Wednesday, March 29, 2006

2 tea samples smell like goat

French goat cheese is one of my favorite. It's quite hard (and expensive) to find some in Taipei. So, I was quite curious when I received these 2 samples of "old puerh" ("a Yunnan long leaf on the left and 16 yrs old Yunnan leaf finished in Taiwan" according to my tea friend in Florida who sent them to me). The smell is so strong that it filled the whole package and almost contaminated the other samples. I've tasted the left one twice and found that the goat smell remained the major strinking note in a very round brew. It reminded me of goat cheese you quickly grill in the oven, but, for a tea, it remained a strange smell and I felt more awkward than thrilled.

In doubt, I took the samples to Teaparker. He looked at them through the plastic zip bag (you can smell the tea without opening the bag) and said that these are fermented teas (the second one may even be oolong: I noticed ants took interest in it. Some sugar may have been added to start the fermentation). Besides, they are not old. They are "aged" in the sense that the maker used young leaves and processed them to give them an old look and smell.

Something is wrong about it, this tea is not right. You don't want to brew it, do you? he asked me almost afraid I would force him to swallow a drop. Oh no, I said! Your opinion is clear enough.

This is not the way I can satisfy my goat cheese craving. Fortunatly, my parents will come from France around Easter and I've asked them to bring me the real thing to eat!

Nevertheless, thanks to my American tea friend for sharing this peculiar tea with me. It has helped me to recognize other "aged" (cooked or mixed raw/cooked) puerhs that displayed similar smells at lower intensity.

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