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The Subject: Bird’s Nest Pu-erh Tea from California Tea House.
Tea type: Black
Scents, flavorings, etc.: N/A
Aroma, dry: Earthy
Aroma in the cup, plain: Earthy, woodsy, musty
Taste, plain: Mild, woodsy, earthy
Aroma in the cup, enhanced: Earthy, woodsy, musty, milky
Taste, enhanced: Takes on a slight malty character with a bit of milk and sweetener added
2nd Infusion: Lighter color and flavor, still very good, no bitterness
This is our second time of dipping our toes into the mysterious world of pu-erh. This experience was simpler than the first, where we “rinsed” the tea first. For this one, we just popped the little “bird’s nest” into the teapot, added 2 cups of boiling water, and let it steep for 5 minutes.
The resulting tea liquid was a rich reddish brown, so dark that it almost looked like coffee. The taste, though, was very different (appearances can be deceiving!). The most important thing to note as far as we’re concerned is that this tea has no bitterness. You could steep it for the full 8 minutes recommended on the vendor’s site, and it still wouldn’t be bitter.
We think that 5 minutes was too long, though. The 2nd infusion was a shade lighter in color and in flavor. Steeping 4 minutes for the 1st infusion and 5 minutes for the 2nd would probably give two more equal infusions. At any rate, both were quite drinkable.
Our experience differed from what their site says in a couple of ways. First, the “bird’s nest” did not retain its shape as they say it would. For us, this didn’t matter, but if you want to drink on the go, as they describe, without having to filter or strain the tea, this would be an issue. Second, multiple infusions are possible but not mentioned on their site. This is important, as it gives you more “bang!” for your tea buck. The 4-ounce pouch had 27 “bird’s nests” in it, each wrapped in light-weight, unbleached paper. Their site says the cost is $16. It sounds a bit pricey until you do the math. The price for each “bird’s nest” is about 60 cents. We did two infusions of 2 cups of water each, a total of 4 cups of tea for 15 cents each. (We could have done one infusion of 6 cups of water. That would have been 10 cents each.) Try getting a cup of tea at Starbucks for that price.
To us, this is an occasional, not a daily tea, and one to be sipped with a good meal. We find it a bit too much to take on an empty stomach, even though mild. The earthy, musty, woodsy flavor can be a bit much.
We would like to see this and other tea companies put their steeping recommendations on the package like TeaGeschwendner, or on a card like Chicago Tea Garden that comes with the teas. It’s a bit tricky to rush to the PC, go to a Website, find the tea, and read through the information there before being able to prepare the tea. Sometimes I really really really need a cuppa tea, like, RIGHT NOW.
Disclaimer: This tea was provided by the company named. However, the rating of the tea and any opinions concerning it are always strictly objective.