From the Puerh TTB #3. Thanks to EoT for the samples.

1st steep (10 s): There is a bit of spice in the nose. The taste is quite strong for a 1st steep. Smooth and sweet, with a rich blend of straw, toast and floral hints. The finish is also good; silky smooth and long-lasting. I’m feeling a lot of cha qi, but this is my second sheng of the day so the effect may be cumulative. 2nd (10 s): The tea is a medium straw color. Smell is richer; a hint of smoke? Really big and rich and super finish that seems to just keep getting bigger. Too big for my head!? Partly I think it is a powerful cha qi taking over. Between the finish and the cha qi it is hard to actually taste the tea. It is richer than the first cup, with wood and caramel flavors replacing the floral note. Also not as smooth; there is a bit of tartness and tannin, especially at the finish. This is the sort of tea that I’m tempted to just pound down and enjoy the cha qi, but I want to set a good example and review the tea since it was a donation to the puerh TTB and I was the one that required tasting notes for the donated teas. I’ll take a break then come back.

3rd steep (20 s one hour later): Light straw aroma and flavor. Less nuanced. Sweet, with a hint of bitterness underneath. 4th (30s): More wood than straw. A dark richness that’s hard to identify; not quite earthy. spice? (another review suggested nutmeg, and that is close) Finish and cha qi still dominant. Later steeps were mellow and rich and slightly spicy.

I liked this tea a lot, at least in part because it presented so many different facets. After the first cup I was thinking approachable. After the second I was thinking tea drunk. The third and fourth suggested the need for more age, and I’m now on about the 7th cup and it’s just really pleasant. Smooth, full flavor in the mouth, a finish that is still going strong, and a nice buzz from the cha qi. What’s not to love?

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

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