Review of 10-Year Aged Raw Pu-erh Brick Tea (2005)

8 of 104 of 54 of 585 of 100
ExcellentGoodGood Value

I'm not sure how others determine their point ratings for tea, but for me, an 85 is an above-average everyday tea. At first, when I tried this, I didn't like it. Something about the notes just didn't appeal to me. It took getting more used to rougher, young raw pu-erh for me to really start to appreciate this one. It has a kick to it in terms of energy, but it's not uncomfortable. It's fruity, the note that edges on tobacco put me off at first, but when I tried the tea for a second time (with another sample), that note really wasn't very present. There was some mouthwatering bitterness. It wasn't the kind of complexity or deep or pointed bitterness or notes in the breath that would make me think about aging this further. This comes across as a very good cake to drink right now. There's an interesting set of notes that reminded me a bit of a stable (that grassy, hay note, which I've personally found a lot in gunpowder teas and Chun Mei, and to a lesser extent, in some sencha). It wasn't unappealing, it didn't smell dirty. It also came out more in the wet leaves than in the taste or scent of the brew itself. There were clumps of tea which made it through the gaiwan (I don't use a strainer), but that's par for the course with cakes you have to chip apart (it's not that this one seems so tightly packed, it's more that it's a brick which is harder to pry leaves from than a frisbee-shaped cake, in my opinion). I liked that this had a lot of presence in the taste. I know that's not as sought after by some, but I really like to taste my teas, not just feel them in the breath. This one has more of a taste presence. I also liked the mouthwatering bitter note, though I didn't find it as extreme as other teas. Overall, this is one I could see myself drinking often. It's not too expensive, so I wouldn't feel like I wasted it if I only got a few cups before retiring the brewing session. It's also not overwhelming in its effects in any way. The only thing that I'd caution potential drinkers about is that its energetic effect did edge on jitteriness for me. It might calm down after time (I find that raw pu-erh does, in regards to caffeine). But, for the time being, if you're giving this a try, it's not one I'd recommend for the night time or evening if you're planning on going to sleep. I'd pick this tea for an icy morning in the winter, watching the golden morning light reflecting off the snow. It's a high brewing temperature, so it'll warm you right up, the kick will wake you up, and the fruitiness is great for winter months (those fruity pu-erh notes always remind me of the scent of dried fruit that's been cooked in something and reconstituted to a special sort of sweetness). I'd definitely recommend this one for a try.

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