I recently exhorted people to write reviews of the TTB teas, so realized I need to set a better example. Hence, this review. In fairness, I’ve been inundated with other teas: two group buys from Liquid Proust, and one from Emmett, and two groups of samples I wanted to get through before Black Friday. However, it is now after Black Friday, and I’m out of excuses.

This is a tea I set aside before I sent out the box. I’d never had Essence of Tea puerh before so I was looking forward to trying some of their teas. The first steep caught me unawares, as it’s been a long time since I’ve had any Bulang, and this was a really powerful example. I was initially a bit put off by the earthy, slightly meaty nose, but the taste was great: very complex with earthy/leather flavors and a long, slightly sweet finish. As the cup cooled, the aroma changed from earthy to spicy. The second steep (10 s) was similar to the first steep. Very complex. I’m really starting to notice the cha qi. I was feeling light-headed when I prepared the second steep, and now I’m feeling it throughout my body: Very relaxed and detached. The mouth-feel is thick; almost chewy. The finish is so powerful that there is no obvious change in taste when I swallow (or even a minute later). The 3rd steep (20 s) has a rich meaty nose. The taste is wet wood with slight bitterness on the tongue. 4th (30 s): Wet wood with increasing bitterness but still interesting and enjoyable. I’m still working on the 6th steep but the trend seems to be for the flavors to become more woody and somewhat bitter. I would say that the tea peaked during the second steep. It is still good now but less exciting. I realize that I need to clarify that the bitterness was not excessive and I suspect many reviewers would have referred to this as “good bitterness”. To me that’s just a contradiction in terms.

I was surprised to see that this tea was only 3 years old. I would have guessed closer to 10. I guess that’s the effect of Malaysian storage. I’m not a fan of bitter teas, and marked this down a bit because of the bitterness. However, I really loved the complexity and the subtle change of flavor from cup to cup and even within the same cup as the tea cooled. Someone who likes “good bitterness” might really love this tea.

Thanks again to David and Yingxi at Essence of Tea for contributing this tea to the travelling tea box.

200 °F / 93 °C 2 g 2 OZ / 59 ML

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Retired engineer/physicist.
My ratings will usually be based on multiple tastings. Oolong teas are generally 3 grams of tea in 6 oz water for 1 minute. Black teas are 1.5 grams of tea in 6 oz water for 3-4 minutes. Pu-erh is 3 grams in 2.5 oz, generally 10, 10, 20, 30, 60 sec. Since I use less tea, 6 sessions is equivalent to twice that many for people who use 7 grams of tea.

My numerical ratings are all based on how much enjoyment I took from the tea. Since I prefer blacks and oolongs, they will receive higher scores. I also give a couple of extra points to decafs, just because I can drink them in the evening without staying up half the night. I don’t dislike flavored teas, but find that they lack the complexity of finer teas.

90-100 = superior, worth a high price
80-89 = Excellent. Will buy again
70-79 = Good tea, but probably won’t buy
60-69 = Nothing really wrong, but…
Below 60 = Wouldn’t drink again. Probably didn’t finish

I am having computer problems and my password is lost. If my computer dies, I won’t be able to access my account, so will need to start a new account as Dr_Jim. This statement vouches for my new identity.



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