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#1: Starter Pu-erh cake to try?

Posted on 2006-06-12 01:47:48 by bloehard

What would be a good pu-erh brand to try for those unfamiliar with it.
Although I have not liked most Pu-erh I have tried. On the not liked
list was the Lapsang from Twinnings, the Foojoy bagged, and various
cheap cakes from the Asian market. Does that mean I really should not
bother?
Is there a mild brand/version that is easily available at most Asian
markets (I am in San Diego if that means anything) that I could look
for. I know this has probably been addressed, but the sheer amount of
info on Pu-erh is overwhelming.
Thank you!

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#2: Re: Starter Pu-erh cake to try?

Posted on 2006-06-12 04:31:10 by jason.fasi

I wish I felt that the "sheer amount of info on Pu-erh" was
overwhelming!
BTW, lapsang is not a pu-erh.
I guess my first question is: which kind of pu-erh do you want to try,
cooked or raw? Cooked pu-erh is more common at Asian markets; it's
unlikely you'd find raw pu-erh at your asian market. The "Golden Needle
White Lotus" cake, available on eBay and at houdeasianart.com, is
rather tasty cooked cake. The "yiwu zhengshan" from teaspring is very
mild for a raw cake. When looking for a young cake, though, look for
something with large leaves, as the flavor tends to be milder. I think
both houde and eBay also have loose-leaf raw pu-erh.

But as for finding a raw cake in your asian market, it's likely they'd
only have the green-boxed raw "tuocha" from xiaguan factory, which is
rather bitter and harsh if not brewed properly.

If $ is an issue, take advantage of sellers like houde and
jingteashop.com, who offer samples so you can try teas without making
an investment. Every time I brew a sample form them, I thank them in my
head for offering such a useful service.

Also, I don't work for them. I'm just thankful.

see <a href="http://puerh_tea.livejournal.com" target="_blank">http://puerh_tea.livejournal.com</a> for reviews of cakes you might be
interested in. click on &quot;puerh reviews&quot; at the top of the page to see
them sorted by factory, year, etc.

~j


bloehard wrote:
&gt; What would be a good pu-erh brand to try for those unfamiliar with it.
&gt; Although I have not liked most Pu-erh I have tried. On the not liked
&gt; list was the Lapsang from Twinnings, the Foojoy bagged, and various
&gt; cheap cakes from the Asian market. Does that mean I really should not
&gt; bother?
&gt; Is there a mild brand/version that is easily available at most Asian
&gt; markets (I am in San Diego if that means anything) that I could look
&gt; for. I know this has probably been addressed, but the sheer amount of
&gt; info on Pu-erh is overwhelming.
&gt; Thank you!

Report this message

#3: Re: Starter Pu-erh cake to try?

Posted on 2006-06-12 04:57:08 by Barky Bark

In the &quot;little saigon&quot; area of El Cajon Blvd there are many tiny asian
markets. Go in one or two and look for a cylindrical tea container about
the size of your fist that says &quot;Yunnan&quot; somewhere on it. In it you will
find a decent cooked pu cake for less than $2 which will last you weeks if
not months.

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#4: Re: Starter Pu-erh cake to try?

Posted on 2006-06-12 07:07:14 by Mydnight

&gt; What would be a good pu-erh brand to try for those unfamiliar with it.
&gt; Although I have not liked most Pu-erh I have tried. On the not liked
&gt; list was the Lapsang from Twinnings, the Foojoy bagged, and various
&gt; cheap cakes from the Asian market. Does that mean I really should not
&gt; bother?
&gt; Is there a mild brand/version that is easily available at most Asian
&gt; markets (I am in San Diego if that means anything) that I could look
&gt; for. I know this has probably been addressed, but the sheer amount of
&gt; info on Pu-erh is overwhelming.
&gt; Thank you!

There isn't much in the way of &quot;brand&quot; as we know it when it comes to
pu'er. I guess you could say factory name instead of brand, but it's a
little hard to find &quot;mild version&quot;; not exactly sure what that means.

Mike usually recommends, and I trust his advise on pu'er, that you try
to stick with the big factories until you develop some ability to know
what is good and what is bad pu'er. The two largest would be Menghai
and Xiaguan, and they produce some pretty good stuff. If you need some
weblinks, do a search on this forum and you're sure to find whatever
you need to buy some stuff. New tea from these factories is usually
pretty cheap.

Happy hunting.

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#5: Re: Starter Pu-erh cake to try?

Posted on 2006-06-12 16:15:01 by Space Cowboy

In my Chinatown you can still buy the 2003 Xiaguan QiZi shu bundles for
$18. They don't seem to run out so I don't buy and hoard anymore. It
does taste different than the CNNP Xiaguan 100g shu tuocha for a $1.
What I've learned from both is letting them air out. The tuocha paper
wrapper is heavy so the puer can't breath. The QiZi is tissue wrappers
and breathes better when the shell is loosened. I've come to
appreciate the rancid taste in more recent shu versus the coffee taste
of something more mature. I'll take rancid over coffee anyday. I
remember in my early days when struggling with cooked puer Lew
recommended golden melon which I liked right away. I'd say find
something that talks about the quality of the bud if you don't like
what you find in Chinatown.

Jim

Barky Bark wrote:
&gt; In the &quot;little saigon&quot; area of El Cajon Blvd there are many tiny asian
&gt; markets. Go in one or two and look for a cylindrical tea container about
&gt; the size of your fist that says &quot;Yunnan&quot; somewhere on it. In it you will
&gt; find a decent cooked pu cake for less than $2 which will last you weeks if
&gt; not months.

Report this message

#6: Re: Starter Pu-erh cake to try?

Posted on 2006-06-12 18:32:05 by Mydnight

Space Cowboy wrote:
&gt; In my Chinatown you can still buy the 2003 Xiaguan QiZi shu bundles for
&gt; $18. They don't seem to run out so I don't buy and hoard anymore. It
&gt; does taste different than the CNNP Xiaguan 100g shu tuocha for a $1.
&gt; What I've learned from both is letting them air out. The tuocha paper
&gt; wrapper is heavy so the puer can't breath. The QiZi is tissue wrappers
&gt; and breathes better when the shell is loosened. I've come to
&gt; appreciate the rancid taste in more recent shu versus the coffee taste
&gt; of something more mature. I'll take rancid over coffee anyday. I
&gt; remember in my early days when struggling with cooked puer Lew
&gt; recommended golden melon which I liked right away. I'd say find
&gt; something that talks about the quality of the bud if you don't like
&gt; what you find in Chinatown.
&gt;

New or not, the tea should not have any rancid flavor at all. If it
does, it's a sign of poor storage and shouldn't be drank anyway.

Report this message

#7: Re: Starter Pu-erh cake to try?

Posted on 2006-06-12 21:43:28 by Space Cowboy

I mean rancid as in leathery,ashy,fishy,moldy as me and others try to
describe the first time taste on something most likely bought in
Chinatown which is probably a Xiaguan product. That taste I discovered
simply comes from leaf grade and is suppose to ameliorate over time
with help from the yeast and proper storage supposedly. Grading in
China refers to 'taste' which seems to be directly proportional to
price. I like a rancid shu with a meal but like the higher grades by
themselves. I think you are referring to wet storage puer which I've
seen described as spoiled tasting.

Jim

PS I think the 2003 Xiaguan Qizi is a grade 5 or 6 close to the bottom
of the scale. It is like drinking beer. You develop a taste and then
a craving. The last time I checked on TaoBao a single beeng is going
for $15.

Mydnight wrote:
&gt; Space Cowboy wrote:
&gt; &gt; In my Chinatown you can still buy the 2003 Xiaguan QiZi shu bundles for
&gt; &gt; $18. They don't seem to run out so I don't buy and hoard anymore. It
&gt; &gt; does taste different than the CNNP Xiaguan 100g shu tuocha for a $1.
&gt; &gt; What I've learned from both is letting them air out. The tuocha paper
&gt; &gt; wrapper is heavy so the puer can't breath. The QiZi is tissue wrappers
&gt; &gt; and breathes better when the shell is loosened. I've come to
&gt; &gt; appreciate the rancid taste in more recent shu versus the coffee taste
&gt; &gt; of something more mature. I'll take rancid over coffee anyday. I
&gt; &gt; remember in my early days when struggling with cooked puer Lew
&gt; &gt; recommended golden melon which I liked right away. I'd say find
&gt; &gt; something that talks about the quality of the bud if you don't like
&gt; &gt; what you find in Chinatown.
&gt; &gt;
&gt;
&gt; New or not, the tea should not have any rancid flavor at all. If it
&gt; does, it's a sign of poor storage and shouldn't be drank anyway.

Report this message

#8: Re: Starter Pu-erh cake to try?

Posted on 2006-06-13 06:23:14 by Mydnight

&gt; I mean rancid as in leathery,ashy,fishy,moldy as me and others try to
&gt; describe the first time taste on something most likely bought in
&gt; Chinatown which is probably a Xiaguan product.

I'm still going to stick to my guns here and assert that if you have
ashy, leathery, fishy, or moldy tea; it's something wrong with the
storage and not neccessarily the leaf quality. I've had many a sheng
or shu that were totally junk quality, but I've never encountered any
fishy tasting pu before.

&gt;That taste I discovered
&gt; simply comes from leaf grade and is suppose to ameliorate over time
&gt; with help from the yeast and proper storage supposedly. Grading in
&gt; China refers to 'taste' which seems to be directly proportional to
&gt; price. I like a rancid shu with a meal but like the higher grades by
&gt; themselves. I think you are referring to wet storage puer which I've
&gt; seen described as spoiled tasting.

You are about half right. Pricing in China does have a lot to do with
taste, but it has a lot to do with leaf quality too; it sorta
corresponds to taste. Depending on which tea you are talking about,
there are different standards to judge grade by. Most teas that are
higher in quality have full, soft leaves and not chopped or broken
pieces of leaf. Even with pu'er, leaf quality is important. For
instance, the 1995 Menghai Fang Cha that I have has pretty decent
looking leaves if you know how to cut a portion off correctly.

Saying that, I've also had some really crumby looking leaves in my tea
and the taste was acceptable. Grading is a very difficult process in
China because the standards aren't as set like as in India.


&gt; Jim
&gt;
&gt; PS I think the 2003 Xiaguan Qizi is a grade 5 or 6 close to the bottom
&gt; of the scale. It is like drinking beer. You develop a taste and then
&gt; a craving. The last time I checked on TaoBao a single beeng is going
&gt; for $15.
&gt;
&gt; Mydnight wrote:
&gt; &gt; Space Cowboy wrote:
&gt; &gt; &gt; In my Chinatown you can still buy the 2003 Xiaguan QiZi shu bundles for
&gt; &gt; &gt; $18. They don't seem to run out so I don't buy and hoard anymore. It
&gt; &gt; &gt; does taste different than the CNNP Xiaguan 100g shu tuocha for a $1.
&gt; &gt; &gt; What I've learned from both is letting them air out. The tuocha paper
&gt; &gt; &gt; wrapper is heavy so the puer can't breath. The QiZi is tissue wrappers
&gt; &gt; &gt; and breathes better when the shell is loosened. I've come to
&gt; &gt; &gt; appreciate the rancid taste in more recent shu versus the coffee taste
&gt; &gt; &gt; of something more mature. I'll take rancid over coffee anyday. I
&gt; &gt; &gt; remember in my early days when struggling with cooked puer Lew
&gt; &gt; &gt; recommended golden melon which I liked right away. I'd say find
&gt; &gt; &gt; something that talks about the quality of the bud if you don't like
&gt; &gt; &gt; what you find in Chinatown.
&gt; &gt; &gt;
&gt; &gt;
&gt; &gt; New or not, the tea should not have any rancid flavor at all. If it
&gt; &gt; does, it's a sign of poor storage and shouldn't be drank anyway.

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