I had initially planned to go gong fu with this Grandpa. I undid the paper wire twisty thing, plopped the ball in a 100ml pot and turned the kettle on. But being curious ol’ me I didn’t just toss the wrapper in the wastepaper basket and, lo and behold, the crinkled little square had instructions printed on it. Eager to correct my mistake I take a water glass out of the cupboard and proceed to my first ever grandpa brewing. But this prologue is getting a bit out of hand so let’s get down to business.
I did a quick rinse and then filled the glass with water just off the boil. After a minute or two of waiting patiently for the brew to cool down a bit I had before me a glassful of unexpectedly dark liquor. One could easily have mistaken it for Coke that’s gone flat.
The nose had something sweet in it. Dark brown sugar, but not as strong as a muscovado, maybe demerara? There was some woodiness too, and old books, slightly dusty.
The taste made me think a while. At first I thought coffee, but that didn’t exactly hit the spot. So then I thought dark chocolate, it was after all slightly bitter, slightly sweet, but it lacked this roasted cocoa taste, so chocolate didn’t cut it either. And then I asked myself why do so many people associate shou pu’er with mushrooms. This is when a memory from a few years ago surfaced in my mind. You see I could never make the connection because I was thinking about the wrong kind of mushrooms. I was trying to find the aroma and taste of the most common button mushrooms and it simply wasn’t there. And then I had a revelation – the chaga and reishi tea I had back when I was in my superfood craze phase. Slightly bitter, slightly woody… Sweeten it with brown sugar to cover up the medicinal bitterness… Absolutely spot on.
It’s been some 15 minutes since I hit the leaf mark in my glass of grandpa style tea and all this time I’ve been having this lingering demerara sugar aftertaste on each out-breath. As much as I enjoy it I’d say it’s high time I went for a refill.
Flavors: Brown Sugar, Dark Bittersweet, Earth, Mushrooms, Wood