking!
Reference: Pu-erh tea. (2008, April 23). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 00:38, April 28, 2008, fromhttp://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Pu-erh_tea&oldid=207695304