HER-CHA Tea is a start-up tea company based in California, working to bring quality tea from China to the US tea market. When over in China, the founder’s Andy and Sunny discovered many incredible tea farms but unfortunately, they were too small to export into the US. HER-CHA is bringing them into the hands of US tea lovers! They sent me their Discovery Kit, which I decided to break down into a few different reviews as I am trying to really focus on tea tastes and associated feelings. Here are my thoughts on their Ripe Pu’er:
The aroma of this tea was quite earthy for both the dry and wet leaves with not much of a difference. I should have rinsed the leaves first but I ended up just going straight into the leaves with my gaiwan. This resulted in a super light first brew with the color being a pale brown. I quickly went to another infusion (30 seconds) that was a bit darker in color. It had a smooth character upfront but after a couple of seconds had a slight drying effect on my palette. It was fairly earthy, but not overwhelmingly so.
I poured out my water when talking to some new neighbors and seemingly forgot about it for about two minutes. So, I fully embraced the idea that the third steep was about to be extremely oversteeped, but was pleasantly surprised that is was still quite smooth in character and almost seemed a bit less earthy in flavor. Each steep is getting a bit darker as the leaves start coming out a bit more and unfurling. Especially in brick form, I was impressed by the leaves still holding a brick shape all the way to the fourth and fifth steep. I noticed that a mossy-like aroma started coming through a little bit and the character rounding out a bit more in being totally smooth with no drying factor.
After a while, I ended up stacking steepings together and ended it on my 15th steep (holy goodness). The only reason that I stopped was because I was severely caffeinated and had so much tea sloshing around in my belly. At first I paired this with two sweet cinnamon sugar donuts, which did not do much to enhance any flavor of the tea, but it wasn’t a terrible pairing. The sweetness of the donut brought out some subtle earthy sweetness in the pu’er.
Pricing: The Discovery Kit that I received is worth $35, and the Ripe Pu’er itself is $70 for 12 tins. Each little tin has two bars, so it comes out to be around $2.92 per serving. Each of the bars can be steeped up to 10 times (I personally did way more). Pu’er in general can be more expensive based on year of production and fermentation, as well as the quality of leaves. The packaging of this tea also makes the price point slightly higher. I personally would recommend the Discovery Kit initially and if you really enjoyed any of the teas, then look into purchasing a larger quantity. Also, there is free shipping within the US.
Packaging: I was most impressed with the packaging of the tea. Each serving comes in an individual tin with a airtight seal that you have to pull back. In regards to the Ripe Pu’er, there was a second little brick in it, which did make it harder to store after one initial tea session. But I was quite impressed with the quality of the tins and am looking for new ways of re-purposing the tea jars.
Sourcing: The Discovery Kit came with a little book that talked about the sourcing and a little history behind the teas. This ripe pu’er comes from Bulang, Yunnan Province in China. I loved their openness about their sourcing and additional brewing and tasting notes that they provided.
What are your thoughts on Ripe Pu’er? I honestly used to not really like it, but I think it might actually be growing on me as I am finding a few more ones that I enjoy drinking. I hope you have something lovely in your cup today! Happy Brewing!