|"Great idea, disappointingly executed."|
The first thing I notice about this tea is the extremely attractive packaging. It’s a small bar that’s packaged in Kraft brown paper. You see it and immediately think it’d be the perfect stocking stuffer. It’s really adorable, and I’m excited to try it.
Unfortunately, my experience goes downhill from there. The first problem arises when I try to break off two of the six cubes from the bar. If you drink brick pu-erh, you don’t want to break the leaves in half, so traditionally you insert a knife and gently pry out some leaves. I don’t want to break more leaves than necessary, so I try to pull the pieces apart gently, meaning the effect of the bar is immediately ruined since the pieces don’t break along anything resembling straight lines. So basically it’s pretty and impractical.
I attempt to break off two blocks, though it ends up being more like 1.5. I put it in a 100ml porcelain gaiwan, rinse, then steep for 30 seconds. It brews into a rich red-black liquor and smells more fishy than anything else. It tastes surprisingly sweet with earthy notes, a berry fruitiness, and a strongly acidic finish. It’s not great, but first steeps often aren’t, so I infuse again for 1 minute.
This steep is even less palatable than the first. It’s strongly acidic and bitter, and while there’s some fruitiness, it isn’t enough to balance the acrid character of the tea. I don’t end up finishing this cup as it’s one of the least appealing pu-erhs I’ve had.
I think maybe it’s just not a good gong fu tea and try again with less leaf and less time. It’s a better cup, but it’s still not something I want to drink. Overall, it’s just too harsh a tea to be something I want to drink. Great idea, disappointingly executed.
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