During a dry day, last week, I checked all my puerh tongs. I brought them down from their storage place and let them breath some dry and fresh air. The hot and humid summer season in Taiwan helps puerh's natural post fermentation. But it's also important to 'nose' check that the puerh evolves correctly and prepare the tea for the relatively colder season.
And with all these raw puerh smells filling the room, I was more than tempted to try one after this summer's evolution. Besides, raw puerh is a tea that is just perfect for the autumn season (and this was the subject of yesterday's Tea event at the Taipei Story House, by the way). As the days get cooler, puerh brings back a feeling of warmth of the sun stored in tea leaves.
I flake this wild raw puerh cake with my bare hands. The big wild puerh leaves are coming off mostly whole from this exercise. The leaves feel very strong, elastic and difficult to break. Not breaking them will make the brew more mellow, so it's worth undoing the compression of the leaves carefully.
I chose my simple ivory gaiwan to brew this puerh instead of my silver teapot, because I wanted to experience it like most of you would experience it.
Compared to 3 summers ago, the leaves have become darker. The cake's fresh and light fragrances have transformed into deep woody notes. The color of the brew hasn't changed that much, though. 5 years is still young. But I notice that it is refining itself. What made this puerh special is becoming even more obvious now. It is pure, fruity and sweet. The pure taste almost makes you forget that you're drinking puerh. It feels light at first and so easy to swallow. The absence of bitterness and astringency is remarkable. This has allowed me to push the leaves by letting them brew several minutes after the third brew (I recommend to use fewer leaves: half the gaiwan once they are open). The fruity fragrances (plum, dried plum) come out very rich and long lasting. But they are also very pure, and this brings calm to the spirit, even as the Cha qi of these powerful wild leaves is very present on the tongue and in my whole body.
The open leaves are impressive: lots of whole leaves.
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