I'm not a Pu-erh drinker. Not that I have anything against Pu-erh. I'd like to be one. I've certainly drunk it, and I'm always looking for more, but it's one of those few sorts of tea that I've read a lot about and I just don't have enough direct experience with it.
When I first discovered this stuff, I'd read about decades-old cakes that were worth thousands of dollars/euros. So for a while I thought this tea was just out of my price range. There's reasonably priced Pu-erh out there. You needn't start with the most expensive stuff. Actually, I've read that not knowing more about this tea can actually make an amateur more easily duped to believe a highly-priced cake is more rare or more valuable than it really is.
I researched buying this tea with trepidation. Seemed like the whole ordeal was going to be a bit of a minefield. Where to start?
Well, when I was going through the Upton Tea website I came upon this.
It's almost as this blurb was written for me and those of my ilk. And I quote directly: A flavorful Pu-Erh offering suited for those who want a quality, flavorful infusion at a modest price. That's me-that's me.
So the only thing that's worse than ordering tea that you really don't like is getting a tea like this that you like so much. What? Are you really complaining about liking a tea too much? Well yes, actually I am.
The idea of fannings made me nervous. When people complain about teabags, they often say that the teabags were filled with teadust or fannings. I thought these were synonyms.
In the case of this tea, this is definitely not teadust. There's a fermented taste to the cup, and the colour is as dark brown as a cup of coffee. And strong, too. There's no doubt that this tea packs a punch.
Like I say, as good as this experience is, it makes me a bit nervous that I'm getting to the end of my supply. I guess this is a problem I'm grateful to have.