Pu-er Drinker Wannabe

Puerh and other heicha
thommes
Posts: 170
Joined: Wed Nov 20, 2019 12:11 pm
Location: Central Ohio

Wed Nov 20, 2019 1:02 pm

Hi. Been "drinking pu-er' for a couple decades. In the last year I found out that I have not been drinking pu-er. Sure I have been drinking loose leaf pu-er as marketed by an online tea company, but I'm interested in the real stuff. I found the teachat forum about a month or two ago and ordered a few samples of shou pu-er from one of the recommended online vendors. This forum appears to have a lot more activity. I will be scouring over posts here and apologize in advance if I ask something that has already been dissected, trissected, inverted, converted, or talked about. If anyone has recommendations on articles, sites, teas to try, vendors, I welcome being slaughtered with information.

Right now I do have a specific question. I have been trying a couple samples. From that I've read and watched, a shou pu-er that smells fishy is "bad". One of the samples that I've been tasting sort of has a whiff of ocean or fish odor, with the same tuo cha but a different steeping. Not sure if the 'bad' fish odor that I've read about is like a knock you down omg what is that rench type of smell or the whiff of the ocean possible fish smell that I could be smelling.
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Bok
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Wed Nov 20, 2019 8:25 pm

If a Puerh even remotely smells like fish, I would avoid it. on the other hand, if a Japaneses Gyokuru smells like fish, it is a different story :mrgreen:
Usually more normal smells are all in the wood-earth-old books-mushroomy department, fish is new to me and seems bad news.

In any case, welcome to the forum! Also please think of writing a small introduction in the dedicated thread. Thanks and looking forward to your contributions1
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mrmopu
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Wed Nov 20, 2019 8:34 pm

Welcome Thommes,
I replied on the other forum so I won't re-post here.
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pedant
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Thu Nov 21, 2019 12:24 am

i've heard that the fishiness can go away over time with some cakes, but i've never encountered a fishy puerh myself. i wouldn't drink it unless you like it.
thommes
Posts: 170
Joined: Wed Nov 20, 2019 12:11 pm
Location: Central Ohio

Thu Nov 21, 2019 5:30 am

The videos I watched said some people like the fishy odor and taste of the puer because they didn't realize it wasn't supposed to taste that way. :D

Someone requested a small intro which might help with others understanding my lack of knowledge of puer and having pity on me and schooling me. :) I've drank 'puer' for a long time. I've purchased what was called puer loose leaf from a US provider. I've tried to get more information on what type of puer was actually being sold and the supplier didn't respond. So I started reading, learning that I knew nothing about puer except that I wasn't likely drinking the best puer that I could have been. I mean the tea did taste like the descriptions I've read of puer, and I'm sure that it was puer but the quality was likely factory leftovers.

I've ordered a couple samples from Crimson Lotus, all shou since at this point in my life it's likely too late to buy sheng and watch it age. I would call the ones that I"ve had wonderful and making me seriously contemplate whether I ever order a different type of tea than puer.

It was with one of these samples that I thought I smelled the fishy smell. I would call the first steeping smell pure leather. No other word to describe it. Subsequent pours had a similar smell with the earthy puer smell in the background. At some point I was drinking the tea and thought I smelled a hint of the ocean or of fish. But the tea tasted fine. I even pushed my cup under the nose of a coworker and asked him what it smelled like and he said mud, earth. I said does it smell like fish at all and he said yeah.. no not really, more like earth... So really confusing. My guess is that its likely not the fishy smell that I've read about.

Other than puer, I'd really wish someone would define how pu'er should be spelled. I want to get a couple of tea pots, one personal size and one larger. Not sure at this time if I want to buy something old or something new. I definitely want the clay and 100% handmade. What type of clay, well I have a lot to learn before deciding that. However, I am the type that when I see a pot and it's the right pot, I'll buy it. So I might buy one tomorrow, who knows.

About me, I'm a father, a husband, a coffee hater (is that too harsh), into gardening, composting, drive a prius for the last 20 years, love science fiction, have a boat, and drink scotch. Yeah that's me pretty much.
thommes
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Location: Central Ohio

Thu Nov 21, 2019 5:34 am

And I forgot... I have not been able to find a decent tea house in central ohio. Looking for a tea house that's also a supplier, or heck I'd just take a supplier where I can go and learn.
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pedant
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Thu Nov 21, 2019 2:22 pm

thommes wrote:
Thu Nov 21, 2019 5:30 am
The videos I watched said some people like the fishy odor and taste of the puer because they didn't realize it wasn't supposed to taste that way. :D
...
I said does it smell like fish at all and he said yeah.. no not really, more like earth... So really confusing. My guess is that its likely not the fishy smell that I've read about.
i personally consider fishiness a serious defect. if i encountered it, i'd probably throw away the sample. if i had a whole cake, and it was expensive, i'd save it and hope that it eventually goes away. but if it's only mild, and you like drinking it, then drink it! :mrgreen:
and maybe you're right. i've heard of powerful fishiness before, and your sample doesn't sound like that.
thommes wrote:
Thu Nov 21, 2019 5:30 am
I've ordered a couple samples from Crimson Lotus, all shou since at this point in my life it's likely too late to buy sheng and watch it age. I would call the ones that I"ve had wonderful and making me seriously contemplate whether I ever order a different type of tea than puer.
if you don't like young sheng, there's plenty of semi-aged (~10year old) stuff out there that's ready to drink now. no need to age it yourself.
btw, i saw you asking for shou recommendations in the YS vendor thread. if your thought process is something like "i'll drink shou as a substitute for (semi-)aged sheng", i really encourage you to dive into sheng because they're not that similar imo. have you tried decent sheng before? i can gift you a sample if you want.
thommes wrote:
Thu Nov 21, 2019 5:30 am
Other than puer, I'd really wish someone would define how pu'er should be spelled.
there's no single correct spelling since it's not an english word. i usually write puerh.
gregcss
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Thu Nov 21, 2019 7:02 pm

I like all kinds of puerh; young raw, semi-aged raw, aged raw, and ripe. Brand new ripe may have a faint 'pile scent' and should dissipate in over time (1+ years). I do a quick 2 second rinse for all puer before the first steeping. I've never noticed the 'pile scent' transfer into the aroma or flavor when brewing ripe. For ripe puer I've only had Yunnan Sourcing, Crimson Lotus, and White2Tea house brand. Read this article for more on pile scent https://white2tea.com/2013/11/09/what-i ... -puer-tea/

You should definitely try an aged/semi-aged raw puerh. Totally different than ripe.
thommes
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Location: Central Ohio

Sun Nov 24, 2019 8:27 am

pedant wrote:
Thu Nov 21, 2019 2:22 pm
if you don't like young sheng, there's plenty of semi-aged (~10year old) stuff out there that's ready to drink now. no need to age it yourself.
btw, i saw you asking for shou recommendations in the YS vendor thread. if your thought process is something like "i'll drink shou as a substitute for (semi-)aged sheng", i really encourage you to dive into sheng because they're not that similar imo. have you tried decent sheng before? i can gift you a sample if you want.
I have not had sheng. :shock: I'm trying to learn and look for decent samples. So if you have recommendations for samples/suppliers.....? My concern is that I"ve heard sheng has an odor and taste similar to green tea. I'm not the world's largest green tea fan. Even when I don't over steep green, it still tastes like freshly mowed grass to me. I drink the green because of the benefits. My thought process on shou is that's what I've been sold in loose leaf form in the past and have learned pu to be. I'm literally at the start of learning. :) Some of the shou samples I have been trying I can't tell a large difference in. And today's tea just threw a wrench in that statement.
thommes
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Location: Central Ohio

Sun Nov 24, 2019 8:32 am

gregcss wrote:
Thu Nov 21, 2019 7:02 pm

You should definitely try an aged/semi-aged raw puerh. Totally different than ripe.
On my list to try. Trying to figure out several samplers to buy and place one order instead of multiple ones.

I read somewhere, an article, maybe a supplier description of a tea, about blended pus: part sheng, part shou. Sooo much to learn.
DailyTX
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Sun Nov 24, 2019 6:34 pm

thommes wrote:
Sun Nov 24, 2019 8:32 am
gregcss wrote:
Thu Nov 21, 2019 7:02 pm

You should definitely try an aged/semi-aged raw puerh. Totally different than ripe.
On my list to try. Trying to figure out several samplers to buy and place one order instead of multiple ones.

I read somewhere, an article, maybe a supplier description of a tea, about blended pus: part sheng, part shou. Sooo much to learn.
YS sells a CNNP 8891 is a good entry to Sheng Pu. It has aged long enough to lose most of the green. Price went up for about 10 bucks in 2019. I think it will go up more given how forgiving this tea is.
https://yunnansourcing.us/products/2007 ... c7d6&_ss=r
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aet
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Sun Nov 24, 2019 10:01 pm

some people say this and some people say that , I believe that non of them know from where the fishy scent / taste is actually coming from ( claim : "Bad processing" is not the know meaning..sorry ;-) You might smell it from the dry leafs or wet leafs , you might sense it a lot or just bit of it. It can be experienced from the dry leafs but not appearing in gaiwan when hot water is poured down on it. You may not smell it from dry or wet leafs but might taste it when you cup of shu cools down. It might be in present now but disappear in few years later. It might not be there now , but might appear later. Magic?
If I know something is bad quality I have a valid reason for that ( I don't like the taste is only part of it because there are many things in taste are disgusting for me , yet I know they are not bad quality ) , logically I know what is the cause of it ( at least in simple / general understanding , not necessary in chemical bases ) .

So I wonder how you guys here determine that shu puerh is bad or good quality and based on what facts ( please no assumptions or friend / some vendor told me so ) you choose to do so?
thommes
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Mon Nov 25, 2019 6:18 am

aet wrote:
Sun Nov 24, 2019 10:01 pm
some people say this and some people say that , I believe that non of them know from where the fishy scent / taste is actually coming from ( claim : "Bad processing" is not the know meaning..sorry ;-) You might smell it from the dry leafs or wet leafs , you might sense it a lot or just bit of it. It can be experienced from the dry leafs but not appearing in gaiwan when hot water is poured down on it. You may not smell it from dry or wet leafs but might taste it when you cup of shu cools down. It might be in present now but disappear in few years later. It might not be there now , but might appear later. Magic?
If I know something is bad quality I have a valid reason for that ( I don't like the taste is only part of it because there are many things in taste are disgusting for me , yet I know they are not bad quality ) , logically I know what is the cause of it ( at least in simple / general understanding , not necessary in chemical bases ) .

So I wonder how you guys here determine that shu puerh is bad or good quality and based on what facts ( please no assumptions or friend / some vendor told me so ) you choose to do so?
That is an excellent philosophical question. When I started drinking scotch, I was drinking blends mostly. I don't even remember how I got into single malts, but I did. I found a scotch reviewer on YouTube, from Scotchland, that appealed to me. I tried some of the scotches that he suggested for beginners. I was also watching other scotch reviewers at the time. I would get a bottle of scotch, watch some reviews of that bottle why tasting it myself. I tended to agree with the first reviewer the most on taste. Not 100% of the time, and we did have differences in what we appreciated tastewise in scotch. But in general, this reviewer and I agree on the tastes and quality of a Scotch. So I sort of invested the time in tasting and learning about scotch to find out what I appreciated and found value in.

So with pu, I'm trying the same process. Watch reviews, read articles, listen to pu drinkers that came before me. It would be great to find a couple sources who share the same tastes that I have in pu that can offer suggestions on what to try. The big difference between scotch and pu... looks like there are a lot more samples available for pu than scotch so I don't have to buy a brick/cake/tuo cha only to find out I didn't like the tea.
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Stephen
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Mon Nov 25, 2019 12:46 pm

I wonder if the fishy smell you describe is the fermentation smell/flavor (dui wei 堆味) that comes from the fermentation process (wo dui 渥堆) of the pu er leaves. If I understand correctly the amount of dui wei can vary with the amount of fermentation, time since fermentation, and storage conditions. If I understand correctly even good quality tea can have it depending on those factors. Personally I prefer shu pu er that is at least 10 years old, in part because of this.
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There is no self
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Mon Nov 25, 2019 4:56 pm

The one time people described pu'erh as fishy to me they actually meant stale. It wasn't even that, though, rather it was a 10 year old shu with a very strong storage smell. Combined with the earthy notes and a bit of fermentation smell, it gave off the impression that the tea had gone bad.
The people I'm talking about had never drunk pu'erh before and didn't know what to expect. Perhaps this is what those reviews you read were talking about?
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