by Little Yellow Teapot (a tea steeping marvel and occasional contributing author to this e-zine)
Ever wanted to try pu-erh tea but then found out it involved those hard-as-rocks disc-shaped cakes (aka “bings” or bricks or tuos) that you needed a special knife to chip a piece off of to steep? Who has time for that when you’re rushing to and fro with work, kids, and holiday activities? Or even just in your daily routine? This little teapot knows the kind of schedule you humans keep. So, more and more tea makers in China are keeping their pu-erh loose instead of pressing it into bricks. That’s good news for you and a bit easier on my humans, to be sure. Not to mention on your fave teapot tea reviewer – me!
Here is the first of five of these loose leaf teas we tried recently. This tea really got us into the holiday mood!
The dry tea has a mild, earthy aroma and flavor. And you can steep the same leaves 5, 6, or even more times, making this tea’s cost per cup very low. You also don’t need any fancy or unusual teawares such as gaiwans (little lidded bowls used in many Asian countries). You can steep this tea in a pretty popular style of teapot like me. TOOOOT!
Some things to note about ripe pu-erhs:
- They go through a process after the basic leaf processing that ages them faster than normal.
- These teas are known for their lack of bitterness, even if you oversteep them (which, of course, I never do).
- The aroma and flavor can be an acquired taste, often described as earthy, like rotting leaves, or like raw mushrooms.
- When properly made, they can be aged further and get even mellower and richer in flavor.
Disclaimer: all items were furnished by the vendor but all opinions expressed here are totally unbiased.
© 2014 A.C. Cargill photos and text