newer review of this pu'erh as I discovered the distributor name is Starway. I am leaving this post for reference purposes as the change this tea makes with age is quite amazing.
Please read the whole review. Found this at the local international food market. It is an inexpensive loose leaf tea sold in a nice looking tin.
They say: This tea boasts a smooth and sweet flavor that is dry and has hints of a malty note. The aroma it offers is very clean and fresh. This tea is also called the old tree tea for all the ancient trees that exist in the area where it is harvested. The loose leaf option allows you to better control the potency of your tea, and offers an overall more fresh and aromatic experience.
Now how should I describe it? It is kind of like taking the outer sheet of newspaper that was wrapped around a fish and storing it in the damp dark basement until it is nice and moldy smelling.
I have tried a couple other market pu’erhs and enjoyed them. Yeah they taste like dirt but I liked them anyway. This is just not good. I am going to try adding some flavors and see if I can’t find a way to drink this. If not, well as I said, the tin is nice.
I added a sprig of fresh French Terragon. This helped a lot. It still smells bad but was easily drinkable. The tea is more than up to a second steep but the terragon was not up to the task.
This time I took 2 grams of leaf (1 tsp) and 5 fresh chocolate mint leaves steeped 3 minutes. Added sweetener (Splenda). Wow! This is really good. The stink is gone. The hint of chocolate in the mint really comes through. Tea and herb both are up to a second steep. The mint would not go a third, though the puerh was still ok but getting weak. I could drink this every day. Don’t throw away bad tea. Experiment with it. It might surprise you.