Originally uploaded by Chorus of Chaos.
This is Xiao TuoCHa Pu'Erh Tea from the Seattle tea cup (many thanks again toslave2tehtink for introducing me to these people!) it was a sample I recieved with a purchase.
I brewed this with the tea bowl unbroken (i've heard to brew both ways, with it solid and with it crumbled, I will try crumbling later but I don't think it will make a difference as the tea broke up on it's own quite nicely.) this was brewed at 5 minutes with boiling spring water in a 10 ounce tetsubin.
The compressed tea had no smell whatsoever while dry, once brewed it broke up and developed a bold earthy smell with oddly, a slight musk scent such as you would find in perfume.
Tea after brewing
Tea in a small yixing cup I picked up somewhere for nothing
The tea brews to a rich deep red liquor that is medium bodied with no astringency. Flavor is well rounded, similiar to perhaps a blend of a good Keemun and an Assam, but with a strong earthy note and a slightly woodsy taste. Would most likely take milk or lemon quite well, on a whim I added a few drops of honey to the last cup (I drank from the larger tetsubins, not the small yixing pictured above, I only used that so the color of the tea could come through, in the dark tetsubins it can't be seen well.) and it enhanced the flavor of the tea quite nicely! Be warned though, even with a very fine mesh strainer the last cup will have a small amount of dust leavings in it.
All in all this tastes very similiar to the loose leaf pu'erh I tried earlier. I'm not sure which is more costly and if the bowl style costs much more I'll probably go with the loose leaf, but I do like the whimsy of brewing a tiny pressed bowl of tea :)
I will definitely be ordering one or the other to add to my tea cupboard as a regular drinking tea.
On a side note...Talesien for some reason found tea making fascinating...this was the first time I had brewed myself a cup of tea since he'd passed, and I very much missed his presence...So I sort of drank this pot in memorial to my much missed and short lived beloved Tal.
Tal investigating my Gaiwan cup when I first unpacked it.