If it wasn’t clear that either I am addicted to tea or dedicated to it… this will clear that up.
While I was at work I decided that I didn’t want to wait any longer so I would go ahead and drink the Verdant teas from the 2016 Sheng Olympics over the course of four hours tonight.
Considering what I have, it was possible to make a rap song about it while rinsing them. It was easily name: Dust n’ Beengholes. Clearly it would be a song about getting the bottom of the barrel in life, but still finding out how to enjoy it. After that, I decided I am going to make a character and name him Dusty Beeng. Okay, on to the tea.
I decided to go ahead and let these sit for a few seconds in 90c water and then drain them to split the beengholes which actually worked quite well since they were warm and semi moist. Let them sit for 8 minutes while getting on Slack. The smells are as follows:
300 smells light as if it will have nothing to it.
1000 smells very fresh as if it will include the most astringency.
1800 smells funky… unsure how to classify this smell to what I expect in the taste to come, but the best I can do is to say that there will probably be some sour tasting notes from the background smell I am picking up as if this is either old or stored incorrectly.
Unsure how I should brew these, since I have four hours dedicated to drinking these, I decided to do 30 second steeps 12 time for each tea. The first brew was a classic example of how I can think one thing and decide that such a thought was absolutely terrible. The thirty second brews were very astringent and I do not believe I can evaluate anything from anything I just drank so I washed my mouth with some water and took a five minute break to let the bitter feeling dissipate some so I don’t miss any sweet notes or not fully experience any off notes.
Starting back up. The number 7 seems to be regarded as a good one throughout history, thus I am going with it. Normally I do anywhere from flash (new) to 10 (aged) second steeps on my sheng; hopefully 7 will work.
Starting with the seven second steeps, the liquid is not as dark which hopefully means more drinkable and not as bitterness to the tasting. The first three steeps this is what I noticed; all at 7 second intervals:
300 the smell went from about nothing to slight floral notes the come across after a whiff. Steep one and two are pretty bitter as you would expect for a young sheng, but the third one is showing a little less which has me looking forward to the next few steeps.
1000 the earlier smell of astringency turned into more of a steamed green tea smell. The first few steeps of this are unpleasant in general. The astringency comes in and sits at the roof of the mouth. There is no indication that this will lighten up to allow any notes to be distinguished over the bitterness.
1800 the smell hasn’t changed and I am perplexed as to what these funky scents I am picking up should indicate. The first few sips were odd as I tried to get my mind around something smelling odd and then there are sweet notes in this tea. Others have linked it to apricot and I would say that it resembles that in a way. No bitterness added in my mouth between this and the other two I am drinking currently.
Moving o to the next few steeps I decided I need to drop the temperature because I’ve read that some have used lower temperatures to avoid some of the stronger notes that higher heat can bring out. I really wanted the 1000 to be something I could have something nice to say about. If that is possible, I hope to find a way. My thoughts about doing such a thing is to evaluate what will change with the drop in temperature and then if needed later on I can rise the temperature to bring out what may be a tea that needs something to reawaken it. Playing with tea is fun : )
Now with water at 85c and 7 second steeps:
300 this is becoming more enjoyable as my session goes on. The slight bitterness is disappearing either from steeping it out or dropping to 85c; most likely a combination of both.
1000 steep 4,5, and 6 are three more reasons to dislike this tea. Astringency is still overwhelming for me. At this point I have decided that I will pour water over it for three minutes and pour it onto my tray and then taste what becomes of it.
1800 the liquid is a bit lighter now and the taste follows as such. This is becoming a delicate drink, the kind I would love to sip away at during a spring day as the liquid is warm and yet soothing all at the same time as being light enough to not bother my senses but present enough to make me notice the taste as it sits on my tongue and transfers to the side of my tongue and roof of my mouth after I drank the liquid down.
Going forward at this point are only the 300 and 1800 with 85c for now and ready to brew new water if needed to pull more out of these teas. Steeps 9 to 12:
300 interestingly enough this began to lose its lightness that it was starting to turn to and began picking up astringency. The smell stayed the same though, the difference was only in taste.
1800 the opposite began happening for this one. The tea began to lighten even more leading me to more thoughts of having a delicate cup in spring; if only.
At this point, it is about time to eat my awaited dinner. Surprisingly, I was able to endure this journey without breaking for food which is good because it could have disrupted my ability to experience them purely. Since I try to provide helpful remarks for teas and these are sold old, it is probably best to advise what I believe might help them out rather than if it should be bought or not; and I will avoid the pricing, which we can all agree was high.
300 this tea is probably best at 80 or 85 Celsius with short steeps up to 7 seconds to avoid the bitterness that is within it since it is a young sheng. This is something that may be considered a daily drinker if the steeping parameters are figured out to avoid the bitterness that could eventually lead to an unpleasant mouth feeling after a few hours. The smell of this one is the best of the three and needs medium attention to figure out how to unlock its potential.
100 while I did not enjoy this tea at all, maybe I can help someone else enjoy it… I believe this tea would be best with flash steeps and 80 to 85 Celsius water. Brewing this longer than 5 seconds will provide a strong sensation of astringency in the mouth. This tea has a strong scent to it and requires the most attention of all the three.
1800 this was the best of all three, as anyone would expect. Sweetness is the one attribute with this tea that I notice throughout and enjoy most. This tea requires the least amount of attention to figure out and I think people can make the adjustments they would like to make this to their preference for more enjoyment. As I stopped recording thoughts of this tea at steep 12, I am sipping at steep 16 as I write this. This is something that can be brewed quite a bit and stays enjoyable the whole time. My suggestion for this tea is to play with the steeping time and temperature as you won’t ruin it easily because it has a lot to give.