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I must sincerely thank Teavivre (Angel) for the opportunity to try this. I’ve been reading loads and loads on pu’ercha recently (and working through quite a bit of samples), and I would definitely recommend this as a learning experience. Recently I had a (very long) session with this sheng over a couple games of weiqi with a friend who was also impressed with this tea.

I would probably not consider Teavivre to be a go-to vendor for pu’ercha, but what they do have seem to be of a great quality. I’m strongly considering purchasing a tuo of this sheng to age further, because I feel it has great potential and is already quite good as it stands. I may instead go with the 2006 Fengqing cake they sell, which from what I have read has similar properties to this tuocha (at least from what I can compare) and is thought highly of in the blogosphere. I have of late been leaning towards the acquisition of tuochas, though, as they are quite convenient for me: smaller amount of leaf compared to the standard 357g cakes, allowing multiple to be purchased for close to the same price as one cake (which means variety and less per cake on “tuition” costs if I end up making an error in judgment), but still enough leaf to age for a while.

Anyway, back to the sheng at hand. The compression of the tuo is extremely high. The sample bag containing an intact chunk was like a rock and refused to be broken up cooperatively until after a rinse of near-boiling water. The compression shows in the wet leaves, which are a right mess of fragmented leaves and small pieces, but the resulting liquor proves mature, although somewhat murky in early steeps. In fact, both the leaves and the liquor are noticeably dark for younger sheng. Midway through the session, the coloration becomes a dark amber with a faint, but nonetheless noticeable lighter meniscus. All together, these signs seem to point to good storage and a decent bit of aging.

The liquor, while not entirely “complex” in flavor, provides a very smooth mouthfeel that translates nicely into a sweet aftertaste and a cooling huigan. Later on more of a sparkling texture is apparent mid-sip. To add balance, there is a strong, enveloping kuwei (bitterness) in the throat that is not at all unpleasant and lingers expectedly. Based on so many fragmented leaves, the taste is actually far less bitter (and far sweeter) that I would have expected. Sewei (unpleasant astringency) is minimal and mostly detected upon the tongue tip and lips. There are light notes from the fruity spectrum to add depth and touches of tobacco flavors that provide a robustness, separating it from the youthful sheng with grassy, floral complexions. Sweet floral and caramel aromas are trapped under the gaiwan lid, while added deep fruity scents show up in the empty cup.

By the third steep, a developing cha qi is present and becomes quite strong. Good bursts of positive energy that linger even past the 15 or so steeps that this tea can easily last for. Really, I’m quite impressed. This has become one of my favorite younger shengs that I’ve tasted.

Ahhh, right before I was about to post this I found a bit of black string poking out from the wet leaves. No matter; that’s what a strainer is for.

Preparation
Boiling

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Bio

I’m fanatic about all things tea-related. Lately, I’ve been fascinated with Wuyi yancha, aged Taiwanese oolongs, and sheng pu’ercha. Nearly all of my sessions as of late are performed gong fu, with pu’er tastings comprising probably eighty percent of them. My collection of pu’ercha is small, but growing steadily. Much of the specimens I drink daily are various samples, although I dig into a cake every so often.

I love trying new teas and I am always learning all I can about the world of tea. Hence, I spend a majority of the time I devote to tea either drinking, writing notes in my journal, or reading. But mostly drinking, as I think it should be. Since I have handwritten logs of everything I drink, I cannot usually find the extra time to log my notes here, and unfortunately my online log is underrepresented.

When drinking, I look for a tea that presents a unique experience, something that involves every sense and provides intrigue in every aspect throughout steeps. I search for teas with balanced complexity and something that makes me keep reaching for my cup. I yearn to find all the positives a tea possesses and every subtle nuance hiding among the leaves. I try to be detailed in my notes and deliver a more comprehensive view of the tea, paying attention to things other than simply flavors and qualitative aspects of aroma, such as the form of the liquor and its development in the mouth. Things like this are much easier to compare between teas, as I find them to be more consistent between sessions, and also make distinctions between a good and mediocre tea easier to make.

Teaware
Adagio UtiliTEA electric kettle.
For gong fu, a 100 mL porcelain gaiwan and a 100mL Yixing di cao qing xi shi pot dedicated to mostly young sheng pu’er.
I drink all green teas in small (maybe 450mL) glass tumblers in the traditional style, with off-boiling water.

Location

Fort Myers, Florida

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