I wanted to start my blog of with my favorite type of tea : raw Pu Erh. Can’t go a day without drinking this tea. The particular tea I’m going to talk about in this post is a raw Jingmai Pu Erh from SEBZ tea house in Québec city. This tea was harvested and pressed into a tea cake in the spring of 2018. It’s safe to say that it’s a fairly young sheng, with a lot of potential if placed in storage for a couple of years.
For all of my tea tasting, I’m using a yixing gaiwan with a glazed porcelain interior, so the taste of the tea is not altered by the clay. This setup is also optimal for heat retention. After all, it’s one of the many qualities Yixing has to offer. For this tea, I’m using 95C water. I will be going throuh 5 steeps, starting at 15 seconds, and ending with a 45 seconds brew for the 5th infusion.
The dry leaves
The dry leaf has a brown/green-ish color. There is a fair amount of silver buds. I will say that this Pu Erh is made from a fairly traditional style picking (1 bud and up to 4 leaves).
In a heated vessel, I’m able to smell the leaves. Up front, I could smell a lot of vegetal notes, reminding me of dried up herbs (not necessarily aromatic herbs). It also smells like honeysuckle . When I took my nose out of the heated gaiwan, I could smell a bit of a ”pencil shaving” note. (Shoutoot to James and Denny from TeaDb who taught me this could be a smelling and tasting note).
The wet leaves
The wet leaves become rapidly green after a single rince. It really shows that it’s a really young Raw. As for the smell, there’s an orange peel aroma coming out of the leaves. I could also smell a cooked vegeable notes, and a ”gasoline” like aroma, which is not abnormal for a tea this young. There was also a mineral note in the wet leaves, reminding me of wet stone.
The tea liquor
As soon as the leaves unfold, they reveal a deep orange liquor, which just keeps getting darker the more the tea is infused. At first, the color worried me a little bit. I read a lot on tea forums that very young sheng should not display an orange tea soup. I put this thought aside before I started tasting.
First of all, I want to touch on the texture of the tea before venturing in my tasting notes. This tea offers a really thick texture, that coats the entire mouth. But after swallowing the tea, it left me with a dry mouthfeel. A sign of astringency. It set the table for the tasting analysis.
I will now write my tasting notes, going through each of the 5 steepings.
1) This steep was 15 seconds long. It was not that really strong, but I could taste a lot of vegeal notes (dried herbs). Also, the tea offered a lot of astringency. But after the astringency was gone, I could taste a base coat of sweetness. The next steep was promising ! On the down side, the tea soup was wery brothy, like the leaves were cooked or something. It turned me off, but I stayed open minded about it.
2) The second steeping of this tea was the best overall. It offered a sweet tea soup, and a floral finish. It became fruity, reminding me of citrus fruit. The vegetal notes were toned down, still there in the background. The bitterness it gave was mouthwatering. This tea is very persistent, as I could taste it even a couple of minutes after drinking it.
3) This steep marks the beginning of the end of this tea. The vegetal note is all over the place, with citrus fruit and a floral note in the background. The biterness was still there. I felt it at the back of the mouth. Nothing very complex, but quite pleasant.
4) At steep four, the tea started to realease big mineral notes and a mix of biterness and sweetness. This steep was very brothy, to the point where it was not pleasant anymore. The leaves gave everything in the first two steeps. The complexity as completely gone. Though, the flowery aftertaste was still there.
5) This steep is just like the fourth one, very brothy, sweet, mineral and bitter. It was my last infusion of this tea.
This raw Pu Erh offers a moderate Cha Qi. It’s not something strong, nor smooth. I had a bunch of ”Pu burps” along the way, which means that it got my organs moving quite a bit. But not as much as other teas I drank in the past.
To me, this Pu Erh is an entry level cake. As far as the price and taste goes. It’s easily drikable right now, but this young raw is a bit rough around the eges. I think it would greatly benefit from a couple of years of storage.
The leaves give off very fast their flavours and aromatic complexity. I would recommend brewing it 5 seconds at a time, so you can savor this tea for a longer period of time.
It’s not bad at all. For me, it’s a great daily companion.
Jayscore : 7,2 / 10
I greatly encourage you to try this tea vendor, and leave a comment below if you have any questions or thoughts about my tasting notes.
SEBZ : http://www.sebz.ca/en/sebz-tea/
Ps : I will revisit this tea in Yixing later this year. I would greatly benefit from such a teapot.