How do you choose pu-erh?


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

Re: How do you choose pu-erh?

Postby shah82 » Jul 27th, '13, 19:19

/me takes pity...

Buy this http://www.banateacompany.com/pages/pue ... rVint.html . Best $33 for a n00b like you spent. Very expensive for just 56 grams, but dems the breaks if you don't really know anything, yet.
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Re: How do you choose pu-erh?

Postby MarshalN » Jul 27th, '13, 19:37

JD wrote:Got the first 10 teas last week. They threw in 2 freebies from 2013 listed below.

Freebies:
2013 Huzhuliangzi #1469
2013 Changda Hao Yibang #1466

The Huzhuliangzi looks nice with several buds in it. I haven't tried either of them yet.

Here's a list of what I've tried and thought about each. Sadly, most of these teas taste exactly the same. I used 5 grams for each and a very short infusion time of just a few seconds in a gaiwan. Gongfu style. Water at between 180F and 200F.

List:
2009 Old Man'e - "Okay. Tastes like sheng. Nothing special about it."
2009 Yiwu - "Okay. Again nothing special."
2007 Mengku Hao - "Not great. Astringent."
2008 Yuannian Mengsa - "Okay. Nothing special."
2009 Bangmu 'Root Aroma' Old - "Blech. Way too astringent."
2009 Mengku Arbor - "Okay. Tastes like regular old sheng. Nothing eventful."
2009 Little Yiwu Mahei - "Okay. I was expecting this to taste better than it did due to the amount of buds in it. But it tastes like regular old sheng."

I still have 3 left to try. Sadly this group of teas seems to be lackluster. I know they're not aged very long so they're not going to blow my socks off but I thought they'd taste better or more different from each other than they did. They all taste pretty identical to me. Later infusions all tasted the same. Maybe I'm doing something wrong. I dunno. Most of these are 2009's though so maybe all 2009's taste identical.


You should probably use boiling water instead of lukewarm water. That's your first problem right there - warm water with short infusion time = you're not getting much out of the leaves. I have a hard time believing that a tea marketed as Lao Man'e is going to taste more or less exactly the same as a Yiwu, unless, of course, you're brewing at temperatures that are too low and too little time. How big is your gaiwan?
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Re: How do you choose pu-erh?

Postby JD » Jul 27th, '13, 19:54

It's not lukewarm. I use a hot plate with a goose neck kettle on it heating up the kettle and a second kettle for boiling the water in. I boil the water, usually 1 liter, pour it into the already heated goose neck kettle, then pour from that. I have yet to find a good goose neck kettle I can boil water in, so I use this setup instead. I use goose neck kettles because they're easy to control water flow.

I'm not saying these taste exactly identical. Some are sweeter than others. I'm saying none of them caught my attention. I will, of course, give them all a second chance once I get through the ones I haven't tried yet. Perhaps I'm drinking them too cool. It's very hot out and difficult to drink hot tea so I wait until it cools before drinking it. Perhaps the chemistry of the tea changes during that time.


As for the "noob" remark: Check the date I joined this forum. I've been collecting, aging, brewing, and drinking pu-er ever since.
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Re: How do you choose pu-erh?

Postby MarshalN » Jul 27th, '13, 20:03

180-200 is pretty lukewarm. It doesn't matter what you're using. Try it hotter.

When you say "nothing special", mind telling us what "special" is? That way we have an idea of what you're talking about. Otherwise it's extremely vague. Some of your complaints are that they "taste like regular old sheng." I believe that's what you bought - did you expect tieguanyin?
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Re: How do you choose pu-erh?

Postby JD » Jul 27th, '13, 20:17

I don't use a thermometer so I don't know what temp my water is at all times. I know it's right off boiling. The kettle hard boils for about 30 seconds before shutting off. I quickly transfer the water to the other kettle. I don't spend much time doing cleaning or pre-heating things. I guess I could check the temp next time I make tea.

I thought 200F was hot? 200F is how hot you make coffee and espresso at. Are you telling me tea has to be brewed hotter? Scorching hot? McDonald's coffee hot?

I also have a Kamjove kettle I used to use but it took forever to get to a boil. Like 15 or 20 minutes. And it didn't boil enough water even at max water level. Maybe I should invest in an induction stove top unit. It has temp control, gets to a boil faster than regular stove tops, and should work with my stainless steel goose neck kettle.

As for "nothing special", "nothing eventful", and "tastes like sheng", these are notes I wrote down on the bags for the first pass of tasting these teas. Short notes. If I had to go into full fledged reviews I would've spent more time than I did with each tea. At first taste/glance this is what I wrote down in my notes. Second pass I will spend more time getting to know these teas better and writing longer notes/reviews, but that kind of stuff is meant for the reviews section of the forum.
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Re: How do you choose pu-erh?

Postby brandon » Jul 27th, '13, 20:19

You might lack the patience for this hobby!
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Re: How do you choose pu-erh?

Postby Exempt » Jul 27th, '13, 20:23

JD wrote:As for the "noob" remark: Check the date I joined this forum. I've been collecting, aging, brewing, and drinking pu-er ever since.

You've been drinking puerh for 5 years and never owned or used a gaiwan?

viewtopic.php?f=36&t=18938
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Re: How do you choose pu-erh?

Postby JD » Jul 27th, '13, 21:15

Exempt wrote:
JD wrote:As for the "noob" remark: Check the date I joined this forum. I've been collecting, aging, brewing, and drinking pu-er ever since.

You've been drinking puerh for 5 years and never owned or used a gaiwan?

viewtopic.php?f=36&t=18938


I use yixing teapots seasoned for sheng and shou. 5 years worth of daily seasoning. I didn't get a gaiwan because I didn't need one.
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Re: How do you choose pu-erh?

Postby Exempt » Jul 27th, '13, 21:20

JD wrote:
Exempt wrote:
JD wrote:As for the "noob" remark: Check the date I joined this forum. I've been collecting, aging, brewing, and drinking pu-er ever since.

You've been drinking puerh for 5 years and never owned or used a gaiwan?

viewtopic.php?f=36&t=18938


I use yixing teapots seasoned for sheng and shou. 5 years worth of daily seasoning. I didn't get a gaiwan because I didn't need one.

I see. I like to taste my teas the first time in a gaiwan so the flavor isn't altered at all.
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Re: How do you choose pu-erh?

Postby MarshalN » Jul 28th, '13, 01:18

JD wrote:I don't use a thermometer so I don't know what temp my water is at all times. I know it's right off boiling. The kettle hard boils for about 30 seconds before shutting off. I quickly transfer the water to the other kettle. I don't spend much time doing cleaning or pre-heating things. I guess I could check the temp next time I make tea.

I thought 200F was hot? 200F is how hot you make coffee and espresso at. Are you telling me tea has to be brewed hotter? Scorching hot? McDonald's coffee hot?

I also have a Kamjove kettle I used to use but it took forever to get to a boil. Like 15 or 20 minutes. And it didn't boil enough water even at max water level. Maybe I should invest in an induction stove top unit. It has temp control, gets to a boil faster than regular stove tops, and should work with my stainless steel goose neck kettle.

As for "nothing special", "nothing eventful", and "tastes like sheng", these are notes I wrote down on the bags for the first pass of tasting these teas. Short notes. If I had to go into full fledged reviews I would've spent more time than I did with each tea. At first taste/glance this is what I wrote down in my notes. Second pass I will spend more time getting to know these teas better and writing longer notes/reviews, but that kind of stuff is meant for the reviews section of the forum.


You still haven't told us what you want though - whatever "special" is. Since you asked how to pick puerh, that's most useful to know.
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Re: How do you choose pu-erh?

Postby siae » Jul 28th, '13, 09:04

200F is way to low if you are transferring the water to a different vessel and not preheating your pots/gaiwan.

I use directly boiling most of the times.
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Re: How do you choose pu-erh?

Postby JD » Jul 28th, '13, 14:44

siae wrote:200F is way to low if you are transferring the water to a different vessel and not preheating your pots/gaiwan.

I use directly boiling most of the times.


Are.. are people just not reading what I'm writing?

I tested all the temps last time I did this. Let's go through this step by step.

01. I boil the water in my large electronic kettle. 1 liter worth.
02. While the kettle boils I turn my hot plate on to just over warm.
03. I fill my stainless steel goose neck kettle with a small amount of water so it doesn't dry-heat.
04. I set the goose neck kettle on the hot plate.
05. The large kettle boils to 212F then clicks off.
06. I dump the water in the goose neck kettle out and transfer the boiled water to this kettle.
07. The water in the goose neck kettle on the hot plate is now at 200F.

I waited 20-30 minutes and the water was still at 200F.

Once the water is transferred to the goose neck kettle I warm all my cups, gaiwan, cha hai, strainer, tools, etc. with it.

So am I to understand that I should have the water continue boiling while I'm using it? So that each time I set the kettle on the hot plate it should be back to boiling temp?
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Re: How do you choose pu-erh?

Postby shah82 » Jul 28th, '13, 15:57

Yes, people are responding to what you're writing.
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Re: How do you choose pu-erh?

Postby seollasido » Jul 28th, '13, 17:06

JD wrote:It's not lukewarm. I use a hot plate with a goose neck kettle on it heating up the kettle and a second kettle for boiling the water in. I boil the water, usually 1 liter, pour it into the already heated goose neck kettle, then pour from that. I have yet to find a good goose neck kettle I can boil water in, so I use this setup instead. I use goose neck kettles because they're easy to control water flow.

I'm not saying these taste exactly identical. Some are sweeter than others. I'm saying none of them caught my attention. I will, of course, give them all a second chance once I get through the ones I haven't tried yet. Perhaps I'm drinking them too cool. It's very hot out and difficult to drink hot tea so I wait until it cools before drinking it. Perhaps the chemistry of the tea changes during that time.


As for the "noob" remark: Check the date I joined this forum. I've been collecting, aging, brewing, and drinking pu-er ever since.


http://www.amazon.com/Bonavita-1-0L-Ele ... B005YR0GDA

This is the kettle that I use for my daily needs! It's gooseneck and electric. Possibly give it a shot? Seems like it might save you some trouble.
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Re: How do you choose pu-erh?

Postby JD » Jul 28th, '13, 17:09

I think I may know what I'm doing wrong now and why these teas taste similar to each other.

I don't sit at my tea area and drink only one infusion at a time like I've seen in many videos on youtube. I do 4 short infusions back to back and pour them all into one pot thus mixing them all together so that I can take them somewhere and enjoy them in front of the computer or something. I think this is where I'm messing up. I thought maybe 4 short infusions back to back wouldn't alter the taste between them too much but now I'm noticing a lot of people are saying that each infusion will taste different and later infusions will taste even more different that the first infusions. So I will do 1 infusion at a time now.
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