Review: Mark T. Wendell Organic Bold Leaf Pu-er

Mark T. Wendell, Organic Tea, Pu'er Tea Add comments
Geoff’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"In cases like these, I'm okay with being proven wrong."
Geoff’s Teaview: 8.9/10
Other Teaviews: Shaiha gave it 9.4/10, Jamie gave it 8.5/10
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Right off the bat, I'll say I'm not usually the biggest fan of shou pu-erh. Exceptions have come my way - usually cakes that have had additional aging on top of the ripening process - but not often. This earthy beast from Mark T. Wendell, however, was a striking sight.

The dry presentation for this was quite surprising. Even in loose leaf form, a shou pu-erh will still have the appearance of blackened, stringed-out rabbit pellets. This was light in color - different shades of beautiful brown - and possessed an actual earthy aroma. Not a low-quality "earth-fish" smell. All in all - by look alone - it reminded me of a normal, clean black tea.

Brewing instructions on the Mark T. Wendell site called for a two-to-five-minute steep in water brought to a rolling boil. With a normal black tea I'd probably err on the side of light and go with two-to-three minutes; a normal cooked pu-erh, four minutes or so. I decided to use my usual black tea approach with this due to its color to see if that would yield a positive result.

The infusion darkened to a cherry-copper liquor with an aroma I could only liken to new planting soil. I know, that doesn't sound very appetizing, but I rather liked the smell. The flavor had some of the trappings of cooked pu-erh - an initial feeling of "dirt" on the foretaste - but transitioned into something with a more woodsy texture; tree flowers, maybe. And I was pleasantly surprised by a slight sweet touch toward the end.

A second infusion at an undetermined steep time actually resulted in a sweeter cup. It was less earthy, more woodsy, but had a smoother delivery all around. I think this finally convinced me that loose shou pu-erh could be quite good. In cases like these, I'm okay with being proven wrong.

Visit Mark T. Wendell Teas for more information on this tea and many more from their extensive product catalogue.

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