My first taste of Pu-Erh

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

Dec 20th 09 12:40 am
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My first taste of Pu-Erh

by GongFu » Dec 20th 09 12:40 am

My order for Hou De arrived, along with some other teas from Adagio.

I prepared my first batch of 1997 Menghai 7542. Boiling water, 30 second infusion 'rinse', threw that out. 40 second steep. Somewhere near 3/4 of a teaspoon with a metal infuser in a porcelain cup.

I prepared myself for the worst. Online, many people who have not tasted Pu-Erh seemed to compare it to 'drinking dirt' or 'drinking compost'. But I thought it was quite enjoyable. A bit darker, yellow color nearing what an oolong would look like. The taste seemed somewhat similar to green tea, with a strong mossy/earthy undercurrent as well as a sweetness which I can't quite describe. I did another infusion for 60 seconds, this was also good.

Of course now I'm faced with the problem of if I want more than 10 grams of this I'm going to pay a few hundred dollars!

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Re: My first taste of Pu-Erh

by Proinsias » Dec 20th 09 1:11 am

GongFu: Glad you liked it, I recommend preparing this tea gong fu style :D

Edit: for something a little more affordable in the same genre I recommend Nada's 90's sheng tuo

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Dec 20th 09 10:12 am
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Re: My first taste of Pu-Erh

by apache » Dec 20th 09 10:12 am

Proinsias wrote:GongFu: Glad you liked it, I recommend preparing this tea gong fu style :D

Edit: for something a little more affordable in the same genre I recommend Nada's 90's sheng tuo
+1

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Dec 20th 09 2:43 pm
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Re: My first taste of Pu-Erh

by tony shlongini » Dec 20th 09 2:43 pm

Guys are always recommending that newbies try a famous aged sheng so they'll have an idea of what this is all about, but I think that's a bit misguided. Until you know how to brew pu'er to the point where you can extract the maximum goodness from a sample, I'd suggest sticking to more pedestrian offerings.

3/4 teaspoon?
30 second rinse?
40 second first infusion?

You may want to spend a bit more time playing aroung with brewing parameters before you invest any serious cash in samples.

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Re: My first taste of Pu-Erh

by Proinsias » Dec 20th 09 4:12 pm

I figured the Nada suggestion was pretty pedestrian, nothing too fancy or expensive. If GongFu likes the 97 Meghai offering I figure ze can get a 100 g of something fairly similar without shelling out a few hundred dollars.

It also tends to be more forgiving on brewing skillz than young sheng, and far more pleasant to my tastes

Dec 20th 09 4:34 pm
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Re: My first taste of Pu-Erh

by GongFu » Dec 20th 09 4:34 pm

tony shlongini wrote: 3/4 teaspoon?
30 second rinse?
40 second first infusion?
.
Well, what do you advise? I'd appreciate any help.

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Dec 20th 09 6:26 pm
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Re: My first taste of Pu-Erh

by apache » Dec 20th 09 6:26 pm

Proinsias wrote:GongFu: Glad you liked it, I recommend preparing this tea gong fu style :D

Edit: for something a little more affordable in the same genre I recommend Nada's 90's sheng tuo
This only cost £12 per tuo and is very good value as well as affordable aged tea. I already have two and it tastes a lot nicer than many teas I have tried. I don't think you can ruin it even if you brew it grandfather style (i.e. put relatively small amount of leaves and lot of water and steep for a long time).

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Dec 20th 09 7:08 pm
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Re: My first taste of Pu-Erh

by apache » Dec 20th 09 7:08 pm

Yes, brewing technique is important to bring out the best of any teas, but IMHO, this only a mean of itself. I think it is more important to develop the pu'erh palate. Use myself as an example, after I was in HK for two weeks recently and tasted many different pu'erh teas, my concept about pu'erh changed completely. If I started my collection again, it would be very different. I don't mean I would buy only every expensive teas, but what I mean is I would put much less emphasis on the "drink now" young sheng.

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Dec 21st 09 2:50 am
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Re: My first taste of Pu-Erh

by TomVerlain » Dec 21st 09 2:50 am

GongFu wrote:
Well, what do you advise? I'd appreciate any help.
rinse for as long as it takes to pour water in and pour it out. Let it sit for a minute or so (leaves open up) some folks pour hot water over the pot, but I am lacking in that respect.

First brew, once again, pour water in and pour it out. You can count your pour time. A nice pot pours quickly, so if it is too light on the first pour, revise up. In time you will have a better idea for yourself, the tea and the pot. I find second, third and fourth infusions are generally best.

Use a measuring cup to figure out how big your pot is (most people talk in ml) 5 grams per 100 ml is a good basis to start. If you had 10 grams of tea, and a 120 ml pot, half of your tea would be ok. 120 ml is pretty small.

so a typical sequence might be 10 secs, 10 secs, 15 secs, 20 secs, 30 secs, etc. A good tea can last 10 infusions, or more. Some folks might even let the 20th sit over night to get that last bit of sweet, sweet leaf out.

Obviously, your milage may vary. There is no one right way to brew tea.

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Re: My first taste of Pu-Erh

by Proinsias » Dec 21st 09 3:09 am

TomVerlain wrote:Some folks might even let the 20th sit over night to get that last bit of sweet, sweet leaf out.
I tend to let the last brew sit all night, if it's nice tea, and I often get another few brews the next morning.

Dec 21st 09 1:15 pm
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Re: My first taste of Pu-Erh

by GongFu » Dec 21st 09 1:15 pm

Does anyone have any recommendations on loose pu? I got some of the 70s loose from Hou De, but it now appears they're all out of it. I might try the touchas from Nada Cha, wonder how expensive shipping is from uk? (I'm in US). I'll try the shorter rinse/steep, thank you. Maybe I should invest in a stop watch ;)

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Dec 21st 09 1:42 pm
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Re: My first taste of Pu-Erh

by apache » Dec 21st 09 1:42 pm

GongFu wrote:I might try the touchas from Nada Cha, wonder how expensive shipping is from uk? (I'm in US).
This link might help to give you some idea of postage cost from UK.

http://www.royalmail.com/portal/rm/cont ... d=53800712

For one tou including package, this probably weight less than 200g, it would cost no more than £3 in postage, but for the exact figure you better ask Nada, as he might also need to include the packing cost.

Dec 23rd 09 12:59 am
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Re: My first taste of Pu-Erh

by GongFu » Dec 23rd 09 12:59 am

Shipping from the UK was quite reasonable, I've got a few on the way. Thank you for the recommendation.

I did a rinse, 10 second, 20 second, 30 second, 40 second infusion my last go. Definitely a lighter flavor, less overpowering earthy taste. This may have also been attribute of the tea as well 'Yi-Chang Hao "Yunnan Chi Tse" Song-Charactered'... Reminded me of something, maybe I have had Pu before, perhaps in Taiwan...

Thank you for the help everybody!

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Re: My first taste of Pu-Erh

by oldmanteapot » Dec 23rd 09 2:56 am

apache wrote:Yes, brewing technique is important to bring out the best of any teas, but IMHO, this only a mean of itself. I think it is more important to develop the pu'erh palate. Use myself as an example, after I was in HK for two weeks recently and tasted many different pu'erh teas, my concept about pu'erh changed completely. If I started my collection again, it would be very different. I don't mean I would buy only every expensive teas, but what I mean is I would put much less emphasis on the "drink now" young sheng.
+1 :mrgreen:

You're finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.... hehehe.. :D

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Dec 23rd 09 3:08 am
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Re: My first taste of Pu-Erh

by oldmanteapot » Dec 23rd 09 3:08 am

GongFu wrote:Shipping from the UK was quite reasonable, I've got a few on the way.
If it's a Tuo you purchased, you might want to try extending your steeping time by a few more seconds. Tuos are generally more tightly compressed compared to Bricks of Beengs.

It's a good idea to educate yourself with a range of both young and aged Sheng and Shu. You might not get it right the first time, but you'll be able to experience and understand better why most Pu drinkers prefer aged than young. Again, this is a Chicken & Egg scenario. Which comes first..... you can start with young and work towards aged, or start with some aged and work backwards to young. Either way is fine. As you journey along your Pu path, you'll soon realise that it's 20% equipment and 80% brewing skills that will being the best out of a Pu, not the other way round.

Cheers!! :mrgreen: