4 Tasting Notes
I work with Garret and Sarah at Mandala Tea so I won’t be doing a rating – just personal reflections and a “check-in” on this young sheng.
Method: 7g in gaiwan, boiling water, rinse followed by two infusions of 30 seconds, then five 1 minute infusions and one 5 minute infusion.
After the rinse I poked around in the material and noticed a number of dark reddish leaves and a nice grape-like scent. All infusions brewed up a relatively deep amber/yellow color. It’s a perilous term, but what I think of as a pleasant “sour” in tea is present. It seems to refresh, awaken my tongue and mouth. No smokey smell or flavor, which allows me to enjoy some subtle grape and mineral action as the sourness fades. This stuff feels velvety as I sip.
There is great Qi with this high altitude wild picked stuff. I’m accustomed to it from the Mandala Wild Monk and it is strong with this cake, too. Long after I drink a cup, there is a coolness in my mouth as I draw in breath and my chest feels opened. The sweetness that lingers long after the last cup is just a bonus.
Garret sent me home with one of these – my first 10 year old ripe pu’er, and an affordable one. I was working with water at 208 and my dedicated Yixing pot for ripes. The cake fell apart easily with the breaking knife.
30 second infusion: Clean and mild. The flavors are not intense, but work as an integrated whole with nothing spiking out at me. Yes, “clean” is the word.
1 minute infusion: Again, impressively clean-tasting now with a slight cooling sensation. I confess that I don’t like eating mushrooms so I don’t have a good benchmark on some of those flavors others describe. What I do taste is a pleasant leather scent, vanilla, and even slight cinnamon. The extra steeping time brought the flavor intensity way up. Hearty flavor, but not HUGE.
1.5 minute infusion: very much the same cup – it seems to have leveled out at this nice, easy-drinking plateau
3 minute infusion: still the same cup as the 1 minute infusion, the same flavors remain integrated in a nice, round whole. It is pleasant.
Homerun infusion: I don’t know…maybe it was 6 minutes, 10 minutes? Did it for the sake of science and guess what? Pretty much the same cup as the 1 minute infusion.
I’m really glad to have Yellow Mark in my home. This could be brewed in a semi-intentional way for some consistently good pu’er drinking.