Hello! After a little delay I am back with more tea. Today’s tea is a shou (ripe) pu-erh that was aged in a tangerine peel.
Tangerine/orange pu-erh teas are quite common in Southern China, and I’ve heard that they are particularly popular in places like Guangdong that consume a lot of pu-erh and heicha.
Tangerines or small wild oranges are typically hollowed out and filled with shou pu-erh and then aged. It imparts a citrus flavor and is a convenient vessel for tea storage.
This specific tea is from the Meng Gu Tea Garden on Bulang Mountain in Menghai County, Xishuangbanna, Yunnan Province, China.
So, on to the tea! I brewed this in my glass gaiwan at 206 degrees F for 5 seconds at the first steep and increasing the brewing time by 5 seconds for each steep.
The dry leaves smell at first like a piney, lemon-orange sent that is reminiscent of preserved lemon or orange peel. That scent then transitions into a sweet, brown sugar scent that reminds me of fig cookies, which is followed finally by a dark, wet wood scent that is characteristic of ripe (shou) pu-erh.
The steeped leaves smell strongly of orange, with slight notes of toasted nuts and wet wood.
The tea smells strongly of a wet wood scent common to shou pu-erh, with a slight hint of citrus at the end.
The tea is syrupy and smooth – almost velvety or silky in texture once it hits the mouth, however when it goes down the throat it has less body and becomes more similar to water. The first flavor is a slightly bitter citrus flavor which I presume is orange peel, and afterwards the shou pu-erh flavors come in with strong notes of wet wood and wet soil and lighter hints of cocoa and smoke. The second infusion brings out more of the earthy flavors of a shou pu-erh, and it loses some of the strong citrus notes of the first infusion. Further infusions have a similar effect as darker, more woody notes come out and the citrus notes aren’t as strong.
Overall, this is a very nice tea. It’s a fun novelty and I imagine it would be a cool gift for lovers of shou pu-erh. The orange peel flavor complements the pu-erh very nicely and I imagine it would go well with other heicha like a liu bao.
Bulang Mountain, Menghai County, Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture, Yunnan Province, China