I recently went to the Asian store here in my area and came away with a decently priced Pu Erh tea. I had heard about this variety a lot but had never tried it before, so I was really curious. I was a little worried I was buying the cheap variety and I wouldn’t get a good idea of what this tea should be like. That was a valid concern and I have since learned to buy my pu-erh teas online.
When I got home and unpacked the tea, I noticed a rotten smell immediately. Not really rotten but just a little musky I guess; either way it wasn’t the most pleasant thing I’ve ever smelled. When I brewed the tea and tried the first sip, it didn’t taste good at all. It tasted kind of like dirt. It was even a little gritty.
So I did some reading online to see if that’s what it should taste like or if I simply got a bad batch. Turns out that’s pretty much what it should taste like. What I did wrong was I didn’t dump out the first infusion or two. You see, you want to let the tea steep for about 10 seconds then pour that out. I’ve actually started doing that twice in a row. Then I let the third infusion steep for the normal amount of time, about 2 minutes, and that’s the one I drink.
This method really works and I end up with a decent tasting cup every time. I recommend you do the same. And after the third infusion you can actually prepare two, three or even four more and they still taste pretty good. Following this method, I actually enjoy drinking the Pu Er. Although to be honest, I still prefer pretty much any other variety of tea. This one, from Yunnan province in China, just isn’t to my liking. I know many people love it more than any other variety of tea though, so it’s really just a matter of personal taste. You should get yourself some and try it. Preferably get yourself a better quality one than I did. Don’t be cheap like me.