Thursday, May 8, 2014

Teasenz: Mini Pu'erh Tea Bar, A Tea Review

Today I recieved an awesome gift from my awesome sweetheart, the gift of paper! Barnes and Noble has this great massive book (and I say book lightly) of origami paper in a load of fun patterns. This Origami Paper Mega Pack (as they are calling it) has more than 895 sheets of paper! Why they cannot just tell me the exact amount of paper is beyond me, but it doesn't matter since I prefer smaller paper and will most likely be quartering and cutting up all those sheets. I think I will need another box for all the paper I will get out of it since my other three are quite full.

For today's Teasenz tea, we are taking a break from springy greens and going with Mini Pu'erh Tea Bar, a nice candybar shaped block of ripe, 2012, pu erh. This is actually my first block of pu erh, and I had a blast breaking a nice chunk off for brewing. The aroma a great blend of sweetness, wet leather, peat, forest floor, and a touch of that slightly metallic market place aroma that I have come to love in ripe pu erh. This tea has a strong and quite bold presence, it does not demure! A very nice contrast to the green teas from earlier...almost a shock to the senses really, delicate, delicate, delicate...whoa, hello there!

Their website suggests brewing the tea in a yixing teapot, meaning this was the perfect oportunity to try out my new seasoned for ripe pu erh teapot! This lovely pot was a gift from my friend and fellow tea enthusiast. After the tea was rinsed and steeped, the aroma of the wet leaves is rich and earthy with strong notes of wet leather, loam, and wet pinewood. It has a wonderful summer forest floor after a rainstorm feel to it that makes a nature lover like me very happy. The liquid has a surprisingly smoky note, not a strong one, but the whisper of a distant forest fire. There are also notes of loam and pine wood.

The teapot is small by teapot standards, but I have gotten used to my tiny gaiwan and tiny servings, it just makes having a ton of steepings a lot easier, so I was only able to get three steeps before I started sloshing around like a very full Kool-aid man. The first impressions of the first steep, dense. Not in a 'this is a tea that is not passing its physics class' but more like 'this forest is very dense and heavy' kinda way. It fills up the mouth with the taste of loam, sweet wet pine wood, and a bit of the acrid peat. There is a tiny finish of smoke that ties the sipping off nicely, completing the forest aesthetic.

Steep number two and three had an identical aroma and taste. The aroma is very rich and earthy, it is loamy and dark with notes of wet leather and wet wood. The taste is very smooth, absolutely no bitterness whatsoever. There are strong notes of loam, pine wood, and wet leather with a stronger smokier finish. Unlike the first steep there is no sweetness in these two steeps, just smooth earthy tastes. Overall, I would say this is quite good! I am tempted to age my bar and come back for a visit once a year, let's see how much it changes.  This would be a great pu erh for someone who is wanting to give this type of tea a try since it lacks any of the unpleasant qualities that some ripe pu erhs can have.

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