The flavour of this tea is pleasantly earthy and rich, and I prefer it to those that have aged longer.
This tea is famed for its medicinal properties. The leaves come from the Yunnan Dayeh variety of tea tree - which is purported to be closely related to the original tea tree of pre-glacial times.
The method of production is: The tealeaves are picked, rolled, withered in the hot sun, after which they are steamed and pressed into cakes. This pu-erh is broken up out of the cakes to make it easier to deal with. The steaming process generates some moisture and when compressed (without drying) into the cakes, in the course of time the tea takes on a musty and earthy character. Pu-erh that gets somewhat moldy before it naturally dries is considered the best. Pu-erh is then stored for years. As with wine, young pu-erh is considered the least valuable whereas pu-erh 5 years or older is more highly prized. Interestingly the taste of pu-erh becomes more mellow with age and perhaps more acceptable to the western palate.
The taste has been described as mellow, however those not accustomed to it might not enjoy the 'old' character. For others though, this flavor will add to its aura of wonder and seem fitting in a tea prized for its medicinal properties. Some consumers have recommended that pu-erh be blended with chrysanthemum florets to make the taste more acceptable. In fact this blend can be ordered in teahouses in southern China and Hong Kong. Other recommended uses: Pu-erh is a main ingredient in Kombucha.
Bring filtered or freshly drawn cold water to a rolling boil. Place 1 slightly heaping teaspoon of loose tea for each 7-9oz / 200-260ml of fluid volume in the teapot. Pour the boiling water into the teapot. Cover and let steep for 3-7 minutes according to taste (the longer the steeping time the stronger the tea).