Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Do you Pu-erh?

A view of the mountains from my Swiss family's village.

Yesterday I told you I had gotten my order from Tony Gebely's new venture, Chicago Tea Garden. Today I am trying one of those offerings. It is Wild Orange Pu-erh. I am not normally a Pu-erh drinker, as it seems you must have a far more sophisticated palate than mine to even start down that road and then I think it is one of those love or hate things, like Lapsang Souchong.

This particular Pu-erh comes from Guandong Province, China and is sourced by David Lee Hoffman. It comes in tiny, hollowed out clementine skins, which are then aged with the tea inside them. These were imported in 2005 and have been aged in Pu-erh caves in the US ever since. They were so cute, I had to try them, and they weren't super expensive. (Ok, ok, I'm a sucker) They do indeed smell like earthy oranges and I brewed according to directions – 1 teaspoon of tea, a piece of orange skin, boiling water. I rinsed the leaves off and brewed the first infusion for 30 seconds and the second one 30 seconds as well.

This is only my 3rd experience with Pu-erh tea, so you can see I am no expert. The tea smells, looks and tastes earthy, but it is the good clean earth of a forest. I thought the first infusion smelled a bit of pine needles. The second had more of an orange smell and taste, but it was still quite smooth, in fact, smoother and gentler. I doubt this will ever be a go-to tea for me – I would have to be in the mood, but I was very pleasantly surprised by how much I liked this tea. My husband disliked it very much. Like I said, love it or hate it. I think this would be an excellent introduction to Pu-erh for many people.


Kathy said...

I love pu-erh as well. I have not had the orange, but it sounds interesting. I seem to find that the taste changes slightly with time, manufacturer, etc. I've found some that I enjoy more than others, but have enjoyed them all so far.

Gingko said...

I "made" some puerh and oolong citruses a few months ago :D But I have no idea what mine will turn into. This just reminds me that I should taste it soon. Here is one of mine: http://gingkobay.blogspot.com/2009/12/made-my-own-tea-grapefuit.html