2011 Mansai Puerh Tea from The Essence of Tea

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Pu-erh

Where to Buy:  The Essence of Tea

Tea Description:

The flavour is thick and pure, with a hint of bitterness transforming into a long sweetness in the mouth.  The tea is balanced throughout the mouth and throat, with the strong qi immediately present upon drinking.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I’m finding this pu-erh to be quite unusual from the pu-erh I’ve tasted in the past.  Not that I would consider myself to be a connoisseur of tea by any means … I’m more of a novice when it comes to pu-erh.  But I have tried a good number of pu-erh, and it is from those experiences that I can say that this one is a bit unusual.

The sip starts out sweet and smooth – nothing unusual there.  But at the point where the palate begins to recognize and appreciate the sweetness, a savory bitterness arrives, and I find the contrast compelling.  I don’t find the bitterness to be a distasteful one, so I find myself wanting a different word to replace “bitterness,” because so often it is used to denote an off-putting flavor, and this is not off-putting.

There is an overtone of smokiness to this pu-erh that melds pleasantly with the earthy tones.  It has hints of woody notes in the background, and even some hints of mineral.  As I continue to sip and throughout the infusions (I steeped this tea six times), I found that the aforementioned bitterness developed into more of a a sour note, which seemed to complete the sweetness in a very pleasing way.

This is a most intriguing pu-erh… I find the balance of flavor and contrasts to be so interesting that it keeps me sipping with curiosity.  It also makes me wonder how different the 2010 Mansai Puerh Tea from The Essence of Tea might be from its younger sibling.  Perhaps this is a tea I will have to try at some point.