Today was a special day as I drank a kind of tea I had never drunk before! I’ve had Shou (ripe) Puerh numerous times but never stuffed inside a small lime. Oli from The Tea Guru kindly gave me the 2018 Gong Ting Ripe Stuffed Mini Citrus for me to try. At first, I had no idea how to brew this tea but Oli gave me some instructions. The main lesson here was that are no rules and that I should do what I like! And that is what I did…
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2018 Gong Ting Ripe Stuffed Mini Citrus
The 2018 Gong Ting Ripe Stuffed Mini Citrus is Shou (ripe) Puerh tea from the area around Menghai stuffed into a small and aged lime. As I mentioned above, I did not really know how to brew it because I had never done it before. I just took out the tea leaves, put them in a teapot and added the lime as well to add extra flavour. It was an interesting result but next time, I’m not going to remove the leaves. I’ll just put the lime in a teapot and pour water over it to see if there are any differences. The main reason I did not do it like that today is that I thought the leaves wouldn’t have enough space to fully expand during the infusions. They were stuffed inside the lime without much space to expand.
I removed the dry leaves from the citrus and put them in a teapot. I saw small pieces of leaves and some stems as well. The colour is darker brown and the smell was really complex. It was a deep citrus smell with woody and spicy notes.
Once the leaves were wet, the smell was even more complex. The woody notes disappeared and some of the spices as well. What dominated the smell was musty citrus. And musty here is not meant in a bad way, quite the contrary. In addition to all of this, I’m also getting light earthy notes.
- Water 99°C
- 1 stuffed lime (around 9-10g) for a 250ml glass teapot
- 6 infusions
1st infusion (15 sec): the liquor has a dark brown colour. I’m getting a deep citrus flavour that is not really at the surface. You can feel that the citrus is not at the surface but deeper within. Also some spicy notes but it’s the citrus that is dominant, especially in the finish and aftertaste.
2nd infusion (20 sec): the colour is a bit darker now. It’s still citrus but it became really complex. On the one hand, it’s more intense, but on the other hand, it’s less in your face. It’s flowing somewhere in there. The flavours almost taste like a kind of citrus marmalade.
3rd infusion (25 sec): this infusion has no distinguishable aftertaste. The big change here is that the citrus notes are getting a bit musky (not in a bad way). This infusion is all about musky citrus.
4th infusion (30 sec): intense musky citrus at the start and this fades out slowly. Nothing more to this infusion, however, you can still feel the complexity. There is so much going on besides the citrus notes but it’s all very subtle.
5th infusion (35 sec): the liquor is getting lighter and lighter. Musky citrus at the beginning and it goes on into the finish and aftertaste.
6th infusion (40 sec): the citrus is almost completely gone and I’m only getting some light musky notes. I guess this is from the lime I also put in the teapot. Don’t get me wrong; the musky notes add so much to the complexity of this tea.
I was a bit confused myself when encountering the name ‘Menghai’ for the first time. There is a difference between tea from the area around Menghai or tea coming specifically from Menghai Tea Factory. You can read all about these origins in the article about the Hai lang Hao ‘As You Like’ Ripe Puerh tea.
First time trying a stuffed citrus or anything like that and it was a clear win for me. The combination of citrus and a kind of mustiness worked well, in my opinion. It added to the already deep complexity of this tea. It’s like once you start drinking, you just want more and more. I got some spicy notes during the early infusions, but these quickly faded. One small downside of this tea was that I didn’t get much of the earthy flavours I got from smelling the leaves. If you don’t know this is a Shou Puerh, it’s difficult to tell by the taste (at least for me it is). This is, however, only a minor detail and overall, this tea was definitely decent and more than above average. Especially for its price! £1.25 for 1 citrus? Almost too good to be true.
Do you want to try this amazing tea for yourself? You can click here to go to The Tea Guru’s store. It’s only £1.25 for one so you really can’t go wrong with that.