The folks over at JalamTeas reached out and sent me one of their offerings: Pulang Unfermented Puerh!
I am still quite the puerh novice and this was my very first time trying an unfermented cake, and I am excited to say that it exceeded my expectations entirely! I've read horror stories about unfermented puerh being undrinkable and bitter, but this tea shattered my misconceptions and has been an incredibly enjoyable brew.
The puerh is sourced from the Pulang Mountain (2000m elevation) in southern Yunnan and is a Spring 2012 harvest.
The cake is very light and the leaves were extraordinarily easy to break free. I didn't even need a knife as a gentle wiggle released a generous portion of tea. It is a dark olive in color with lighter tips scattered throughout. The dry leaves carry an almost green floral aroma, but I can't place exactly what it reminds me of.
With hot water added, a tart citrusy scent ... reminiscent of a lemon vinaigrette begins to waft from the gaiwan. The dark olive color remains as the leaves unfurl and steep. The color of the brew is a golden amber and is surprisingly light. After pouring the tea the leaves retain a strong vegetal smell ... almost like freshly steamed spinach.
The aroma from the cup was powerful and a combination of things I've not encountered before. Upon taking a deep breath I took in fragrances of citrus and green smoky wood. My first sip was a tart bite to the palate, but then a green floral reminiscent of lotus came around and then the sip rounded out to a woodsy finish. The tea lingers on the tongue nicely and imparts a flavor comparable to eating honeysuckle blossoms on a spring day.
JalamTeas offers an exciting subscription model that delivers high quality Yunnan puerh to your door on a monthly basis. You get to share a part of Jeff's travels to remote villages, and each cake comes with a lovely card with detailed information on the tea and recommended brewing methods. It's a great way to dive in to the world of green puerh!