I got trapped smelling the dry leaves of this puer tea for a full minute. The smell was quite deep and fragrant, a mix of tobacco and apricots. The fresh tobacco smell is common in raw puer tea, but to have a smell of apricots was a treat. The leaves appeared quite small, which I later read on the Yunnan Sourcing website (where the tea can be purchased) was:
Due to the high altitude most of the tea trees in this area are a naturally occurring hybrid of large and small leaf (sinensis and var. assamica)
After I pulled my nose out of the bag, I did a quick rinse of the tea. The gaiwan smelled slightly sweet and floral. The first steeping was calm and smooth, while still showing signs of youth. The smell coming off of the leaves was creamy.
The second steeping brought out a lot of vibrancy that was not present in the first cup. The flowers became more pronounced, and a pleasant kuwei (desirable bitterness) began to emerge. The further steeps had a lovely crescendo of kuwei, that built up steep after steep, peaking around steep number nine. My throat was thoroughly coated in bitter goodness by this point. Unfortunately, the session was a victim of my busy schedule. But, had I been able to continue, the Wu Liang puer tea would have obliged far into the teens.
The leaves, although small, look quite healthy. There were some slightly burned leaves (pictured below) in the sample that I had, but the flavor of ‘burn’ (see: tastes like burning) or smoke did not show up in the soup.
For such a young raw puer tea, it is both pleasant and strong. Usually, if a young puer tea is too pleasant, I worry whether it lacks potential to age well. The Wu Liang Shan tea left me with no such worry. It has plenty of strength and staying power and is a bargain, at $23 for a 400g cake.