Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Man Cha Teas: Puer Tea, A Tea Review

Today I learned that cooking a meal with two professional chefs in the house is a real adventure. In proper housemate fashion we are taking turns cooking dinner, I am not a cook, you have probably all figured out by now that my forte is baking. Specifically baking sweets of the gluten free variety, when the chefs leave the kitchen to me. But oh when I try to cook a meal the chefs hovered and helped and eventually took over. I do not mind because I am an awful cook, learning is great, but being reminded how terrible I am at cooking is humbling. At least I know I can provide everyone with mounds of baked yummies! Also I am pretty sure everyone's goal now is to fatten me up...and where did that giant cauldron come from?

Back to Hong Kong we go thanks to Man Cha Teas! Their Puer Tea is a fantastic compressed cube of good fortune, my photo does not do it justice, but it is compressed with the Fu character, which translates to good fortune. I find the name of this tea a bit refreshing, it is just Puer Tea, I know from its appearance that it is Shou and from the website that it is from Yunnan, not knowing the factory and such means no expectations, which is like a fun adventure! The aroma of the little cube is a typical Shou, very earthy, with notes of wet loam, peat, old wet leather, and wet oak wood. The oak wood notes give it a bit of sharpness similar to a woody black tea. A tannic quality that leans more towards malty heaviness than brightness.

Brewing the tea in my standard elephant Duan Ni Yixing teapot, the aroma of the wet (and not so much cubed anymore) is sweet and earthy, like really sweet, lots of molasses and caramelized sugar with a hint of maple syrup too. There is a bit of loam and soil at the finish making it not all sweetness, but I am really impressed by the sweetness of this tea. The liquid is is loamy and sweet, with molasses and soil, also a hint of pepper and nutmeg, my first spicy puerh, fun!

The first steep has a crazy thick moutheel, soupy and almost syrupy like pine sap. The taste is very earthy, like a full mouth of loam, clean soil, and a nice burst of peat. The earthiness transitions to sweet molasses and leather and a fun finish of pepper. Surprisingly this puerh was cooling rather than the more familiar warming sensation I am used to with Shou.

Onward to the second steep! The aroma is earthy with notes of wet loam, forest floor after a summer rain (specifically a pine forest) and again a touch of pepper. The tasting starts with the thick moutheel again, it coats the mouth it its thickness while not being cloying. The taste itself is similar to the first steep, but the sweetness is more mellow and the earthiness more pronounced. The leather and pepper notes at the finish are there as well, in fact this tea kinda reminds me of sinking into a comfy leather chair, it has a comfortable, homey feel to it.

The third steep continues with the earthy aroma, reminiscent of forest floors and summer rain, with the now familiar touch of pepper. This steep is earthy and mellow, I find myself very relaxed by it and I keep dozing off in my chair, which sadly is not leather to evoke the leather taste notes in the tea. The finish has lost its pepper finish and replaced with gentle wood.

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