Many thanks to Nada for sending me this tasting set: a set of two similar teas, one of which does not contain pesticides and the other does - what better could exist for isolating the feeling/taste of pesticides? Theoretically...
Both the teas have the broad "house style" of young EoT teas - large, pretty and furry leaves with a sharp green aroma.
Rinsing causes leaves to open and release the smell that could be described as an ashtray (especially shortly after rinsing), chestnuts and eventually sweet leather. It is distinctly green, sour-sweet and hardly pleasant to me (some people do like this style of tea though).
Aroma of liquor is surprisingly weak in both teas and not very pleasant.
The nonpesticide tea has slightly cloudier and darker liquor. A sidenote - both teas acquire a rather peculiar grey tint after a while - it looks quite zombie-like and surely not too nice.
How does the nonpesticide tea taste? I unfortunately find it quite disgusting - it seems to be some sort of young brutal Bulang - there's taste of ashtray, chestnuts and generic sourness - without any decent body or sweetness. As a bonus, there is an awful dry and super-persistent bitterness (worse than in normal Laoman'e) at the end of the taste. Actually, this one does taste quite poisonous even without pesticides. On both occasion, I failed to consume more than one large cup of this thing.
The pesticide tea seems slightly younger, is a bit sweeter and maybe more fruity (with a strange soapiness), but also not good. Even though the evil bitterness of its pesticide-free comrade is absent, there is a singularly peculiar astringency and "furry" feeling around teeth, which, I believe, are the features brought to tea by pesticides.
Neither tea is a normal puerh in my opinion - it's like a bad crossover between pu and green tea maybe? Also, it is quite interesting how horrible can such beautifully looking tea be.
However, this tasting set is not about tea itself, but about comparing pesticides to nonpesticides. It rather succeeds in this aim and I think that such a venture is generally very commendable. I have two admonitions concerning the set. First, even the pesticide-free tea tastes very evil and I think that some features could be very well considered unnatural. Second, repeated sessions for reinforcement of your judgement on what are pesticides like are quite difficult to do, because your body will need considerable time to regenerate after the previous one.
Btw. I'm looking for somebody to pass this set to as it is undoubtedly educational, but once you're done with it, there is little point in continuing its consumption. If you chance to come to Oxford and want to have this, drop me a line and we can arrange it.