A roasted raw Gushu PuErh?! Yes we have never heard of this either! This is a totally unique batch of PuErh that came about after a lot of late night tea drinking.
This is made from Gushu Lao Man E tea trees aged between 400-500 years old and house roasted by Mei Leaf in London.
Lao Man E is well known amongst PuErh lovers as an area producing potent tea with nuanced fruits and sweetness fighting their way through layers of bitterness. Lao Man E PuErh is considered to be a tea that you would only pull out for those who have tasted a LOT of PuErh because it is not an easy drinker.
Many people find Lao Man E PuErh to be crude and overwhelmingly bitter to begin with but Love and Hate are two sides of the same coin and there is something about Lao Man E that keeps you tasting until it captures your enthusiasm. Lao Man E has shifting flavours and complex subtleties that you often have to discover through later infusions - after the bitterness is manageable. The persistant PuErh drinker can grow to adore Lao Man E.
For many, the best way to temper Lao Man E is to age it for several years or longer. This will calm some of the bitterness but the tea will lose some of its youthful fragrances.
So, whilst drinking a particularly potent Lao Man E, we began wondering if roasting the tea may allow us to transform PuErh to maintain its youthful verve and punchy power while reducing the bitterness. After all it works for Oolongs.
We began hunting for young PuErh to play with and found this Gushu Lao Man E. The raw tea was so wonderfully sweet and complex and yet it was masked by persistent bitterness so we bought up the whole batch.
When the tea arrived we began roasting. Needless to say we had to use up a lot of tea to experiment with the parameters but after a few weeks we nailed it - these tea cakes are the result of all this experimentation.
This PuErh has all the punch and strength of the original, raw Lao Man E, but the bitters are rounded and shortened to allow a crescendo of woodsy fruits and starchy sweetness to fill the mouth. The roasting has added a depth of colour and caramel warmth similar to a roasted Oolong. It has tempered the rushiness of young PuErh to leave you feeling high without any jitteriness.
All in all a total success in our eyes. So, whilst it may not be for the purists, we love our 'Psychic Stream Seeker' and highly recommend you pick up this experimental PuErh.