by Little Yellow Teapot (a tea steeping marvel and occasional contributing author to this e-zine)
“Par-TEEEEA!” Oh, yeah! Free and easy is our mantra, especially with this Yongde 2010 First Grade Ripe Loose Leaf Pu-erh, all loose in its pouch and easy to spoon out just the right amount to steep. No 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. Us teapots appreciate it, and so should you humans with all the stuff you cram into a busy day.
Here is the fourth of five of these loose leaf teas we tried recently, and that party atmosphere is ratcheting up!
The dry tea has a earthy, musty aroma. But not excessively so. The flavor is a bit like raw mushrooms. Note the dark color, but it is totally unlike those dark-steeping black teas out there, especially since there is no bitterness. You can steep the same leaves 5, 6, or even more times, making this tea’s cost per cup very low. And no need for fancy or unusual teawares such as gaiwans (little lidded bowls used in many Asian countries) which are nevertheless very cute and great members of my Tea Gang. 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