Yesterday I brewed the tieguanyin with Poland Spring, and I have to say it didn’t taste like much — similar to my filtered water brew, actually, if not even a little worse. There’s no sense that this was a spring water (unlike all the other ones, where I tasted a difference in texture, etc). I don’t know if it’s my tongue starting to get bored of the repeated assults of tieguanyin, or if it’s really the water being inferior. Either way, I think it’s a sign I should at least stop the experiment for now.
So, what do I brew today?
I decided to break out my brick that I haven’t had for a long while. I think last time I drank it was more than a year ago. This is a brick of puerh that I bought 4-5 years ago, when I was just starting out in serious tea drinking and knew little of anything about puerh. I decided what the hell, I’ll buy a brick, and so I did.
The brick is very dense, and the tea is packed tightly. The outside (tea covering the surface of the cake) looks better than the inside, which looks mushed up. I broke off a few pieces, and put it into my puerh pot for brewing. When I bought it, I remember being told that this cake was about 10-15 years old. Drinking it now though, I have to say it ages very very slowly — perhaps due to the fact that it’s so tightly packed, and also simply because it’s an inferior tea.
The taste of the puerh still retains a bit of the green, raw puerh taste — a bit astringent, slightly sour sometimes, with that distinctive raw puerh flavour that you won’t find anywhere else. The first few brews were a little more complex, but it peters out after about 5-6 infusions. It feels as though the brick is refusing to mature — after all this time, still tasting a bit green and retains its cutting edge. This is not to say the tea tastes like those 3 year old bricks/cakes — not at all. There’s definitely a good amount of cha chi, but not enough pleasant flavours to compensate 🙁
I suppose as a tuition fee, it’s not bad. It’s still drinkable, although definitely not everyone’s drink.
This is my puerh pot, after I decided to give it a few rubs. It’s gotten shinier, but you might be able to see a ring or two on the lid, which is due to my mismanagement early on in my tea career. I suppose over time I will be able to compensate as I spend more time caring for the pots. Nevertheless, this pot’s served me well for puerh drinking (3 years now), and I think I will take it with me to Beijing.