Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Teavivre: 2006 Fengqing Raw Pu-erh Tea Tuocha, A Tea Review

Crafting the Tea Advent Calenders officially starts today, since yesterday was the final day of gathering supplies. The total amount of calenders I am making this year is 13, that is a ton of origami envelopes to fold, but I am up to the challenge. I estimate that it will take me about a week to cut all the paper and fold them, of course I won't be doing much of anything else recreational while I am working on it. I am excited for it, but I am a bit of an origami addict.

 Today's tea is 2006 Fengqing Raw Pu-erh Tea Tuocha, by Teavivre, a Sheng Pu-erh hailing from Fengqing, Yunnan, home of many great Pu-erh teas. This particular tea was plucked back in April of 2006, I am going to be honest, I do not even remember what I was doing back then! It must be an awesome feeling to pick a tea and process it, knowing that it might be many years before anyone drinks it, and seeing how it changes over those years. The aroma of this tea reminds me of nature, it is like being on the edge of a pine forest and a field right after a summer rain storm. There are notes of wet hay and wet wood, along with fresh pine and camphor, also a little hint of flowers and minerals, much like rain water. It is very sweet and refreshing.

Giving the leaves a brief rinsing and steeping, the now quite soggy leaves smell of wet hay, cooked spinach, camphor, and a bit of a barnyard finish. The liquid is quite sweet, a mix of fresh hay, sugar cane, and camphor. I am really digging the camphor notes, you just don't run into that often so it is a treat.

The first steep is delicious! It starts of sweet like sucking the juice straight out of a sugar cane. This transitions to a slightly sour taste and a cooling mouthfeel with a finishing zing of camphor. The end of the sip is fresh hay and a cooling sensation that lingers. I think I should drink this when I have a cold, because it feels so clearing to my chest.

For the second steep the aroma is still very sweet, with notes of sugar cane, hay and that oh so invigorating camphor. I want everyone to know that why I am writing this, I am also painting my miniatures, tea and painting go together really well. The taste of this steep starts out with the sour note, which immediately causes a salivary effect making the tea sugar cane sweet. There is a cooling sensation that lasts until right before the end, at which there is a slight bitterness that fades into a sweet aftertaste.

Third time around the aroma is more fresh hay and sweet, with only a hint of camphor at the finish. The taste is intensely sweet and causing so much of a sour salivary mouth response, I love it, this might be one of my favorite things about Sheng Pu Erh. I have noticed that Sheng Pu Erh that has this mouth response and cooling sensation that I do not have any stomach problems, so that is awesome! The finish of this tea is now dry and somewhat bitter. I tried to go for a fourth steep and was greeted with a sweet explosion that immediately turned to intense bitter. I imagine that a more advanced sipper of Sheng could push through this to discover even more epic sweetness and flavor notes, but I am still learning the art of the raw pu erh.

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