I'm very new to this website, but have enjoyed everything I've seen so far.
I've never experienced Pu-erh, but I saw a documentary about tea many years ago that had a segment about it, and since then I have wanted to try it. Just the other day my wife was shopping here in Kentucky, USA, and the store next to the store she was in was a tea shop. I wandered in to look around.
The store had decent variety of very predictable loose teas, but then off to the side I noticed that they had one variety of pressed Pu-erh. Thinking back to the documentary I saw, I decided that I had to buy this.
Unfortunately, the packaging looks pretty generic, and the wrapper is in Chinese and I cannot read it. There are very few words on it really, so I'm not sure if anyone can give me too much information about this, but perhaps someone can. All I know is that the guy at the store told me that it was aged "8 years."
With this being my first Pu-erh and the means in which I found it, I'm assuming that it's not a very good one, but maybe it will be. I don't mind starting out with a mediocre one if that means the next one I try will be better. Unfortunately I have a cold right now so I haven't tried to brew it-- I think my sense of taste won't be accurate. The dry tea does have a wonderful smell though, so hopefully that says something about how it will taste. In Kentucky we are known for our horse farms, and not so much recently, but also tobacco farms, both of which I can smell hints of in the dry tea, so it has a nice comforting aroma.
Here are some photos of what I have. If the label alone isn't helpful, does the color or detail of the tea itself say anything about it? I've read that there are two categories of Pu-erh, shou and sheng, but I don't know much about that yet.
Anything to keep in mind for brewing this particular pu-erh? I've read some information suggesting short brew times (30 seconds or less for first infusion) yet other sources are saying 2-5 minutes. I guess I'll try a very short time first and then increase it if I think the concentration isn't strong enough. One method I read about said to pour some hot water on the tea and then immediately drain it out before adding water again for the first infusion, saying it was necessary to do that as a way of washing the tea first. Is that a general rule that I should follow? I've never done that with my loose teas, but I can definitely start doing that if it's a good idea.
Thank you for taking time to help me. I look forward to learning more about Pu-erh and tea in general as well as sharing my experiences with everyone.