This Pu-erh started out a bit confusing for me. I usually steep Pu-erh in a gaiwan, and I don’t usually encounter a bagged Pu-erh (I think I’ve tried two other bagged Pu-erh teas in my lifetime!) so I was not sure exactly how to approach brewing it.
So, I just acted like my tea mug was a gaiwan … sort of. I started out with boiling water, and put the tea bag into my favorite mug, and poured hot water over the tea bag. Pretty much standard procedure, right? Instead of steeping for 2 or 3 minutes, though, I kept this under a minute (I’m not sure of the exact brew time, because I forgot to set the timer, but if I were to offer a guess, I’d say it steeped for about 40 seconds.)
The aroma of the brewed tea is quite what I’d expect from a Pu-erh. Strong and earthy. The flavor is quite similar to what I’ve come to expect from a Pu-erh as well. Deep, smooth flavor. Earthy. Rich. Perhaps a bit of wood-like undertones – with just a hint of smoke! – there as well. And a sweetness that is similar to burnt sugar. It’s quite a pleasant Pu-erh, surprising as it may be, since it is a bagged tea.
Imperial Organic describes this Pu-erh as
Introducing our new line of teas – Imperial Organic. What does imperial mean? It means royal quality of organic degree in teas available today. Pu-Erh is a tea that undergoes a period of aging. It is the most complex of Chinese teas. Traditionally all teas were fermented in the manner due to long travel times when they were being exported. In ancient times of China, round sized cakes of these teas were used as currency because of its value. When brewed, Pu-Erh tea has a dark reddish color with a strong, full and earthy taste. Some scientific studies have suggested the possibilty that Pu-Erh tea reduces cholesterol and blood fats. Certified organic and kosher, every batch is carefully hand inspected to ensure goodness and purity. Taste the Uncle Lee’s difference!
I know a lot of people generally turn their noses up when it comes to bagged tea, and I used to be one of them. I still prefer loose leaf to bagged, and I probably always will. But, as I’ve said before, there are times when the convenience of a bagged tea wins out over the better flavor of the loose leaf. There are times when convenience is needed, and for those times, it is good to have some good quality bagged teas like those from Imperial Organic.
I enjoyed this bagged Pu-erh, even if it threw me for a loop at the beginning. I like that it was forgiving enough for me to have possibly over-steeped it. While Pu-erh generally does not become bitter, I have noticed that if I steep it too long, I end up with an exceptionally earthy brew … but that didn’t happen even though I didn’t keep track of how long I steeped it. Instead, I was treated to a rich, smooth Pu-erh with a sweet caramel-like taste that develops as I continue to sip. Nice!