Sheng puerh taste slightly sour-sweet ok to drink?

Puerh and other heicha
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Minatures
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Joined: Wed Jun 23, 2021 6:11 pm

Sun Jul 18, 2021 11:21 am

Hi,

First time trying raw early aged puerh given by my dad. It’s about 10yrs old and looks to be pure bud/top stalk cuttings.

First session I used the loose leaves fallen off the cake in gongfu style brewing. It had tasted nothing I expected; it tasted more like Chinese herbal medicine than tea! I stuck with it for a few infusions and quickly got used to it as it had strong caffeine or cha chi, and a nice sweet aftertaste.

Tried a second session by taken leaves from the main cake and it had covered my mouth with a slight sour-salty taste leading to sweetness. Whilst thinking this was some magic tea effect from puerh, I Googled and found it was due to the mid ageing bacteria, and all that science stuff I didn’t really understand. Now feeling a bit worried and hoping this check in can find some answers from regular puerh drinkers!

Thanks in advance. Pics:
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mrmopu
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Mon Jul 19, 2021 5:47 am

Normal progression of the tea I would think. If you are enjoying it that is the main thing. Drink away.
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aet
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Tue Jul 20, 2021 9:08 pm

that salty taste you describe might be " sheng jing " ,which is sort of buzz on tongue and depends on individual brain how to perceive it ( translate it ) as a feeling or taste.
Sour would come up from wild varietal , but I do not se that being mentioned on the cake , also this is just a generic zhong cha produced in megatons from bush tea , so it might be the storage influence.
Sweet is good and is the point ( or one of the points ) of aging sheng puerh. Herbal taste you would usually get from zi juan ( purple varietal ) , but in your case I believe it was just hard brewing ( too many g or steeping too long time ) with combination of previous storage.

For intro of new tea I go with 100-120ml gaiwan , and around 4g of such a pressed sheng. Steeping 1st one quick wash, then 10s , 15s, 20s, to see how it increases the taste notes along with other stuff like astringency and bitterness.

Beginners usually want to get some thick liquid comparable to tea bags they use to drink before , or with shu ,they looking for same consistency as coffee. Delicate way of drinking tea with gong fu is not about that, but to get various taste notes without overwhelming deep bitter / astringent taste of the actual tea leaf. Exception is if you buy tea for business or some research / learning purposes, then you do want to give a leaf extreme conditions as you observe the behavior.
Yet , " you don't want drive your car on the 1st gear at it's max. speed all the time either " ;-D
Minatures
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Joined: Wed Jun 23, 2021 6:11 pm

Wed Jul 21, 2021 3:37 pm

Thanks for your thoughts. I actually think the puerh has unlocked or opened up my taste buds! Sometimes (day after, etc) I drink something else and I get a hint of that same sour salty to sweet taste 👅

As you mentioned the cake is a general packaged tea and there’s no number or date reference to work out what I was drinking hence the concern as it’s also entirely buds that I’ve not come across before and no mature leaves that I can see. I now think the pure buds are the reason for the medicinal aroma. I do know it was purchased from HK wing wah so it’s definitely not a fake cake!

In terms of taste I actually like bitter as long as it returns sweetness rather than being astringent dryness. I’ve heard generally new raw puerh is very bitter and I’m looking forward in finding a good one to try. It’s quite hard to find trusting vendors and their white label own brands.

Keep the tea brewing and good health to you all!
John_B
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Wed Jul 21, 2021 11:00 pm

This reminds me of a friend who reviews teas describing a lot of sheng as sour, seemingly either meaning something different than I would mean by that, or related to "picking up" something I'm missing. We don't drink identical teas all that much; I mean that if he notices it in one third of all the sheng he tries it's unlikely that's an aspect from storage, or something naturally occurring, that I never happen to run across.

It's interesting how one comment here says wild sheng can be sour. That matches my experience, although some is definitely not sour too. I suppose that's mostly about plant genetics, versus a processing input, but I couldn't be sure.

I suppose there is more I could say about patterns in initial aspects playing out in different ways in relation to different storage conditions, but it might not be helpful, and I don't see myself as any sort of authority on all that. I can cite an interesting reference related to what fermentation is, what microbes are doing what:

http://www.teageek.net/blog/2017/02/sci ... -ripening/
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aet
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Thu Jul 22, 2021 1:48 am

Minatures wrote:
Wed Jul 21, 2021 3:37 pm
Thanks for your thoughts. I actually think the puerh has unlocked or opened up my taste buds! Sometimes (day after, etc) I drink something else and I get a hint of that same sour salty to sweet taste 👅

As you mentioned the cake is a general packaged tea and there’s no number or date reference to work out what I was drinking hence the concern as it’s also entirely buds that I’ve not come across before and no mature leaves that I can see. I now think the pure buds are the reason for the medicinal aroma. I do know it was purchased from HK wing wah so it’s definitely not a fake cake!

In terms of taste I actually like bitter as long as it returns sweetness rather than being astringent dryness. I’ve heard generally new raw puerh is very bitter and I’m looking forward in finding a good one to try. It’s quite hard to find trusting vendors and their white label own brands.

Keep the tea brewing and good health to you all!
medicinal taste usually comes out from huang pian ( mostly in shu , but as u said it's HK storage so might be in this kind of storage sheng as well ).
With Zhong Cha there is no fake or real. You can google and read some history about Zhong Cha. Back then, you just buy their wrapper and press your own cakes , wrap it under this label / brand ...it was a concept like that.
So 2 identical wrapped cakes might have been made from 2 different locations ( 2 different tastes ) and both of them are genuine.
Issue is with dates. If some claim of 90's , you would have to know the real prices on local market first , to avoid really silly mistake , then knowing / having an experience with particular storage ( being able to taste if 10 / 20/ 30 years old sheng ...at least in this scale ) , so can spot the fast matured sheng . ( can google Fake Puerh for more info about " How they do it " ) .

Bottom line is : it should be worth for you to pay those $ no matter what it is .
The formula - value = price - is very individual and yours is also going to chance with gaining experience.
So take your time and enjoy tea slowly ;-)
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