|2005 Xiaguan Ancient Wild Tree Raw Pu-erh tea – 357g|
One of those teas that can seem overly complex and mysterious is pu-erh. Yet, it can be one of those teas you’ll fall in love with after trying a few. Or even just one.
Here are three reasons why:
1 Variety of pu-erhs available
While pu-erh is classified as a Chinese dark tea, there are some that are called “white” and some that are “green”. There are two basic versions: raw (green) and ripe (cooked). There are a multitude of “recipes” and factories that produce them. And the leaves are pressed into various shapes. Choices galore!
2 Unique taste and aroma
The flavors are described as musky and smooth for a younger dark Pu-erh, a mouth-numbing bitterness in a young green Pu-erh, a complexity of flavors for an aged green Pu-erh, and a silky sweetness in an aged ripe pu-erh. The bitterness of young green pu-erh is often mitigated by very short steepings.
3 Flexibility of preparation
A ripe pu-erh is a tea that you can oversteep and not get a bitter taste. In fact, you may find that the liquid has some flavors you had previously not experienced. Some ripe pu-erhs can be steeped for as long as ten minutes, producing a very dark liquid (as dark as coffee) but with no bitterness and a pleasing flavor. You can also understeep the tea and still get a pleasing taste sensation.
In Yunnan and Tibet people boil tea leaves broken off the cake in a pot, adding in milk and a little salt — not quite the usual method of preparation around here. Pu-erh tea can be steeped like oolong teas are, that is, by using tiny teapots and brief, multiple infusions, or steeped in mugs and even larger teapots. You can experiment with different aged teas (a 10-year-old cake is mellow, and a 20-year-old is even better), and try different amounts of tea and steeping times.
These all add up to a tea sure to please any palate.