Pu-OTTI 9, 90's Sheng Pu-erh


"Official Tea Tasting Initiative" Teas shared & discussed.

Re: Pu-OTTI 9, 90's Sheng Pu-erh

Postby gargoylekitty » Feb 11th, '11, 18:07

tortoise wrote:I've been trying to wait for a new pot to arrive to dive in, but you guys are challenging me. If it's not here today, gaiwan it is...


I was going to wait for a pot to arrive as well, though once the samples got here my resolve went right out the window.

Started off with #2, studying a lot for a test I have tomorrow, so admitting to not taking notes for this first round of tasting it(doing quick brews at ~195). Though, I am thinking now I should have eaten first since, while I love how earthy it is and am finding it similar to most other pu I've liked, I'm beginning to feel a bit giddy and lightheaded from it.

Gah, so good. :mrgreen:
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Re: Pu-OTTI 9, 90's Sheng Pu-erh

Postby the_economist » Feb 12th, '11, 00:41

MarshalN wrote:
the_economist wrote:
I really enjoyed the 8582, great flavour, great evolution of flavour over the infusions, and great huigan. I liked the deep aromatic rich tastes that came through. This was my first wet-storage sheng pu and it was quite something to realize what all the shu pu I had tried before was trying to emulate. Among the shu pu that I have tried, nothing comes close.


That's not true -- you had my sample before you tried the 8582 :p


haha nice catch...you're absolutely right. I was thinking about the sample from you and the 8582 together as I was writing this...
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Re: Pu-OTTI 9, 90's Sheng Pu-erh

Postby the_economist » Feb 12th, '11, 00:45

nada wrote:This bitterness, rather than being from the storage is the remnants of a strong bitter flavour that this tea would have had when it was young. As you may know, the Bulang area is famed for its strong, bitter teas. As the tea ages, this bitterness is rounding out into a thick flavour and good huigan.
With another 5-10 years, this bitterness should completely round out.

It's interesting that you note the bitterness at the back of the throat - this is one of the characteristics of old trees. The bitterness from young plantation trees tends to be more noticeable at the front of the mouth and tip of the tongue. My feeling is that the leaves of this cakes are mixed plantation/old tree.


interesting! never knew this little factoid. Definitely experienced both sorts of bitterness with this one, so I'd think your feeling was right.
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Re: Pu-OTTI 9, 90's Sheng Pu-erh

Postby JRS22 » Feb 12th, '11, 14:19

I had put the bulang in the fridge after 6 steeps. Today we got another 8 steeps out of it. I'm thinking that the low temp (180 degrees) was good for the first 6 steeps since they were complex and delicious without bitterness, but the next 8 could have used a higher temperature. My coffee-drinker puerh partner was there for all 14 steeps plus the rinse water and we decided that the next time I should use my smallest gaiwan and less tea and we're going to try to do all the steeps in one day.

I still feel like the tea smells as if it came from the forest floor, which it sort of did, but given that snow is still covering the ground here, plus there's lots of ice on the sidewalks, that's not an unpleasant aroma.
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Re: Pu-OTTI 9, 90's Sheng Pu-erh

Postby Seeker » Feb 12th, '11, 15:22

Worked with my 2nd half of #3.
185*, 10s, 20s steeps (after rinse of course).
I thought with 10 years of age the tea would handle 212* - so that has been an interesting learning experience.
With the lower temps the bitterness was almost completely eliminated, and the intense, cloying "campfire" aromas softened into very strong clear cedar, tobacco, and tree bark aromas. If I stretched my imagination, I could detect maybe something like sweetness or huigan at back of tongue/throat. Also, there were still hints of green in the infused leaf.
All in all a good learning experience, but this is not tea for drinking for me, rather tea for aging. Just not at all enjoyable as a drinking and sipping experience - but rather enjoyable as a learning experience.
cheers!
:D
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RABBITS OFFICIAL #1 REVIEW

Postby rabbit » Feb 12th, '11, 16:13

OTTI 9 Sample #1.

The dry leaves have the aroma of old dry earth, slightly sweet and dusty.

(flash rinse)

212f - 5s) The leaves have taken on a savory/sweet smell that is thick and reminds me of old varnished furniture. The liquor is a dark auburn color with a shiny surface, it tastes bold and smooth though not sweet like the smell would have indicated it to be, reminiscent of an "old dusty barn". I feel a strong qi with this one, nice umami as well.

212f - 10s) Meh... I think this was either too hot or too long a steep, bitter and too strong.

212f - 5s) MUCH better! :) The wet leaves have a sharper tangy smell, almost like a dry hay field on a hot day RIGHT after it rains. Sweeter now, still very smooth and mildly astringent. I can sense what I *think* is the taste (or sensation) of camphor. This one is already getting me loopy, hehe.

212f - 10s) The tea now has fruity undertones and is much sweeter than when I began, mildly astringent and still very "natural", with a direct mental connection to the autumn part of the year (more about that below).

212f - 15s) Smooth and sweet, the fruity undertones seem to be giving way to a dark chocolate flavor, still taste camphor. My favorite infusion so far.

In conclusion, I'd say this was a fine tea! I felt a strong connection to nature and the forest while drinking it, I wanted to be outside (if it weren't for the feet of snow out there!), and it brought the mental image of sitting on an old stone wall while a warm breeze blows crisp sunny autumn evening air and stirs the falling leaves.

Image Image Image
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Re: Pu-OTTI 9, 90's Sheng Pu-erh

Postby MarshalN » Feb 12th, '11, 17:29

Seeker wrote:Worked with my 2nd half of #3.
185*, 10s, 20s steeps (after rinse of course).
I thought with 10 years of age the tea would handle 212* - so that has been an interesting learning experience.
With the lower temps the bitterness was almost completely eliminated, and the intense, cloying "campfire" aromas softened into very strong clear cedar, tobacco, and tree bark aromas. If I stretched my imagination, I could detect maybe something like sweetness or huigan at back of tongue/throat. Also, there were still hints of green in the infused leaf.
All in all a good learning experience, but this is not tea for drinking for me, rather tea for aging. Just not at all enjoyable as a drinking and sipping experience - but rather enjoyable as a learning experience.
cheers!
:D


Seeker, I seem to remember you used long steeping times for the first tea. Are you still doing 1 minute for your first infusion? That seems inordinately long.
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Re: Pu-OTTI 9, 90's Sheng Pu-erh

Postby Seeker » Feb 12th, '11, 18:59

Hi Marsha,
Actually - I posted my temp and steep times: 185*F, 10s, 20s. And actually I posted slightly inaccurately, I forgot the initial 5s infusion. So my infusions were 5s, 10s, 20s.
Also, I understand and respect that this is a young, underdeveloped puerh that i think needs about 10 + years more of proper aging.
Some tea enthusiasts enjoy the intensity and under-ripeness/readiness of young puerhs, but I don't happen to. I've tasted too many old, well aged puerhs that are truly full bodied, rich, smooth, silky and balanced-earthy - pu's that truly sooth and heat as one sips and the liquor moves into the body - and these are the qualities I absolutely prefer in puerh, qualities that make it clear why such tea is a part of the chinese apothecary.
(edited)
Last edited by Seeker on Feb 12th, '11, 22:03, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Pu-OTTI 9, 90's Sheng Pu-erh

Postby nada » Feb 12th, '11, 21:17

Seeker wrote:...(as Nada has agreed earlier)...


Just for clarity - I haven't had the opportunity to taste this tea yet. My comments earlier were related to dry stored tea of this age in general. Hopefully I'll get the chance to sit down with this tea in the next day or two - my samples arrived this morning.

With the bug poo... there are a few folks on here who've had it in the past. I think if you search the blogs of MarshalN, Tim or the Puerh Livejournal group you'll find some accounts. While certainly interesting and unusual, I'm not really sure I'd rate drinking it amongst the more special tea experiences .
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Re: Pu-OTTI 9, 90's Sheng Pu-erh

Postby Seeker » Feb 12th, '11, 21:42

Hi Nada,
I guess we just disagree.
Perhaps we had really different 'bug' puerhs (as you call them), or perhaps our taste buds and olfactory aparati are very diverse.
Didn't know others on TC had tried this type of tea, didn't read/see those posts. Would have been interesting to read them.
Oh well.
Noticing that I am alone in my experiences of the underdeveloped puerhs, even about whether they are underdeveloped or not.
:?
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Re: Pu-OTTI 9, 90's Sheng Pu-erh

Postby tortoise » Feb 12th, '11, 22:50

Regarding the worm poo pu, I remember as I was leaving Seattle 3 years ago, some local shop was getting a lot of press for serving Cat Scat Coffee. I think it was coffee beans from Madagascar that had been digested by some exotic cat. Interesting...I'm sure it does have some effect on the stuff, but I wasn't going to pay 20 bucks for a cup of it to find out.

I've had the second sample. Brewed it 8 or 9 times in an inexpensive zhu ni pot and then tried it again in a gaiwan. I mostly brewed it around 190f. I'm withholding judgement til I sample the others.
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Re: Pu-OTTI 9, 90's Sheng Pu-erh

Postby MarshalN » Feb 12th, '11, 23:02

Seeker wrote:Hi Nada,
I guess we just disagree.
Perhaps we had really different 'bug' puerhs (as you call them), or perhaps our taste buds and olfactory aparati are very diverse.
Didn't know others on TC had tried this type of tea, didn't read/see those posts. Would have been interesting to read them.
Oh well.
Noticing that I am alone in my experiences of the underdeveloped puerhs, even about whether they are underdeveloped or not.
:?


I wrote about bug puerh here:

http://www.marshaln.com/2009/01/tuesday-january-6-2009/

I loved it, it's a great experience, but it's not the same as a well aged puerh.

I'm curious what you would consider a well balanced, well aged puerh -- just so we have a basis for discussion.
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Re: Pu-OTTI 9, 90's Sheng Pu-erh

Postby Seeker » Feb 13th, '11, 00:32

Hi Marsha,
Thank you for the link!
Great read. :)
I thought it was a great experience too, and certainly a different tea than mature, well aged puerh.
The stuff I got to try looked like really dark brown, almost black sand.
And it tasted very much like puerh, but definitely more full body, a thickness, not syrupy, but certainly thicker. I thought it tasted like puerh but more pronounced of the satisfying puerh flavors - earth, loam, fall leaves in a forest after rain, mushroom, mineral. Nothing poo-ey about it at all. I was under the impression that it is rare - is that incorrect?
To answer your question about what in my experience is smooth, earthy, rich puerh, unfortunately my information doesn't involve a recipe # or factory due to my experiences not being with tea I own nor been able to purchase. The good stuff I've tasted has been chiefly in tastings where I've been taught to taste the difference between shou and sheng, been taught about puerh in general, etc. The best stuff that I've experienced has been from private holdings in tastings at Teance. The private stuff belongs to the owner proprietor Winnie Yu, daughter of Chitfu Yu (calligrapher/artist). I think the oldest was 30 year and was a gift to her out of a family heirloom collection from a family in China. It was loose leaf, sheng, and amazing. Their 15 year puerh I also find to be really good (which they sell and so I own some). Essentially the flavors and aromas I look for and like are of good, forest earth, loam, mushroom, sometimes camphor, minerals, a slight pleasant saltiness sometimes, also sometimes soft, round aromas of wood, tobacco, hay, and/or alfalfa. Additionally I look for smoothness, balance of flavors and aromas, zero off-putting tastes/aromas, an augmentation of the fire element in my body, an overall soothing influence on my body.
As I drink and taste puerh tea I think of the following:
I've been taught that the tea industry is still attempting to recapture the art of puerh, and that the best teas originate from pre chinese revolution, and are almost impossible to acquire. I am further taught that due to the revolution, tea masters responsible for creating the pre-revolutionary puerhs either fled or were otherwise endangered and that the true art of puerh has been kind of lost - thus the attempts (by organizations "such as The Puerh Institute I believe) to figure out how it was done and duplicate the process. Also that the process came about originally by accident out of the way teas were transported on animal backs across vast distances and vastly varying altitudes, through varying climates etc, etc.
On top of this I have been taught that for the past couple of decades, 'Yunnan' has been 'selling'/marketing young puerh, ie - talking up it's various qualities in order to sell it, to maintain a revenue flow, and of course they would, they need to survive and this is their business. Problem is a lot of misinformation, baseless information, etc has come out of this. Also, lovers of young sheng puerhs have come out of this - which I think is really cool (even tho I don't happen to like it).
Essentially I guess we're waiting for teas to age that have been tasted in their youth by masters (as opposed to pure sales people) to again be tasted in their maturity so that the art can be decisively recaptured - then add in that there's all the vicissitudes of how to properly age the tea, and again tasting the tea at youth and at maturity and putting all this together, and my understanding is the jury's still very much out. (not that there aren't some very strong opinions out there - but I hold opinion and fact as often divergent).
So I am dubious about these intense young pu's, and just don't know if they will in fact turn out to be great at maturity (and I haven't met anyone yet who knows how to distinguish yet either - tho many claim to, and some of those are salespeople, while others are emotional about their investment, and yet others strong and righteous of opionion - but none have I met yet who're old enough to have tasted a tea at its youth and the SAME tea again at its maturity).
Anyone on here have the experience of tasting a young pu and then tasting it again (the exact same bing, cake, etc) 20 to 30 to 40 years later? Were copious notes taken? Etc, etc.
All this is on my mind as I drink any puerh and especially as I hear about any puerh.
Truth is, I have yet to taste a young one and say I truly enjoy the experience (as I do drinking a beautiful phoenix oolong, or matcha, or shincha or Sencha or silver needle etc).
But that's just me.
Long live the lovers of young shengs, and long live the rest of us too!
:D
Last edited by Seeker on Feb 13th, '11, 00:58, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Pu-OTTI 9, 90's Sheng Pu-erh

Postby OhJungMin » Feb 13th, '11, 00:44

It's finally weekend here so I could start tasting the Pu we got for this OTTI.
I opened envelope #1.
2 flash rinses.
1st infusion - 10s.
smell: moldy basement, taste - overwhelmed by the smell. didn't like that much
2nd infusion - 15s - smell is still strong. taste is getting better.
I decided to give it another flash rinse.
3rd infusion - 20s - smell finally is of Puer. nice and balanced taste - I can finally distinguish some deep notes in the tea. Can't wait to try the next cup.
4th and 5th cups - 20s - very nice aroma and taste is incredable.
Wow! this tea really opens up after 3-4 infusions...

I haven't looked at the key yet - will wait until I try all 3...
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Re: Pu-OTTI 9, 90's Sheng Pu-erh

Postby MarshalN » Feb 13th, '11, 02:23

Seeker:

Well, I'm not old enough to have tried 30 (or more) years old tea when they were young, but I know plenty of people who have, and everyone of them told me that when these teas were young they were 1) harsh and 2) undrinkable. They were, basically, nasty. Sourness, smoke, bitterness... all kinds of unpleasant tastes were in them. Some of my friends have had cakes in their possession for 20 years or more. I trust what they tell me, especially since they are not sales people and have no real reason to lie to me -- I have zero financial dealings with any of them, and in fact, have only been a lucky beneficiary of their generosity. So, while I would not categorically say that harshness is a pre-requisite for aging, I do find that the teas that among the teas that I have had for a number of years, the ones that were rougher earlier on have now generally lost much of that edge.

When it comes with puerh, I believe there is, indeed, a lot of misinformation, and one of the primary culprits of this is not actually the makers, but the vendors. Makers, by and large, have been making the same kinds of teas for years. The big factories still churn out teas that are largely similar to what they have been making twenty years ago. How they are sold, however, has changed drastically. Whereas 20 years ago very few people were buying teas to age personally, now you have a vast market of people buying young puerh to age themselves. That, more than anything else, has been the key difference in the market, past and present, and has presented different dynamics.

Specifically, makers have, in the past 10 years or so, been creating teas that are targeted towards immediate consumption, rather than future consumption. Teas that, for better or worse, are in the "drink it now" category, instead of the "drink later" category. Those, in my humble opinion, will generally turn out poorly in the long run. Some I have already witnessed to be terrible aging candidates after three or four years of aging, others I have no doubt will tread down the same path.

Looking at Teance's online offering doesn't really give me any sense of what they might sell, puerh wise, since all they sell on their site are cooked puerh of various sorts, usually of fairly low grade. The larger question here though is one of information: the community of puerh drinkers is large, very large. While there's plenty of misinformation out there, there are also many who have a lot of experience and know a whole lot about the subject. I learn the most when I am talking to various people, hearing different opinions, and then matching those with my own experiences. Through time, I have found that some whose opinions I valued early on in my tea-life are, in fact, self-interested vendors who were trying to pass me bad tea at inflated prices, and my idea of good tea has, gradually, shifted over time. There are lots of people in the SF area who drink tea. I'd imagine they all have their stories to tell.
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