Thanks to Ginko for the free sample of this tea back in February this year!
Since I recently sampled a sheng from Verdant Tea, I wanted to try this quickly, so I could make a better comparison and hopefully learn a bit more about sheng in the process.
Similar to the Artisan Stone-pressed from Verdant, the leaves from the sample were mostly loose. Since I don’t know if the whole cake is loosely packed (via stone pressing) or this is just because Gingko broke off a sample, I don’t know. But I liked the look of the twisted, grey-brown leaves anyhow.
I also went ahead and did a gaiwan brewing, to try to replicate as much as possible the way I drank the other sample.
After the rinse, the leaves smelled incredible! Like maple syrup, or honey-smoked. The liquor of the real first infusion was also very good… this sweet, maple-like flavor was very present, and I was totally impressed. I thought that if the flavors continued like this, it would be by far the best sheng I’ve had (out of very few) and I would really have a grip on what’s so delicious about puerh (or, at least one aspect).
That maple (though not quite like sugar) sweetness was, as I said, on top of a nice earthy, smokiness. The first steep had it most strongly, and the second slightly.
After this, the tea seemed to simply smooth out. I detected some bitterness…it didn’t bother me, but I’ve learned by now this is a feature of ‘young’ shengs. The tea aroma and flavor remained woody and earthy for many more steepings… probably to about 9 or 10. It actually didn’t weaken much at all, but neither did it grow more interesting. About this far I did detect some hints of flowers and the aroma of the wet leaves was very interesting – exactly like baked beans (honey-baked, I think). This didn’t exactly translate into the flavor, but that was still fun.
I went to 15 steepings or so, and it didn’t seem to change much, just starting to weaken in the last cup or two. Anyway, this seemed to have a lot of potential, and was definitely interesting, but maybe it would be great in another 5-10 years. As for now, it’s about par for the course with my sheng experience thus far.