by Little Yellow Teapot (a tea steeping marvel and occasional contributing author to this e-zine)
We’re loose and unpressed here in your fave little teapot’s kitchen, steeping some Menghai 2009 First Grade Ripe Loose Leaf Pu-erh that comes loose in a pouch, not pressed into hard-as-rocks disc-shaped cakes (aka “bings” or bricks or tuos) that you need a special knife to chip a piece off of to fit inside the teapot. The convenience of loose leaf tea and the goodness of pu-erh combined. And I know you humans need that with all the stuff you cram into a busy day.
Here is the third of five of these loose leaf teas we tried recently, and that holiday mood just gets better and better!
The dry tea has a stronger earthy quality in the aroma and flavor than the first two. So a shorter steep time is good here. One minute at most, unless you want that stronger flavor. 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) even though they are cute and there are several in my Tea Gang (so, nothing personal here). 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