August 08, 2016

In Pursuit of Tea - Puerh Mao Cha 2013

I would like to thank you loyal reader for your patience as my posting fell off before and after my move. I am playing catch up now and hope you won't mind hearing a lot more from me for a spell. Last week I wrote about a Bu Lang raw puerh from Teanami. Today I am also sharing notes on a raw puerh but this one is from In Pursuit of Tea. The Puerh Mao Cha was one of the teas in a sampler I purchased from the vendor.

This raw puerh is loose leaf (or mao cha) made from Camellia sinensis var. assamica grown in Ba Nuo in the Mengku region of Yunnan Province. Note the level of specificity of growing place that In Pursuit of Tea provided for this tea! There a multitude of colors in this tea -- green, brown, slightly red, and deep browns tending black. The leaves are twisted. I used my entire sample which weighed in at 4.57 grams. I started with 200F water but halfway through the session switched to 195F water due to the bitterness of the liquor.

The dry leaves smelled of baking spice and unfrosted walnuts. The rinsed leaves smelled deeply sweet and woody. The first infusion of 5 seconds yielded a mild liquor. I could sense the flavors but the taste was too mellow. By contrast, the infused leaves offered incredible sweetness like a jam. The liquor was a light golden yellow. I bumped up the steeping time very slightly for the second infusion. The liquor was darker in color and there came the dryness with lingering sweetness I associate with raw puerhs. I doubled the steep time for the third infusion and the liquor was nutty with a smidgen of bitterness. Rotea tasted the tea at this point and said this puerh reminded him of an IPA. The fourth steep was 30 seconds in 200F water and the resulting liquor was bitter, unpleasantly so. Here I dropped down to 195F water. The fifth infusion, also of 30 seconds, was less bitter. I used the same parameters for the sixth infusion and got slight bitterness but with tropical fruit sweetness as well as stone fruit and the type of nutty sweetness I associate with the cashew paste used in vegan savories. For the seventh and eighth steeps I infused the leaves for 60 seconds. Both only yielded weak notes of the afore-mentioned flavors.

Take a moment to consider the leaves from this mao cha. (I am geeking out here.) I expected the leaf shown second from the top but the bottom leaf was surprising. I assumed that all Assamica leaves were large in size. However, the smallest leaf could have been plucked from closer to the bud while the largest might have been picked from further down the stem and also be a more typically large Assamica leaf. What do you think?

The best cup from this Puerh Mao Cha was the sixth infusion. I would like to drink this tea again. And I would like to prepare it with more leaf.

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