I bought this a bit back when Canton had it on special and finally cracked the beeng yesterday. I’m not sure what I was expecting from it really, although I could not help but compare it to the 2010 Xing Hai that Canton sells for half the price. So, my thoughts?
The beeng smells lovely. I get that people will get a tobacco smell from it. For me, although there is something of pipe tobacco in it, the aroma of the beeng itself is redolent of the stableyard, just like the Xing Hai. It’s a lovely grassy horsey smell that reminds me of good times.
When I picked it apart, I got large leaves with bits of stalk. I mean some of those leaves were huge. Great stuff.
Yesterday I made it in my gaiwan: 3g of tea in a 140ml gaiwan, temp at 95 degrees as recommended on the website. With steeping times starting at 10 seconds and rapidly escalating, I found it to be on the insipid side (or delicate, if you wish to be kind). The flowery taste was there, but I got little in the way of aftertaste or depth of flavour. Shame that.
Today I opted for my dedicated sheng pot (170ml duan ni). I jammed 8g of leaf into the pot, and I mean jammed. Some of the leaves were too large to actually fit comfortably into the pot. I was going for destruction testing this time around, as far as I was concerned. I reckon I did the right thing too. The first steep was 20 seconds. It came out slightly flowery and a bit peaty. Not really fantastic, but pleasant. The second steep was also 20 seconds because I figured the first steep was a wake-up call and I was right. The taste came in a lot stronger. The peatiness and smokiness were emphasised but without killing the floral flavours. It was sweet and only just the right side of bitter. There was an aftertaste that really came into its own on the exhale, at which point my tastebuds started jumping around. Yes, that was about right for me. It reminded me of nothing so much as some of my favourite malt whiskies (without the alcohol, of course!). From that point on it was good all the way through to the sixth steeping, with some mushroom and mineral flavours developing along the way. I had to stop at that point else I shall not get to sleep tonight. Let’s see what it is like in the morning.
It seems to me that this tea likes it rough at the moment. It is robust enough to cope with some harsh treatment, and, for my taste, it needs a bit to bring out the best in it. I look forward to seeing how this tea ages, and will have to get a beeng or two more so that I can ensure a supply for some time to come.