I have been back in the US for almost two months and I finally got around to tasting the rest of the puerh teas I purchased. I had already tried the loose puerhs. But it’s really hard for me to break open the cakes. I think in the long run it is a good plan. You want to be able to taste the tea when it’s young and as it is aging.
I equate this to buying three bottles of the exact same wine. One is for drinking now, one is for its mid-life, and the third is to drink anytime after mid-life depending on how the tasting at mid-life goes!
If you are new to puerh teas, you might just want to give these teas a try. There are so many choices. You can drink a green puerh, a green puerh that has been aged, a fermented puerh, or a fermented puerh that has been aged. Some of these teas can be purchased loose as well. The benefits of puerh tea are somewhat inconclusive, but everything I have read shows that it lowers cholesterol. I don’t think you should drink a tea just for medicinal reasons, but if you like the taste of this tea, come on board. You will like the cholesterol readings moving forward. Another side benefit of puerh is that it helps reduce the effect of a hangover (don’t ask me how I know this).
Puerh teas tend to range from earthy to smoky to sweet to spicy to grassy to medicinal to fruity to smooth. This all depends on the tea, how it was processed, and the age.
The three teas I purchased from the 2010 vintage were all green puerhs. They were from three different regions or famous mountains – Yiwa, Banzhang, and Nannou (from left to right below). “Shan” means mountain and sometimes you will also see “shan” next to the name of the region. The teas were all in cake form.
As I cupped the teas; somehow, the teas were darkest to lightest. All the teas were made from tea trees that were either uncultivated or wild. You would definitely notice that by looking at the leaves in the cakes. They are very long and the tea separates very easily from the cakes without breaking.
The Yiwa tasted sweet and light to me. The Banzhang was very smoky. The Nannou had a subtle sweetness but was very light. One sidenote is that the Nannou cake was from a tea tree that was 1000 years old. It will be interesting to watch these three teas age over time.
I tasted the teas three times brewing them for 3 minutes, 4 minutes and 5 minutes. I used a similar water temperature each time (at about 190 degrees). I really liked the Yiwa and Nannou at first. The Banzhang was really too smoky. But by the third steeping the Yiwa was still amazing and almost sugary, sweet. The Nannou had lost some of its luster. But the Banzhang was definitely more subtle. I wonder if I originally tasted this tea in Kunming after several steepings? The first brew was really too smoky for me.
Again, who knows what will happen over the course of time and how each tea will develop over several years or decades. It will be interesting to see.
If you are interested in sampling any of these teas, email me or send me a comment.