You know, I’ve been letting this site steep for a while in google juice to see what kind of response it was going to get. It’s actually doing better than I expected. I was going to let it sit for a while longer but I was about to order some more tea and thought I’d write down my impressions of this fermented Chinese Yunnan Longrun Pu-erh Tea Cake -Dali (Year 2010).
So I received this tea cake July 2nd and I drink an average of 4 cups a day – all week – and still have about a week left (it was 357 grams). Time to order more, but I’m not exactly what I want to get next.
This tea cake will end up giving me about 200 cups of tea total. At $37 and no tax/shipping, that’s 19 cents per cup. Awesome price. Much better than the hot venti zen tea I usually get from starbucks, which costs $2.70.
To be fair, a lot of what I pay for at starbucks is the hangout. I’ve been going to the same one now for about 15 years and I have about 30 acquaintances that I see there occasionally who are in 3-4 overlapping groups.
Also, the same zen tea from there is available to order in Keurig cups which cost about $37 for 48 cups, bringing the cost per cup for zen tea from a Keurig Machine down to about 77 cents per cup. I do really like those Keurig machines, we had one in our office in Afghanistan. If I drank coffee, I’d have one here at home.
The cheapest way I’ve been able to find zen tea is by the 120-bag box for about $25, which makes it a hair less than 21 cents per cup. That was the old way.
I never really looked into teas but I started to really get a taste for them when I realized just how many calories were in the “Hot Venti Chai Tea Latte, 8 pump, No Foam, No Water, Whole Milk, 180” that I drank for years (over 310 each). I really liked the taste before but they switched the recipe several years ago and started watering it down, hence the long order. I tried all the teas that starbucks had and liked the zen the best.
So, about tea. I did a bunch of research (I always do a bunch of research) and looked at the oolong and the pu-erh teas as what I really wanted to try.
My first Oolong tea – the Teavana Four Seasons
I first tried the Teavana Four Seasons Loose-Leaf Oolong Tea, which was the first REAL tea I’d ever had. It was quite an experience, and better than any tea I’d had prior. It was so cool that I took a photograph:
This oolong tea was better than anything I’d had before so it became the new 10 on my tea rating scale that I started that day. In comparison, I’d give starbuck’s zen tea about a 7.
One of the things I really liked about this tea was that I could steep several cups with just a teaspoon or two of leaves. They come rolled up into little balls that wake up when they’re put into hot water. I was getting about 3 cups per serving, which made the price a lot more affordable. I don’t know exactly how much it would be per cup though, but it’s hella cheap this way.
By the way, that cup that the tea’s in in the picture is actually what I use to steep the tea in, and it’s FANTASTIC! It’s the 16 oz Teavana PerfecTea Tea Maker tea steeper. You just put your tea inside it, pour in some hot water, and when the tea’s ready, you set it on top of your tea cup and it pours down from the bottom, into your cup. Pretty cool. Then you just keep the tea in there and when you’re ready for another cup, you just pour in some hot water again, let it steep, and set it on top of your cup again. It’s pretty brilliant. I should actually do a review of it some time.
My thoughts on the fermented Chinese Yunnan Longrun Pu-erh Dali tea from 2010
So what about this fermented Chinese pu-erh tea that I got and am drinking now (as we speak)?
I do really like watching the oolong leaves wake up and expand in the steeper. It’s kind of relaxing. This pu-erh tea won’t do that.
What’s really awesome about pu-erh is that you can leave it out in a dry container and it will get better with age. Kind of like a fine wine. That’s pretty freaking awesome. So awesome, you could use it for barter in addition to gold and silver if society and the economy collapsed.
Well, If I were to use a scale from 1 being undrinkable to 10 being the best tea I’d ever had before I got this (the Teavana Four Seasons Oolong), I’d give this tea a 13. I actually have to readjust my scale now. This tea is now the new 10. That makes the Teavana Four Seasons Oolong a 7 and the starbucks zen tea about a 5. Just trust me on the math. It’s all in my head.
Here’s what it looked like when I got it:
Color? I really never cared before at all what color my tea was before but this is pretty interesting. In teas like this, you let it steep in hot water for about 5-30secs and then dump that water out. Seems strange, but that’s what you do. It’s called rinsing the leaves.
The ancient Chinese warriors traditionally would pour out their first cup of tea because it was said to be for their enemies. I’m not sure if they would actually sit down with their enemies and drink tea. Klingons don’t.
Here’s a video that explains the process of drinking pu-erh tea better than I can explain it in writing.
Pretty interesting, amirite?
As far as the Yunnan Longrun Pu-erh Dali tea (2010) goes, the first steep from the tea comes out light. The tea hasn’t woken up yet. It’s a hair more bitter than the next few cups but definitely not bitter. It’s actually quite good so I usually drink it. I keep the tea steeping for about 30 seconds to a minute the first time.
The second steep gets darker and stronger faster but loses the slight bitter tinge. I let that steep for about 30 seconds or so and then pour it into my cup.
The third steep gets dark immediately. In just a few seconds, you can’t see through the tea steeper. It’s a rich, dark red color. I usually steep it for about 20 seconds.
The fourth steep is much lighter than the third and is kind of a golden color. I let this one sit for about a minute.
Technically, you could just keep going for several more cups and just keep it steeping longer each time if you want to keep it pretty strong.
The cool thing about it all is that the tea has a slightly different flavor on each cup, depending on how hot the water is, how much raw tea you had in the steeper, how long you kept it steeping, and how many cups you’ve poured through it. You can also add a little more raw tea to the steeper.
I also sometimes put a dash of one or a few of these in it for a twist to the flavor:
- Mint leaves
- Rubbed sage
- Hibiscus flowers
- Chamomile flowers
- Lavender flowers
- Dandelion root powder
I always and only sweeten it with honey. Not the crap honey you get at the grocery store (which isn’t actually real honey most of the time!!). What you need to look for is raw, unheated, unprocessed honey like Y.S. Eco Bee Farms Raw Honey or even better, organic honey. Sugar is one of the absolute worst things you can put into your body, and the imitation crap is crap. Not only is honey healthier for you – it’s HEALTHY. And it actually tastes MUCH better.
Did you know that pu-erh tea can actually help you lose weight? Here’s what Dr Oz says about it:
So if you’re looking for a new morning drink, you should look into tea. If you want REAL tea, stop using teabags and order the real thing. This particular tea is great but it’s the first pu-erh I’ve had so I need to do some more research and experimenting. Now that I have an idea bout how long tea lasts me, I don’t mind spending the “extra” cash on something good, especially considering the real cost per cup is actually much less expensive than normal tea. To put it in perspective, I can spend 200 times what I do at starbucks for their tea for the same money. That’s $540. Crazy, right?
I’m having a tough decision at the moment though. The oolong I got was great but it was from Teavana, not a traditional Chinese tea supplier. I need to figure out if I want to go with an oolong tea from a traditional supplier or try a different pu-erh and see how it fares against this 2010 Dali. Not saying that Teavana didn’t get their tea right, because I really like it. I just don’t know how it compares. I do really like the look of the oolong as it wakes up but this pu-erh beat it in flavor.
One thing I DEFINITELY need to do is find a better way to buy honey because I go through a 24 ounce bottle every week. The local places around here are stupid expensive. Not sure how to crack that egg yet.
So do I suggest you try this tea? Hell yeah, I do. Here’s the link where I got mine if you do – Yunnan Longrun Pu-erh Tea Cake – Dali (Year 2010, Fermented, 357g)
Oh well, let me know if you have any suggestions on which teas are the best or a great place to get my honey cheaper and still get real honey.