About This Tea

Fengqing Ancient Tree Spring Chun Jian Raw Pu-erh Cake Tea 2012Tea type: Raw (sheng) pu’erh, loose-leaf, broken off from a pu’erh cake

How I got it: This tea was provided to me for free from Teavivre in exchange for a review.

How you can get it: Fengqing Ancient Tree Spring Chun Jian Raw Pu-erh Cake Tea 2012 is available online from Teavivre.

Tea description from Teavivre’s website:

Combining the features of both Ming Qian and Yu Qian, with the excellent skills of tea makers, this Ancient Chun Jian Raw Puerh has an even shape, strong aroma and bright yellowish green color. It tastes soft of first sip. The flavor after is light bitter. Then it comes the sweet aftertaste after the swallowing of the liquid, which will stay in your mouth for a long time

How I Brewed It

Fengqing Ancient Tree Spring Chun Jian Raw dry leaf in gaiwanTeavivre delivers their samples in small foil packets. I took the entire contents of one packet of Fengqing Ancient Tree Spring Chun Jian Raw Pu-erh — about 10 grams — and poured it into a gaiwan. The dry leaf smelled smoky, leathery, mineral, and even slightly yeasty and tart like bread. The leaves themselves were dark and spindly, with flecks of gold and brown among the leathery black.

I brewed the tea using ~100°C water poured into a giant teapot — enough to make about a dozen steeps. The dry tea itself nearly filled the gaiwan halfway! I compensated by starting off with really short initial steeps. I gave the dried tea two short rinses and a rest of about 5 minutes to wake up. Then I gave the tea successive steeps of 10/10/12/10/12 seconds.

How Does It Taste?

Fengqing Ancient Tree Spring Chun Jian Raw brewed teaThe first steep of Fengqing Ancient Tree Spring Chun Jian Raw Pu-erh is a very clear, light orange-brown with no cloudiness. The tea itself is thin in my mouth and coats my tongue with bitterness at first. The aftertaste is also somewhat bitter, though I sense that the tea will change character over the next few steeps and become fuller and sweeter.

The second steep is still clear but is a slightly darker brown. It’s slightly more bitter than the first steep, and I’m also beginning to notice some astringency crinkling my tongue.

The third steep and fourth steeps are still bitter. I’m guessing I used too much leaf, but other reviews I had read of this tea said they used the same amount, so I’m not sure what’s going on. The bitterness is somewhat tart and smoky as well.

And now I’m getting a bit of a stomachache and maybe even some heartburn. Yippee.

The fifth steep is starting to lighten up somewhat, but by this point I’m just going to accept that I botched the preparation by using a whole sample packet. I probably would have done much better with 5 grams in the gaiwan rather than 10. On the plus side, the leaves have really started to expand and become a deep olive green colour.

Fengqing Ancient Tree Spring Chun Jian Raw wet leaf in gaiwan