Choosing a first time pu-erh tea

One of the intentionally aged teas, Pu-Erh has a loyal following.

Choosing a first time pu-erh tea

Postby Eristae » Mar 5th, '13, 21:41

So, I’m looking to broaden my tea horizons. I’ve been trying a lot of teas lately to see what kinds I like and I’ve been hearing good things about pu-erh. I’d like to buy some but I’m not sure what to go for. My town isn’t large and diverse enough to have a place that sells pu-erh, so my only likely source seems to be the internet. However, there seems to be all kinds of different pu-erh tea, and I don’t know where to start or how to pick one that I might enjoy.

A general summary of my tea tastes is thus:
Rooibos: Yum! As in, really, really yum!
Green tea: Yuck!
Ginger tea: Nice.
Chamomile: Probably good, although I’ve never had straight chamomile tea.
Black tea: Meh.
White tea: Wait, have I even bought any of this yet? Crap! I need to get some.

Glancing over this, it looks to me like I like sweet tasting , so my guess is that I should try to find a sweet tasting pu-erh. But I was hoping for some advice from people who knew what they were talking about, so any help that anyone might provide would be much appreciated. :D

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Re: Choosing a first time pu-erh tea

Postby shah82 » Mar 5th, '13, 22:14

Technically, young puerh tea is a green tea. Old puerh tea and fermented puerh tea do require some...adjustment...in tasting appreciation.

By the by, have you tried oolong tea?

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Re: Choosing a first time pu-erh tea

Postby GreenwoodStudio » Mar 5th, '13, 22:46

Puerh might not be the right choice right off the bat. You seem to enjoy herbals, which is not what most folk here refer to as "tea". I think oolong is a fantastic springboard for learning to enjoy Camellia sinensis and all it's endless variations.

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Re: Choosing a first time pu-erh tea

Postby futurebird » Mar 6th, '13, 01:00

I hated green tea because it was made with water that was too hot. Then I got it right and loved it. So I'm wondering if the green tea was prepared correctly?

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Re: Choosing a first time pu-erh tea

Postby debunix » Mar 6th, '13, 01:06

I'd third the recommendations for oolongs--there are lots of lighter 'green' oolongs, which are sweet and mellow, and then varying degrees of deeper roasted oolongs that let you work your way towards toasted and earthy flavors, and if you like those, head for puerh. The sweetness in puerhs come along with earthiness or sometimes bitterness, and oolongs are a gentler introduction to those qualities--absent a sympathetic local guide to demonstrate how particular brewing can bring out some sweetness in selected peurhs.

Greens, for me, are still trickier than puerhs. I love them when I get them right, but you need both good quality and fresh tea, and very careful attention to brewing times & temps. I wouldn't rule them out forever--after some explorations in oolongs and puerhs, you might want to give them another try.

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Re: Choosing a first time pu-erh tea

Postby GARCH » Mar 6th, '13, 01:48

I will put in another recommendation for oolongs. Specifically Phoenix oolongs should be a good start :D I remember my first taste of Mi Lan Xiang (Honey Orchid) reminded me of mangoes, both taste and aroma wise :lol: However they need some practice to brew properly. You can find helpful guidelines here

http://www.teahabitat.com/store/index.p ... ge=brewing

Pu-erh will be tough to pick as the wrong first choice might put you off for quite awhile :? However there are plenty of knowledgeable people here who can guide you into a decent first try if you choose to sample some.

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Re: Choosing a first time pu-erh tea

Postby ChengduCha » Mar 6th, '13, 08:33

You probably won't like sheng pu if you don't like green tea (although most widely available green tea in western countries is of awful quality) and if you like things sweetish I'd recommend this one to you:

http://www.yunnansourcing.us/store/prod ... product=36

The 2012 version is significantly cheaper at $12 but I have no idea how it compares to the 2009 one taste wise.

And maybe add a sample of this: http://www.yunnansourcing.us/store/prod ... roduct=179

Another sweetish thing to try is this: http://www.yunnansourcing.us/store/prod ... roduct=265

It lacks the astringency of sheng and it tastes very different from sheng and shu.

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Re: Choosing a first time pu-erh tea

Postby teaisme » Mar 6th, '13, 13:40

even if you have tried a few teas from certain catagories, I wouldn't rule out whole catagories of tea based on those experiences
There is lots of good black(red) I bet you would like if brewed correctly.

For a really sweet and fruity red tea, continuing on with YS recommendations, this is a nice intro
http://www.yunnansourcing.us/store/prod ... roduct=216

and a small review of that tea
http://half-dipper.blogspot.com/2012/05 ... ngcha.html

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