My grandparents gave me a lovely little Visa gift card this past Christmas, and I decided to buy my very first pu'er bricks with it! I went to Verdant Tea, because I've always been incredibly happy with what they carry. I've had these bricks sitting in my room for a little bit now. One I've left untouched, it will age and sit and do what it wants to do, but the other is being slowly dismantled and consumed.
I just want to say that this brick of tea is super tightly packed to the point where I'm visibly struggling to be delicate. I have a little paring knife I use, but even then it can be a bit of a struggle to cleanly break pieces off. I've watched videos of people properly breaking apart pu'er and I feel terrible with how rough I have to be on this one. I read a steepster review that reassured me I wasn't just being heavy-handed, and that this was a very dense & difficult brick. Despite that, I've still managed to keep most leaves I break off whole.
Now, I had no idea some pu'ers smell like a sea breeze. I found this utterly off-putting at first (can you tell I'm a novice?) and it ruined my appetite for the tea. My doubts quickly washed away when I saw the color of it after it steeped. It was so deep and dark and red that I had to try it, and once I got past the inital aroma I was quite pleased to find that it was delicious. The cup it brewed was very malty and smooth. The flavor reminded me of a very strong honeybush tisane: caramel-like, with a sweetness like vanilla.
I was also strongly reminded of roasted yerba maté in later steepings of this tea.
It left a nice tingle on my tongue for the aftertaste, and there I got a more damp woodsy flavor from it. Overall I've grown really fond of this pu'er despite the initial struggles, and I love drinking it after a heavy meal. It settles my stomach and warms me up when I'm feeling a bit queasy after being a glutton. :)