15 Years Aged Golden Melon Ripe Pu-erh Tea Tuo
A shou puerh journey reminiscent of hiking through a damp forest.
vendor: yunnan sourcing
origin: yunnan, china
leaf appearance: short black leaves compressed into tuo
first infusion: 20 seconds
following infusions: +5 seconds
water temperature: 210°F | 99° C
liquor: dark amber, almost black
The tuo is composed of short to medium-length dark leaves and has been tightly compressed. Difficult to break, gathering sections of tea produces a lot of waste and dust. When dry, the leaves smell of almost sweet, like a bitter chocolate. After 2 rinses of 10 seconds each, a strong scent of wet wood and composted leaves emits from the leaves.
During the first few infusions, the liquor produced had a dark, almost black, amber color. This color lightened up as the infusions continued. Throughout the experience, each infusion brought forth a subtle aroma of wet soil and earth. The most predominant flavors of this puerh are wet earth and composted leaves that lingered on the tongue after each sip, its slight tang disappearing at the first few infusions. No bitterness could be found in the tea, but a slight astringency coats the tongue.
This was my first ever experience with a shou (“ripe”) puerh.
I tried to prepare myself for this experience, reading reviews and blog posts about other tea lovers' journeys with shou puerh. I expected an earthy flavor, but I didn’t realize how strong that flavor would be.
The first smell of the leaves and the first sip of tea really punch you in the face - this tea literally tasted like wet soil. It was like I walking through a forest in the Pacific Northwest on cool, cloudy Fall day. The liquor was thick and pungent, the after-taste of composted leaves constant after each infusion. The flavor lightened up after the fifth infusion, but couldn’t find any other complex notes within the tea.
To be fair, like the ability to pull out flavor profiles in a fine scotch, it may take a while for one’s palate to become accustomed to the complexities of shou puerh.
Did I enjoy it? …Not necessarily, but that won’t stop me from trying more ripe puerhs.
No, as this tea was too earthy for me. I do look forward to trying other shou puerhs in the future.