|"Tastes like black tea gone mad with malty-ness. A bear of a tea!"|
When I encountered this Persimmon Tree(PT) version named "Honeysuckle," I cast dispersion aside with the hope that not every post-fermented leaf would have to be so...ripe. My risk taking was greatly rewarded. PT's Honeysuckle is a black tea lover's most sensuous dream.
Just when I thought that black tea flavor could get no blacker, no heartier, no more robust, this misnamed leaf sent me over the top. It was full and strong without bitterness, no matter how long I brewed it. But the last thing it reminded me of was honeysuckle. If I stretched my mind, I could picture a big black bear eating honeysuckle berries, but this tea would be the bear, not the berries.
PT's website said this tea is high in caffeine. Well, it sure didn't feel like it to me. After a huge mug of Assam or Ceylon, my stomach knows it has been doused in a stimulant. I can only drink so much. This stuff was so easy on my gut, I couldn't wait to make another pot. It must be the mold. Yes, mold is what gives pu-erh its distinctive flavor and health properties. The leaves are fermented in a warm, wet, pile; a process more similar to composting than tea production. I'm glad I didn't know all that before I tried it.
I have made my peace with pu-erh and its mold and its funny-sounding name. It broadened my tea-appreciation range, tasted good and was easy on my entire digestive tract. I think all that deserves a 10 rating.
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