2002 Raw Pu-erh Tea Brick (Ke Yi Xing) from ES Green

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Pu-erh

Where to Buy:  ES Green

Tea Description:

The Region of Harvest: Yunnan Province, China
Plant Type: Yunnan Big Leaf Bush
Tea Factory: Xi Shuang Ban Na-Yiwu-Key Yi Xing  Tea Factory
Brand: Ke Yi Xing

About the brand “Ke Yi Xing” .  It is one of the time-honored brands in Yun Nan. It is built in 1925.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

The picture appears so much greener than the leaves look to me, I had to double check to make sure that this is indeed the tea I’m tasting.

But, the flavors match the way ES Green describes the tea:

It tastes earthy, old, strong. But it is living, vivid, fresh. You will find it smooth and mellow on the first sip.

This is what I taste from this tea.  I taste the earthiness (I did do two pre-rinses though, to ensure that it would not be too earthy), and I even taste the strength and the age.  I also taste a wild note to this … like a vibrant, green tea that is hiding in the distance.  It hides behind the earthy overtures and the caramel-y undertones, but every once in a while, the vibrant, green … almost lushly fresh tasting green tones emerge just to remind me that they’re there.

A remarkably smooth and mellow tea, and very deep in flavor.  With each subsequent infusion, the flavor became deeper and sweeter!  Much of the earthiness softened by the fourth infusion.  It was still somewhat earthy, but not as earthy as the first few cups.  I found that the tea started to taste lighter and more vibrant and fresh with each subsequent infusion, which seemed to give me a gentle nudge to steep it yet again to see how the flavors would be with the next cup.

This is not one of those teas that you want to rush … you want to sit back, and spend an hour or two just exploring the many layers of flavor that it holds in store.

2002 Ripe/Cooked Pu-erh Mini Bing-Tea Cake from ESGreen

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Pu-erh

Where to Buy:  ESGreen

Tea Description:

This mini tea cake was made by high-level material made from broad-leaved wild tea trees. Traditional court recipe.

The vintage  year is 2002, which is over 10 year now.

Learn more about this pu-erh here.

Taster’s Review:

As I’ve mentioned (more than once!), I’ve had a very difficult relationship with Pu-erh.  It started off really bad … and I think it is those bad memories that taint my experiences with Pu-erh even now.  And really, I don’t think it was the fault of the Pu-erh back then… it was my lack of knowledge.  I didn’t know how to brew a Pu-erh properly, and I ended up with a very earthy dark tea that made me think I was drinking a very thin mud rather than tea.  It wasn’t pleasant.

But that was then, and this is now!

And I have learned quite a bit since then, I have learned better ways of brewing tea.  I have come to embrace the gaiwan as not a “gadget” but an essential tool for tea making.  I love my gaiwan, because I have not only rediscovered the joy of Oolong but have also learned there is much joy to be discovered even with a tea I once disliked:  Pu-erh!

It’s the earthiness that was off-putting.  And when brewed improperly, a Pu-erh can be overwhelmingly earthy, so much so that it is really REALLY off-putting.  But when brewed correctly, a Pu-erh can be so delightfully complex while maintaining a mellow character that is really quite enjoyable.

This Pu-erh is indeed earthy – but the strongest earthy tones are experienced in its aroma, when the tea is in its dry cake form.  After a quick rinse and a 30 second infusion, I smell and taste only a very delicate earthiness, which is layered with an intense sweetness that is like caramel.  It is very smooth.

I’ve often heard Pu-erh compared to a “fishy” taste but I don’t taste that here.  There is a slight mushroom-y/earthy flavor to it, but not at all fishy.  The sweetness is what I taste most, it is very mellow and remarkably smooth.  It’s a really excellent value, too, because I got six very flavorful infusions from one mini tea cake, and I think it would have given many more!

This is one of those Pu-erh teas that I’d recommend to someone who has had bad luck with Pu-erh in the past … this is a good one and certainly worthy of a try.  You might just find this one to your liking!