Are you finished guessing? It's a Pu-er cake aged since 2004 from the Yunnan Province, in the town of Xishuangbanna (pronounced sig-song-banna). Xishuangbanna means "twelve thousand rice fields." (You'll rock the crossword puzzle in the Shanghai version of the New York Times.) This tea is grown on one of the six famous tea mountains in Xishuangbanna. These mountains provide excellent growing conditions for Pu-er and the soil quality helps with the unique taste profiles. Like the movie, "There's Something about Mary," the same could be said about the soil for various tea, coffee, and wine growing regions, "There's something about the soil." The reason that some Ethiopian coffees have notes of blueberries is that the same chemical that makes blueberries taste like blueberries is found in the soil in that region and when the coffee is roasted a certain way, those chemicals can be part of the aromatic signature of the coffee. The age of the tea, the terroir (region), the altitude grown, and brewing duration dictate the flavor profile.
Tea is crazy complicated and complex- the brewing times, the amount of steeps, and the temperature depend on the type of tea. For Pu-er, we brew it at boiling, eight different brewing times.
Here is the schedule of steepings:
1st- 20 secs
4th-1 min 20 seconds
The tea is removed from the wrapping and we use the Pu-er knife to extract a small amount from the cake.
We brew our coffee and tea in French Presses because it looks great and it is easy to get the full extraction of the coffee/ tea flavor.
Here is the first steeping of the Pu-er tea.
Here are my cupping notes for this awesome tea, aged since 2004.
1st steep: sweet, with a melon ball finish
2nd steep: bold in back of palate, tremendous richness
3rd steep: sweeter, more mouthfeel in front
4th steep: creamy, no bite- very minty
5th steep: sweeter than the 4th, mint note remains
6th steep: light, light colored cup, sweet honeydew notes linger
7th steep: even more honeydew notes, very light body
8th steep: It reminds me of the 4th steep- creamy with no bite, but a bit of roughness in the middle of your palate.
Here is a map of the region where this tea was grown...
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