12/11/18 12:18pm

A Tale of Two Puerhs at Flushing’s Fang Gourmet Tea

Top row: raw puerh tea from 2017, bottom the prized 1976 raw puerh.

Fang Gourmet Tea is one of my favorite places to take food tour guests when exploring the bustling neighborhood that is downtown Flushing. It’s a great way to get to know my new friends. Plus, they’re always surprised to find the oasis of calm lying at the back of a minimall, just steps away from the often chaotic energy of America’s Greatest Chinatown. The puerh tea that I typically order—Little Brick—is great for the digestion, and it’s always neat for my guests to see the bullion-sized break expand over the course of five steeps.

At this time of year Fang offers a special menu of rare teas through January 6th. This year I treated myself to a tasting of two raw puerh teas. I started with the 2017 Gua Feng Zhai ($15). It was light and herbaceous, and not as earthy as cooked puerh. It didn’t evolve too much in flavor over the course of five cups, but was nonetheless lovely.
“This one will have an aroma of ginseng,” the tea master said as she brought out the prized 1976 raw puerh ($40) and remarked that it had a strong amount of qi. “I need all the energy I can get these days,” I thought to myself as I examined the compressed tea leaves.

Sure enough the first two cups had a distinct aroma of ginseng, and an amber hue. By the third cup, I was getting a savory earthiness not typically associated with tea: shiitake mushrooms.
For the gourmet tea tasting Fang sends guests home with what is surely New York City’s most luxurious tea egg, steeped for hours on end is several types of tea, a little cup of jasmine tea jello, and some pudding. The tea master let me enjoy these treats in the shop.

Perhaps it was due to unwinding over tea, but for several hours afterwards I felt a calm sense of energy and a sense of well-being.

Fang Gourmet Tea 135-25 Roosevelt Ave., Flushing, 888-888-0216

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