My tasting notes: loose ripe Pu Erh
The first time I had pu erh was a long time ago and I didn't even know it. Back then, the only thing I knew about tea was that I liked it a lot. One day a relative gave me a round colorful cardboard box with black Chinese characters. Inside the box, wrapped in paper, there was tuocha, a dome-shaped compressed tea, made of pu erh. I cannot describe the fascination this little box exerted on me. It might have not been very high quality tea but to me it was like a treasure. You had to grate the dome-shaped cake to make a cup of tea and this process alone had something magical to it. The tea was strong, intense.
What is pu erh? It is a fermented and aged Chinese tea which can be compressed in cakes or bricks. Pu erh can be raw or ripe according to the way it is processed. The tea I am tasting here belongs to the second type and, unlike my very first pu erh, it is not compressed into a cake.
Ripe Pu Erh, Smacha, Bellevue, Washington
Tea Name: Shou Pu Erh, Ripe Pu Erh, Cooked Pu Erh
Origin: Feng Qing, Yunnan, China
Ingredients: Ripe Pu Erh
Water Temperature: 200 F / 93 C
Steep Time: 2 minutes
Preparation Method: porcelain gaiwan
Leaves/Water Ratio: 5-6 grams, 5 oz / 150 ml filtered water (Brita)
dry leaves: dark grey / dark brown with golden hues, thin, short
wet leaves: dark, almost black
liquor: almost as dark as drip coffee with a red / rusty hue
dry leaves: woodsy, earthy, smoke-y, leather
wet leaves: resinous
liquor: woodsy, aromatic, resin
liquor: ashy, smokey, rich, smooth, a little tannic, astringent
MOUTHFEEL: full bodied with a mineral aftertaste, very long finish lingers in your mouth
FOOD PAIRING: dark chocolate with high cocoa content. As an ingredient in a smoky martini cocktail. With a rich and creamy porcini mushroom risotto. They say it can neutralize oily and greasy tastes and help with digestion, which makes it great to accompany a rich meal.
OVERALL IMPRESSION: a full bodied tea not for the faint of heart. Great complexity of aromas.
Disclaimer: I purchased this product with my own money and I was not asked to review it. This is my honest opinion. I am not affiliated with Smacha nor with the manufacturer of this product.