Wednesday, October 3, 2007

My First Puerh

Rishi's Ancient Mini Tuo Cha was my very first puerh, long before I knew anything about puerh, or had heard the terms sheng or shu, or had even seen a puerh cake. Back then this was very exciting, sexy stuff, harvested from ancient trees in Xishuangbanna, Fair Trade Certified, and pressed into miniature cakes. If you were still drinking Twinnings only a month before, it doesn't get much better than all that.

But after a while my knowledge of puerh grew, I became a little more experienced, and about the time I bought my first yixing pot and started experimenting with gong fu was when I stopped drinking it. Now that I have a broader, well, moderately broader, idea of what is a good or a bad puerh, and in honor of Fair Trade Month, I thought it would be fun to go back and revisit it.

Tea: Ancient Puerh Tuo Cha
Origin: Xishuangbanna, Yunnan, China
Year: ?
Vendor: Rishi
Prices: $28/lb. ($.25/piece)
Organic, Fair Trade Certified

Each tuo cha is about 4 grams, give or take .1 grams. I put two pieces in a 150 ml yixing pot, rinsed for 10 seconds, and steeped the first infusion for...I forget, 30-45 seconds sounds right. The first infusion was about what I remembered, not unpleasant, but nothing exciting. I though I had over-steeped the second infusion, the liquor was almost black, but it turned out okay. Thick mouth-feel, a slight nuance of cocoa, then a tad bit of astringency.

Over all I'd say this tea was average. Every other shupu I've had is either much worse or a lot better. I think its a good pu for beginners, but experienced drinkers will probably want to pass on it.


Anonymous said...

your mom is a shupu.

Steven Dodd said...

Ahhhh, cheap shupu. When I'm reaching for a tea, I often classify it mentally as a black tea. Something to throw in a pot, boiling water, give it about 30 seconds, and chug in quantity.

Wes Crosswhite said...

Bleh... I just made a cup of this stuff... Nasty business.