Is Pu-Erh an acquired taste?

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

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Jul 5th, '06, 21:50
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Is Pu-Erh an acquired taste?

by Jasmine Green » Jul 5th, '06, 21:50

I recently bought some Pu-Erh from Teavana and I cannot seem to "appreciate" the flavor right now. Being a relatively new loose tea drinker, maybe it's something I have to work up to? Anybody else have trouble getting used to the "earthy" tones of Pu-Erh? Did you grow into it?

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Jul 5th, '06, 22:16
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by Carnelian » Jul 5th, '06, 22:16

I'm anxious and nervous to try any pu erh, its fairly intimidating to me

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Jul 6th, '06, 01:43
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It can be gross...

by bearsbearsbears » Jul 6th, '06, 01:43

I've never had the teavana pu'er, but I'm going to assume that it's of the "cooked" (shou) variety. If not brewed gongfu style (successive very short infusions), shou can be overwhelming and very gross. Indeed, shou can be overwhelming and gross even if brewed gongfu style if you don't take to its earthy flavors or get past the first two infusions.

If you are brewing it gongfu style, two 10-20 second rinses are recommended; perhaps even toss out the first infusion. It should be easier and more enjoyable this way.

If this still doesn't do the trick, try a different store's shou pu'er or give up on shou entirely. Don't swear off sheng ("raw") pu'er yet, though; when young, sheng tastes more like green tea than others, and when aged, it tastes far more refined and complex than any shou.

I would say, to finally answer your question, that shou is not an "acquired" taste, but a binary experience: either one loves it or hates it.

Post follow-up results based on any recommendations, and be specific about how you brew the tea to get better feedback. Good luck! 8)


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Jul 6th, '06, 13:42
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by jogrebe » Jul 6th, '06, 13:42

I'm not sure if your cooked puerh is loose or not, but if it is I'd recommend trying the compressed variety as those tend to be of a higher quality in my experience. Especially if by earthy you mean has musty overtones to its taste and small, as it is possible to find cooked puerh that is not at all musty.

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Jul 19th, '06, 20:07
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I've had teavana's pu

by Walt » Jul 19th, '06, 20:07

and it was not good.

It's loose, and it's cooked. The leaves are smallish, like gong ting.

Smells ok, but tastes yucky. No life to it, and dirt taste never goes away.

That's a horrible representative of what pu-erh can be.

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Jul 21st, '06, 03:59
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by yresim » Jul 21st, '06, 03:59

I wouldn't say it is an aquired taste. I knew I loved pu-erh after my first cup. That said, there are some really nasty pu-erh's out there, and I don't think you should make a decision based on a single brand.

Aug 8th, '06, 05:37
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by mataku527 » Aug 8th, '06, 05:37

My experience with pu-erh has been similar. I bought pu-erh from yunan sourcing on ebay, it was a small cake type.

I threw out the first two infusions and tried my best to enjoy the next infusions. I went through about 8 infusions twice in two different sittings. out of all those, there was one cup where it tasted wonderful, but I have not been able to emulate that one cup. with that said, I haven't taken too much time to drink tea with school being out and it being summer.

My suggestion is that you keep going at it, varying infusion times until you get a cup you like, if it's too strong, do a shorter infusion, just keep going at it until you find you are able to get a soft flavor of the pu erh to see if you like it.

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Aug 8th, '06, 12:45
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by Jasmine Green » Aug 8th, '06, 12:45

Yeah, I don't think I'm a fan of the Teavana pu Erh. Tried it again and even after other infusions could not get used to the taste. I think I will stick to my oolongs and darjeeling for now and try a different brand in the future. Anybody want this Teavana Pu Erh? I think I have about 2-3 ounces of it.

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Aug 22nd, '06, 22:43
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Yes it is

by lebowitz » Aug 22nd, '06, 22:43

It is quick to acquire a taste for Pu erh, i like mine with a bit of stevia in it. I started with the pu erh on adagio, its ok, but for real pu erh it has to come compressed in a cake, Yunnan Sourcing on ebay is the best place in the world to buy pu erh at a reasonable price! if anyone knows of a better place let me know!

Pu erh is truly wonderful to drink, i rarely drink anything else, except for yunnan gold!

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Sep 10th, '17, 03:04
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Re: Is Pu-Erh an acquired taste?

by Teasenz » Sep 10th, '17, 03:04

I highly recommend to start with ripe pu erh first. They're way smoother than raw and easy to drink. If it tastes like dirt, try to rinse the tea twice by brewing it for 15 seconds and discarding the water afterwards. This should remove the 'pile fermentation' flavour that could be possibly present.

Try to steep it several times. Often times, pu erh tea tend to have different layers of flavour and the sweetness often times appears at the later steeps.

You could also read this article on pu erh tea taste aspects which could make appreciating your pu erh more enjoyable: ... taste.html

Once you acquire the taste of ripe pu erh, you could slowly experiment with different raw pu erhs.

Sep 10th, '17, 07:32
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Re: Is Pu-Erh an acquired taste?

by theredbaron » Sep 10th, '17, 07:32

Good aged Sheng Pu Erh can be one of the absolute highlights in tea, it's taste incredibly complex.

Bad Pu Erh, especially cheap and lousy Shu can be horrible. Pu is less than an acquired taste than a learning process, learning what to drink, how to drink it and what to avoid - which means shops like Teavana or similar in particular.
Go to specialized shops - such as Yunnansourcing, Essence of Tea, Chawangshop, etc - for the western market, buy a wide range of samples and learn.

Sep 10th, '17, 23:12
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Re: Is Pu-Erh an acquired taste?

by Bok » Sep 10th, '17, 23:12

I am with others on this, more binary than acquired. Love or hate. I have kept trying quite a few, not giving up to see if I really do not like it. So far I'll take an Oolong instead anytime... the price and fake game is another factor, it's just more easy to get ripped off buying overpriced puerh than most other teas. So in a way I feel lucky I don't like it, so I am not even tempted to enter that maze.

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Sep 11th, '17, 05:35
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Re: Is Pu-Erh an acquired taste?

by jayinhk » Sep 11th, '17, 05:35

Yesterday I went to a good Cantonese restaurant here in HK with friends from India and the US, as well as family. My brother said pu erh might not be a good choice since the woman from India might not have been up for it, and her daughter agreed, but the woman was totally up for it!

I asked for a pot of tieguanyin and a pot of bo lei, and somehow we only ended up getting a pot of TGY, which was actually quite good for restaurant tea.

Today I had the chance to brew up some 7581 for the woman in our home. She liked it, and my mom did too. It's a 2005 brick that I've had aging for a few years here in HK. It's come along considerably and is much smoother now, but still needs a few years. It seems to have hit a slightly wet stage (well, it is summer and it is HOT and humid.

Everything is an acquired taste. :) Not everyone is going to like pu erh, or anything else for that matter.

Sep 11th, '17, 05:59
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Re: Is Pu-Erh an acquired taste?

by Bok » Sep 11th, '17, 05:59

jayinhk wrote: Everything is an acquired taste. :) Not everyone is going to like pu erh, or anything else for that matter.
But some things are more difficult to accept than others. Most people will have no problems to taste a Thai milk tea for the first time, which I doubt is the case for 1st encounters with Puerh.

I think there is only a lucky few which will stumble upon a good Puerh the first time they try it…
It’s more like your first cigarette! It will most likely be awful :mrgreen:

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Sep 11th, '17, 07:52
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Re: Is Pu-Erh an acquired taste?

by Rui » Sep 11th, '17, 07:52

My love affair started from day one with a very decent 19 years old loose leaf shou in Hong Kong.

Had it been a terrible tea it might have been another story.

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