|"While it does display some interesting earthy fennel and date notes, this tea feels a bit thin and lacking in substance. Those looking for well developed fermented notes will be disappointed by the leaves' gentle and restrained profile. "|
Loosely following Teavivre's recommendations, I steeped 3 and a half teaspoonfuls of leaf for 2 minutes in 8 ounces of water heated to 95 degrees Celsius. The tea brews up very dark, close to coffee in colour. It has a faint toasted bread, licorice and wet pavement scent. Earthy wood and fennel flavours dominate the cup. There is also an important mineral component present, that unfortunately makes the tea taste rather watery to my palate. The finish is more exciting, mixing licorice, molasses and date notes. The overall feel is smooth but a bit thin. I'm happy to report that while they taste a little fermented to me, these leaves do not cross into an unpleasantly fishy or barn-like territory. While these flavours make themselves fairly obvious, there is something restrained and overly subtle about this tea.
I steeped the leaves again for 3 minutes. The cup is now sweet and minty in a Pepto Bismol sort of way, which for me is not the best of associations. There is also a savoury malt and toasted bread dimension to the cup that balances things out. The body feels more substantial this time around. I imagine someone who's not being reminded of being sick as a dog in various tropical vacation spots would enjoy it.
I tried a final third 4 minute-long infusion. The leaves feature a strong mineral component now. It becomes almost chalky tasting as it cools. Otherwise, this cup is closer to the first in flavour, with lots of date and fennel notes, the minty taste having mostly (thankfully) disappeared.
While it does display some interesting earthy fennel and date notes, this tea feels a bit thin and lacking in substance. I double checked this impression with a friend who enjoys drinking a lot of pu-erh. She concurred that this tea is not quite as flavourful as it should be. Novice pu-erh drinkers who have not yet acquired a taste for strongly fishy or barnyard-like flavours might be interested in experimenting with this tea. However, seasoned pu-erh drinkers looking for well developed fermented notes might be disappointed by the leaves' gentle and restrained profile.
— To purchase Teavivre Mengku Palace Ripened Golden Buds Loose Pu-erh 2007, or for more specific information on ingredients or the story behind this particular tea, click here to go directly to the manufacturer's web site.
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