Review of Fengqing Paddy Flavor Raw Pu-erh Cake Tea 2006

AromaFlavorValueTotal
8 of 105 of 55 of 583 of 100
ExcellentExcellentOutstanding

I found this tea to be a very enjoyable Pu-erh, typical for its age and unusual only in the degree to which it produced a tingling and numbing sensation on the palate.

I received a sample which was a mostly-whole piece broken off a Pu-erh cake. The leaves were largely intact and it was very easy to break apart without further damaging the leaf.

Aroma of the dry leaf is smoky, but not overwhelmingly so, and somewhat suggestive of black tea (Keemun-like). Very slightly herbaceous, hinting at floral qualities but not quite. This tea isn't flowery in the way oolongs or green teas are, it's much more subtle. Earthy without being dusty. I found when I brewed it more strongly, the first infusion had tones of vanilla. I also found it slightly resembled grassy, hoppy beers in aroma. Like some aged Pu-erh, this tea also smells old, but more in an old books sort of way than the damp basement sensation I get from lower-quality ripened Pu-erh.

Very clean flavor. Crisp, mellow, and smooth...with a mild, pleasing bitterness, and little astringency. When brewing more strongly, I definitely notice the numbing sensation that homais described; in a milder cup it produces a sensation that I'd describe more as a mild stimulating effect on the palate, somewhat tingly. Reminiscent of Szechuan peppercorns.

I found this tea to infuse quickly; the leaves are loosely packed and unfurl quite quickly. TeaVivre recommends a 1-2 minute initial steeping, and I recommend aiming for the low end. I was able to make 4 infusions before the flavor gave out...but the fourth cup was almost as flavorful as the first.

I thought this tea was very reasonably priced for its age and quality. I recommend ordering a sample before buying it...it's 387 grams, which is a lot of tea if you don't like it, but I can't imagine many people would be disappointed. It's perfectly drinkable as-is but it's strong enough that I could see people continuing to age it as well.

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