At least half a year ago I received some tea samples from Yunnan, China. So far, I have tested two of the teas from the parcel and was disappointed. As it also takes a while before I can shake off all those nasty notes and aftertaste from my memory, this probably explains why I did not find any inclination to try out more teas from the box until I am once again in a risk-taking mood.
This is one of the better packaged teas that arrived. A full 350 g scrumptious-looking raw pu'er cake. The dried leaves peeled off rather easily as the cake was not too compact. From the unusually weak dry scents, it was difficult to predict what the tea would taste like.
To compensate for the initially weak scents, I took a slightly larger chunk off the cake and brewed it in a competition mug for about 5 minutes. The standard in the tea industry is to brew 3 grams of tea for 6 minutes. As this was the only tea I was tasting, it hardly matters in my opinion as long as we brew the tea beyond its usual steeping duration. The purpose of a longer infusion time ensures the full release of everything good and bad from the tea. In a way, previous subtleties in flavours and tastes are magnified.
I took in the scents of this tea from the curved back of a porcelain spoon. There was a hint of red roses mixed with fallen leaves. A very promising bouquet indeed! Additionally, the brew was a bright amber colour with a high degree of transparency. After witnessing these hopeful first signs, my expectations went up accordingly.
The fun part about tea tasting is this sort of dramatic build up until the first sip of tea that could either affirm or debunk all earlier sentiments of pessimism or optimism. (To be continued)