Pu-erh newbie seeks advice


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Pu-erh newbie seeks advice

Postby towerofdabble » May 31st, '08, 08:42

I am a lover of oolongs and also green teas (enjoy the occasional cup of black, esp. the Yunnan I recently got from Hou De but less often). I have recently tried a few Pu-erhs and have not really enjoyed them too much. I also bought a cake which I haven't tried yet. Trying to decide whether I should keep trying, if pu-erh is just not for me, or if maybe the pu-erhs I have tried were not good representatives.

The ones I have tried: a "Yr01 Aged Menghai Tea Factory 7542" sample from eBay seller puerhtea2005. This one tasted to me like leaves that had been composting in a forest, with some dirt mixed in and a hint of black tea. Frankly, I didn't like it. I also got a "90's Zhong Cha Green Stamp ChiTse" sample from him, which I have not tried. He also sent along 3 samples of other pu-erhs, 2 sheng and one shou. I tried one of the shengs and it tasted strongly to me of tobacco. I couldn't drink this one at all.

Meanwhile, I also have a whole unopened beeng of Mengyang Guoyan Classical 99 Green Cake 2007 which I got from Gordon at DTH. Here is where I could use some advice.

Should I:
1. figure pu-erh is just not for me, and give away, sell or trade the Mengyang beeng
2. try to start aging the beeng and if so, how? (humidity is my house runs between 20-65% I would guess which seems to dry for aging -- basement is more damp but a bit moldy)
3. open the cake up and try it -- then if I do like it, can I try to age the rest after it's been opened?

Sure would appreciate any tips!

Thanks in advance.
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Re: Pu-erh newbie seeks advice

Postby augie » May 31st, '08, 10:35

towerofdabble wrote:Trying to decide whether I should keep trying, if pu-erh is just not for me, or if maybe the pu-erhs I have tried were not good representatives.


Don't give up Tower! I am a "newbie" to pu ehr for about a year now and I am still confused too. I know a few others, who are far more experienced, will give you better advice:

Many told me to get samples, but that just confused me. However, Pu Ehr Shop offered some samples mentioned in the "Sticky" threads at the top of the Pu Ehr threads. I wish I had found these samples a year ago, especially the "taste of mellowness". Don't know if they are still available. Some are awesome and some are not. However, they are generous samples and each one is very different. If you hate them you can swap someone or just give up and you're not out much.

towerofdabble wrote:This one tasted to me like leaves that had been composting in a forest, with some dirt mixed in and a hint of black tea.


It does grow on you. :D What did you think about the shu samples you rec'd?

towerofdabble wrote: I tried one of the shengs and it tasted strongly to me of tobacco. I couldn't drink this one at all.


I am not much for weighing tea, but tell us how much tea you used and how long you brewed. Some of us brew one full infusion and discard before drinking. Some folks just rinse once and drink the first infusion. Might try drinking the 2nd infusion.

towerofdabble wrote:Should I:
1. figure pu-erh is just not for me, and give away, sell or trade the Mengyang beeng
Thanks in advance.


Personally, I say don't give up. Read all the Pu Ehr threads and some of the tea blogs (the big pu-heads post their blog entry links here). Make sure you have all the information before you decide to scrap Pu for good!

joelbct, who started this thread, had my exact first experience with Pu Ehr:
http://www.teachat.com/viewtopic.php?t=5363
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Postby hop_goblin » May 31st, '08, 18:15

Well, a '01 Menghai Factory should have given you a nice experience. However, from your notes, I believe that what you just experienced was a "wet stored" beeng. I have never heard of this particular vendor. If they are located in HK, then you can almost rest assure it went through some HK wet storage. I would ask the vendor to see if this is so. Although wet stored is not bad, for a newbie it can be a bit much. I would try a sample from HouDe first as they do have a bit more dried stored puerh than some vendors. You will experience a much different palate than the one you described.

Hop


www.houdeasianart.com
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Postby MarshalN » May 31st, '08, 23:12

Um.... properly wet stored tea can be very nice.

The more likely answer is not wet storage, but rather, faked tea -- not as old as claimed and not as good as it's supposed to be.

Now.... since you have the Guoyan bing, I'd say try that first. Before that though -- how do you make your tea?
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Postby hop_goblin » May 31st, '08, 23:16

MarshalN wrote:Um.... properly wet stored tea can be very nice.

The more likely answer is not wet storage, but rather, faked tea -- not as old as claimed and not as good as it's supposed to be.

Now.... since you have the Guoyan bing, I'd say try that first. Before that though -- how do you make your tea?


You are correct Marsh. I didn't mean to give the impression that wet stored me crappy tea.. In fact you and I enjoy wet stored if done properly and given enough time to dry. The thought of a beeng being faked totally escaped my mind! But yes, this is also a possiblity.
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Postby tenuki » May 31st, '08, 23:36

actually your descriptions of these puerhs sound pretty spot on to me. If you read peoples tasting notes leaves wood and leather often are mentioned. My guess is you may not like puerhs now. However for some it is an aquired taste.
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Postby Salsero » Jun 1st, '08, 00:07

Puerh is a cruel mistress, but I would never give up one of my bings. I find that between me changing and the tea changing, it is always worth going back to try it again in a month or a year.
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Postby towerofdabble » Jun 1st, '08, 09:03

Thanks all, for the tips.

actually your descriptions of these puerhs sound pretty spot on to me. If you read peoples tasting notes leaves wood and leather often are mentioned.


That's what I thought too.

As far as how I'm brewing it, I've used both 120ml Yixing and slightly larger gaiwan with 100ml of water. 5g of leaf, boiling water, 30 second rinse, then experimenting with 30 sec and 15 sec infusions.

It's amazing how quickly this stuff gets really dark. But a very dark cordovan-colored 15 sec infusion can still taste a bit watery. I've found the latter infusions a bit less objectionable, but still, I'm not sure pu-erh is "my cup of tea" (maybe that's where this expression came from).

I suspect these samples I got were wet-stored, as even the fairly young ones are nearly black in color. Is that a reasonable conclusion?

As far as my green Mengyang Guoyan cake -- what should I do, just open the paper, take off 5g or so of leaves from the center, trying not to break the leaves more than necessary, and then replace the paper?

Thanks again!
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Postby MarshalN » Jun 1st, '08, 09:48

Doesn't sound like wet stored... sounds more like cooked to me.

Do you have a picture of the cake that you tried?
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Postby MarshalN » Jun 1st, '08, 13:10

Tom,

Yeah, I just found that listing too. The cake in the picture looks greenish, although it's an awful picture.

You might want to try leaving that cake out for a while -- let it air. It does get better with age, as VL found out recently

http://vladimirl.blogspot.com/
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