Saturday, August 29, 2015

Throwing a perfect Pu’erh party!

Last evening, I was invited over to a tea tasting at the home of our host, TJ. I’ve gone to all of TJ’s events, and they are just amazing! Not only do we taste an assortment of teas, but we also learn about the teas themselves in a casual setting. No taste or aroma is dismissed, because everyone is different. On this particular night, Pu’erh was on the agenda. Note: I’ve seen this tea spelled as Pu’er and Pu’erh and a few other ways. I’ll stick with one way in this post.

I'm a little teapot...

Pu’erh is a real mystery even to the most devout tea drinkers. I had never heard of it until a few years ago whilst taking my tea courses. It was just weird! The appearance, the aroma, the taste! It was not what I thought of as tea. TJ wanted to dispel the myths of this very misunderstood tea. To do this, we were first given a Pu’erh that was just bad! Someone described the aroma as that of an old house! It did have a musty smell. I thought it smelled like a mop from floor washing. Neither the smell nor taste were any good. Then, we dove into some really fine teas.

Pu'erh unveiled!

As we sipped the various Pu’erh teas being offered, discussions broke out into the history of brick-style teas, processing methods, how to prepare a proper cup, best ways to store this tea, and even its exuberant cost. Pu’erh is much like wine. Not only does the value increase over time, but the taste becomes better with age. There is also an art and science to manufacturing Pu’erh and that would require much more research and many more posts than this quick tasting overview. Definitely something for me to keep in mind.

In bit sizes too!

Some of the teas we tasted included:
  • Bulang Shan mixed with Earl Grey
  • Pang Xia Jiao or Crab Foot/Lobster Tea because of their appearance
  • Batabatacha 
  • Hei Cha
  • Lao Pa Ka

A favourite of mine was the Lao Pa Ka. Just to see it and hold it was incredible. A single, dark, giant tea leaf that looked like a quill. Both the taste and aroma were beautiful! Some described it as maple syrup, while others thought it was like a brown-sugar oatmeal. 

Lao Pa Ka.

I now have a whole new appreciation for Pu’erh after h
aving tried these teas. In the past, I just drank it for its health benefits even though the strong aroma of fish or seaweed was a bit of a turnoff.

A lovely gaiwan.

TJ is moving from his current digs and therefore did not wish to carry over so many of the teas he had. Poor guy! What to do? Give it away! He provided all of us with generous amounts of various teas. I now have many more teas to blog about. It’s nice to be rubbing elbows with people like TJ. Thanks so much!

Sorry about the mess!


  1. This sounds like it was a really fun event! Puerh can definitely be tricky. I find that a lot of tea drinkers aren't fans the first time that they try it, usually because it was a very bad tea like the one you described. I love how closely connected the world of tea is. I shared a house with TJ and an army of other awesome tea folks at World Tea Expo last year :)

    1. Nicole, it was great fun. TJ rocks! He did mention meeting you at the Expo. Small world, huh?