Among the many reasons why Goldfish is my favorite tea house in Michigan, there’s the fact that (to my knowledge) they’re unique in the state in actually selling their pu-erh by vintage. xD
While housesitting for my old brother and his wife last year, I managed to sneak in a trip out to Goldfish and brought back several incredible and expensive discoveries of the fine Chinese variety. Foremost among them was today’s tea: a loose leaf pouch of pu-erh, unknown variety/pr0venance, vintage 2004. I had brewed this once previously and, well… in the immortal motto of Ghost Sweeper Mikami “Tengoku e ikkasete!” (I’ll send you to Heaven!).
Unfortunately today I’m a very sick girl home in bed with a stuffed up nose. Thus, I can’t impart to your exactly what random authentic 2004 loose pu-erh smells like with any accuracy. What i can detect is dirty and raw and piney. In flavor however, Loose Pu’er 2004 is easily one of the best I’ve ever encountered. Although my initial impression was “raw”, in taste it’s actually a bit more refined (held back/adulterated) with a partially smoked woody/barky palette. Additionally, Loose Pu’er 2004 has a half-grit 80% cocoa chocolate bar-like texture. Even without its olfactory component, Loose Pu’er 2004 would make my top five Pu-erh ever tasted. This is not a tea you want to let cool. I really have to hand it to Goldfish to know what tea lovers “dig” (gross pun intended). If you ever get a chance to stop in and support Royal Oak’s own Goldfish Tea, I implore you to do so. Although you will no longer be able to acquire this exact tea, I nevertheless cannot recommend it enough.