Saturday, February 21, 2015

Puerh Tea, Aged 5 Years (#51)

Aged puerh
In Nature Teas

Ingredients: Puerh.

This is a very rich and complex puerh! I was thrilled to try an aged puerh for the first time. You can really sense the quality of the tea in the multiple facets of the flavor. It took some practice steeping to get it the way I liked, and it was so much fun to experiment with.

Beautiful tea and paper!

My very first steep, at 3 minutes, yielded a very deep coffee color. It smells of hay and a bit of raspberry. A deeper sniff brings out cocoa and spices or cloves. I see now that I failed at this first steep; I left it for much too long, and I took "immediate" too seriously in the recommended rinse time. I will rinse it a little longer next time.

Here's my "failed" first steep, with the first and second pour. I overdid that first pour. Too dark! I didn't use a teapot basket, so I couldn't remove all the liquid from the tea leaves immediately. The informational paper says to get the tea to "burgundy transparent--not black!"

The second steep is incredible! Looking back on it, I think I've still leeched out too much flavor beforehand, but at the time I really liked this light cup. The bitterness of my overdone first steep has faded, leaving a smooth flavor, but still with that taste of earth. It's a warm raspberry brown color. My hunting breed dog was really curious about the smell!

I'm loving the third steep the most. It's a more golden color with a comforting taste. The informational paper says it's warming in winter and cooking in summer. For iced, In Nature Teas suggests adding brown sugar or honey. Can't wait to try that!

So, I've learned that these small bricks are very potent! I might even use half a brick another time? Next time, longer rinse and shorter first steep.

The previous experience was an eyeopener, and it's time to try again. I'm drinking it for the second time now, having done a longer rinse. The hay aroma is strong (this was verified by a coworker who grew up on an Ohio farm), but the taste is more relaxed. Amazingly, just like my first impression, this coworker also mentioned raspberry when smelling the dry tea.

It's a very dark liquor, but the taste is surprisingly light in spite of the color. It's snowing outside in late February and the puerh is really helping with emotional and physical warmth! I'm getting more raspberry and cocoa notes under the earth taste. This time, the first steep was 1 minute, and the second was 2. I could probably experiment with more water and more time, too.

I steeped it a second time, and found it to be a bit sweeter.

I adore the third steep! I let the tea sit in my oversized teaball overnight, and it was still fine the next day! The flavor has smoothed itself out and it's nice and comforting. It's also filling, like coffee can be. The wet leaves even look like coffee grounds. And, the fourth steep is going really well with this peanut butter fudge cookie (gluten free of course, I said "no crumpets" didn't I?).

Perfect warmth for a day like this.

The package lists health benefits, such as support for the heart and blood pressure.

I love this puerh. It is comforting and bold at the same time. I look forward to continuing my relationship with it. Drinking this tea is an event unto itself!

Tomorrow I'll post on a second tea from In Nature Teas: the Spring Green Bilo Chun tea.

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