JeffMI wrote:No, this will be my first experience with Pu-erh so I didn't want to start with a giant cake because I am not sure if I will like the tea or not.
Many vendors sell samples, and there is some good loose pu'er on the market as well. While there may be some exceptions, generally, you are unlikely to find much, if any, quality pu'er in those mini-tuo, and other similarly sized products. There are some practical reasons for this (discussed elsewhere on this forum).
While I'm not a big fan of the "buy a cake as a sample" school of thought, with ripe tea, there are some pretty good teas available at fairly low prices, which I really don't think you will go wrong with (though some of the classic Menghai blends' prices definitely have gone up a bit since I last checked!). You can start withviewtopic.php?p=157277http://puerh.blogspot.com/p/new-to-puer.html
and similar posts for some suggestions.
While I wouldn't normally recommend older ripe pu'ers, some of the loose offerings from Bana tea are really nice, and available as loose tea and in sample sizes:http://www.banateacompany.com/pages/puerh_teas.html
I especially recommend 1994 "Zhang Xiang", and I believe Brandon likes the "Lotus Scent".
This one is also not bad, at least if it's the one I tried a while back. Gong ting is made with small buds, and has its own interesting character. I think this one is an older one.http://www.newcenturyteagallery.com/pro ... tegoryId=9
I would suggest doing 2 rinses with ripe pu'er (try less leaf, longer infusions), and at least 1 with raw pu'er.