The only reason I ended up tasting this cooked puerh from Canton was because I ordered the recently reviewed 2013 Menghai Dayi brick from them, and for an extra £5 why not just try out a 50 gram bag of their own blend? After all they look really cute as well…each 5 gram Tuo is individually wrapped…so yeah curiosity got the better of me. However the burning question is will this cute little Tuo deliver on taste? Here are my notes…

The first thing I decided to do would be to air out these Tuo’s for a few days, to release some of that light fermentation aroma. The next thing to decide is how much to use, considering that these are 5 gram Tuo’s. Personally I prefer my brew a little stronger so I went with using 2 Tuo’s (10 grams) in my 140 ml gaiwan. After 2 rinses the Tuo breaks apart rather nicely, revealing the chopped leaves.

Now this is when I get a rather nice surprise…the wet leaves to me smell really good. Very earthy, woody, rich and bold. With my first proper steep I decided to push the shu a little at 30 seconds. The liquid comes out very dark, almost black, with a thick sticky appearance. I like what I see. I was even more surprised with the taste…it’s rich and bold, I am getting the earthy, woody flavours that I could smell in the aroma, yet overall it has a nice sweet, smooth finish. “This tastes pretty decent” I think to myself. Perhaps a little better than the Menghai Dayi Brick on initial tasting. I steep it two more times and I get mixed results; the richness and boldness is still there but is nowhere near what it was on my first proper steep. Unfortunately this is where the buck stops…

For me this shu simply does not have the power or aggression to last more than a few steeps which is a real shame. Canton recommends up to 8 steeps, however I think this is wishful thinking especially if you have tasted a really good quality, aged shu that lasts “forever”.

My next issue is price. Although this only cost me £5 for the 50 gram bag, and appears relatively inexpensive for a tasting teaser, for a 250 gram bag you are looking at £22.50 which I think is very overpriced. You could almost get two 2013 Menghai Dayi 250 gram bricks for the same price, or treat yourself and get one 2002 7581 250 gram brick from pu-erh.sk (review on the way at some point) for £20.

So, overall my feelings are very mixed. On the one hand I loved the first initial two steepings, and if the rest of the tea session had lived up to the initial taste I would probably rate this higher than the Menghai Dayi brick. It is by no means a bad shu, but when you take into consideration the price and the fact that you can get nicely aged shu for less it is somewhat of a raw deal.

Would I recommend it as a tasting sample to see its potential? Yes. Would I recommend that you buy a full bag of it? No. Lesson learned; it is not how you start but how you finish…

Flavors: Earth, Sweet, Wood

0 min, 30 sec 10 g 5 OZ / 140 ML

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I live and work in cold Aberdeen, Scotland at the moment. Main interests are music – Black Metal, Death Metal, Thrash Metal, Doom Metal, 70’s Psychedelic Rock etc.

Tea journey began with oolongs and within 6 months changed to pu-erh. I have not looked back since. Been drinking pu-erh solidly everyday for the last few years. Always on the lookout for good puerh bargains, so if you spot any message me.

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