Review of Fengqing Ancient Tree Spring Chun Jian Raw Pu-erh Cake Tea 2012

AromaFlavorValueTotal
9 of 104 of 53 of 583 of 100
SuperbGoodReasonable

This was my first experience with Raw Pu'erh, so this review may be biased on that.

I was initially opposed to this tea. It has an overwhelming bitterness to it that seemed to distract from the other flavors. However, after steeping the tea for a much shorter time (only 10-15s in my gaiwan) I managed to balance out the bitterness and astringency with the other flavors. Now I have found that I enjoy it. Obviously I don't have much to compare it to, but it seems quite good. The tea has a strong vegetal astringency matched with a smooth earthy taste.

**UPDATE**
After playing around with this all day I've figured out the right balance of steeping time and amount of tea. Using slightly less tea and the shorter steeping time results in a wonderful light pu-erh that has the distinct earthy taste while also having some vegetal notes and a sweet aftertaste. I'm glad I kept playing around with it!

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Comments:

Alex Zorach wrote:
on September 17th, 2015

I definitely find that raw pu-erh tends to be strong-flavored, but as you've observed, one way to easily remedy this is by a brief steeping. The mere 3 years of aging on this cake isn't enough to soften the edge. I've tried cakes that are 15 years old and still have a very bold flavor.

Some raw pu-erh though can be smoother than others, and I've encountered many smooth enough to steep quite strongly. For example, from TeaVivre, their Fengqing Old Tree Raw Pu-erh Cake Tea 2013, was pretty smooth. The 2014 batch of the same I didn't like quite as much but it was also less bitter than typical. The smoothest raw Pu-erh I've tried was also one from TeaVivre, the Fengqing Wild Tree Yesheng Raw Pu-erh Tea Cake 2013. That one was exceptionally smooth, and one of my favorite teas I've tried.

With any raw pu-erh though I find I like to steep it more briefly, and many times...when you find something you like, it can deliver cup after cup.

b22johansen wrote:
on September 17th, 2015

Thanks for your thoughts! I'm just now starting to explore pu-erh, so I'm definitely up for suggestions on where to head. So far I've really enjoyed trying them out. They definitely have a unique and complex flavor which is really appealing.

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