Been drinking tea for quite awhile, but just got into loose leaf tea about two years ago and I've become quite the addict. Have sampled a great deal of tea since then, but Pu-Erh has been the only one I have not gotten into a lot. I've tried a few flavored Pu-Erhs and enjoyed them when I got the chance, but I'm more of a purist and wanted something authentic. I bought a cheap cake to try it out and decided to go from there. I did a fair amount of research and read through this forum a bit before I got into it.
I love the earthy flavor of some of the darker oolongs and got a hint of that out of the pu-erhs I've tried under the flavored overtones. When I actually received the cake and made some in my gaiwan, I was quite surprised by the barnyard smell and flavor. I like the earthy, almost barky flavor of the oolongs, but this was much more of mulch taste. I've sampled enough tea to know that perception of flavors can change rather quickly, so I've tried some every day for the last four days and forced it down. Throughout that I've noticed it has become much more complex, and the overpowering barnyard flavors are becoming muted.
So I was curious to those that are much more experienced with Pu-Erh if you had similar experiences and if you have any advice. I'd also like any suggestions on what to look for when I decide to buy some better quality cakes, will probably do it through Yunnan Sourcing next time. Thanks.
One of the intentionally aged teas, Pu-Erh has a loyal following.
The one you linked is a shou or shu depending on how you write it. But anyway, this type of puerh is where you will find your earthy dark backyard flavors you described. This type of puerh is good but often frowned upon because of its lack of complexity and ability appreciate in time. For a Yunnan Sourcing order I would recommend going with big name reputable factories including, Menghai and Mengku. These companies have a long history and will give you great tea for your money. Menghai cakes such as the 8582 and 7542 are blended cakes that have been produced for decades and have proven themselves through time to age well.