While I have tried countless teas of several varieties, puer teas have consistently evaded me.The first time I puerh was several months ago, and after finding it to taste like sad pungent fish water, felt quite discouraged from trying any other types. Luckily, White2Tea heard of my puer troubles, and offered very generously to send me a pack of some of the varieties they offered in order to show me the world of fermented tea wasn’t quite as scary as I originally thought. The first tea of this glorious assortment I will be reviewing is White2Tea’s 2014 New Amerykah 2 raw puer. Let’s get on with the taste adventure, shall we? 🙂
The scent of the dry pieces of tea brick is profoundly earthy with a fruity scent also present. It almost reminds me of walking through an orchard, with wet soil and leaves coupled with fresh fruity aroma. It’s certainly a far cry from the wince-worthy fishy dirt I distinctly remember from my first puer foray. 😛
My first “steeping” functioned mostly as a rinse to get the brick piece to unfurl a bit. I let TeaPiggle sip on it, and he was absolutely overjoyed!To Piggle’s great disappointment, however, I kept all of the future infusions to myself. 😛
Brew Temperature: ~90 C
Leaf Amount/Steep Time: 5g per 200mL of water/30 seconds
As the leaves continued to break up during the first infusion, a new smokey scent immediately began to wander up from the brew. The earthy smell was still prominent, though a more floral jasmine scent replaced the previously fruity one. The taste of the tea was also heavily indicative of that strong, sweet jasmine flavor with a slightly bitter finish, almost like an exceptionally strong green tea. I was so surprised this sort of flavor had come from a puer cake, and I probably wouldn’t have even believed it came as a result of brewing puer if I hadn’t brewed it myself! A bit of research confirms this type of flavor profile is indicative of raw puer, while the bolder, even earthier flavors are attributed to ripe cakes. The taste of this brew is so full, it’s almost like having a meal, and definitely encouraged me to slip slow and truly savor this tea.
Following another 30 second steeping, I found this infusion far more earthy and bitter than the first, with flowery jasmine as more of an aftertaste. Keeping in line with what I had previously said about this tea feeling like a meal, I was really starting to feel “full” at this point. Oh dear! But I must press on, for tea science!
For this infusion, I decided to let the tea steep for 45 seconds- as you can see, the brew is beginning to get lighter in color. The tea has a much smoother taste than the 2nd and even the 1st infusion, with much less bitterness but still a very full taste. This was definitely my favorite infusion, as I could taste the floral and earthy notes without the astringency and slight bitterness of previous tastings.
At this point, I’m sure I could’ve gotten 2-3 more steeps out of these leaves, but my tummy was so full of delicious tea goodness all I could do was sink back into the couch, watch the slightly ridiculous UK general election debate, and try not to fall asleep. 😛
New Amerykah 2 2014 is absolutely delicious and a wonderful introduction to puers for people who are new, hesitant, or have maybe have felt they’ve been scored by puer before. From what I’ve collected, raw puers are much more mellow than the ripe varieties and appear to be easier to brew properly as well. As “basic” as this might sound, while drinking New Amerkyah 2 I felt I was able to enjoy the smooth drinkability of a nicely roasted floral green tea while being able to simultaneously savor the characteristic depth of flavor and potency of puer. I’m overjoyed I had the opportunity to drink this tea as my first formal introduction to the endless varieties of fermented teas. It might be a baby step, but it is certainly a step toward a whole new world of flavor! 🙂
To check out 2014 New Amerykah for yourself, click here: http://www.white2tea.com/tea-shop/2014-new-amerykah/