Tangerine Puerh Ball from Kucha Tea in Boulder, CO is an interesting proposition. Take shu/ripe puerh and stick it in a hallowed out tangerine. Shu puerh is pretty rough on it's own for those who do not enjoy bitter, overwhelming teas. According to Kucha Tea:
It is produced in Xin Hui, Guangdong Province and it is known for the health benefits of Sheng Jin (making your mouth feel quenched), Run Fei Zhi Ke (suppressing coughs and nurturing lung performance), and Qu Re (reducing internal heat).
But, does the tangerine flavor seep into the tea? We'll find out.
The shape of the tea itself is really unique. Typically shu puerh is packed tightly in a tuocha or zhuancha shape, making it hard to chisel out the tea. This tea was loosely packed into the tangerine, which I simply poured out into the gaiwan.
The resulting tea looked sort of like droppings of some creature. The leaves were stubby, with rounded edges. The smell of the leaves was musty, but (maybe is was due to the association) it did smell slightly citrus-y.
I did a wash, and infused the tea for 15 seconds or so with 200 degree water. The resulting color was a beautiful plumb-like, redish brown color.
So what did it taste like? Honestly, it did taste like a typical lower-quality shu puerh. Earthy, musty, damp, astringent, bitter and warmed me to the core. I will say that maybe it was the smell of the rind, or maybe it was completely a false sense, but yes, I did get some dark, misguided citrus shining through.
If you're a shu puerh fan, give it a try. It was a cheap and new experience for me.