A tea friend of mine gave me a sample of this sheng some years ago and I am grateful for the experience. With >10g it’s quite a big sample so I went for flash steepings with 80° C. The wet leaf smells clean and floral with a little bit of earthy notes. 8 years (of dry storage) should have mellowed this Sheng out but oh boy, was I wrong.

The first steepings present the tea really bitter but not astringent with lovely floral notes of orchid with a hint of the earthy flavors to come with camphor. The steepings 3-5 show how fullbodied this tea is while licorice root makes it quite tasty. It’s also animalistic with a decent horse fur aroma. The aftertaste of dark chocolate / cocoa was surprising and are the reason why these were my favorite steepings. 6-9 were harsher and sweeter, the minerality shines through. The earthy flavors shift into bitter melon and now the increasing astringency left my mouth dry. Some rock candy and licorice root are sweet aftertastes, but these aren’t pleasant steepings if you don’t like young Shengs from Bulang or similar harsh teas. While the tea was becoming lighter colored in steeping 10 the flavors became more balanced. This indicates that I used too much leaf even for flash steeping. Some zesty citrus gave the astringency a nice twist. But after that the tea looses aroma and even the bitterness mellows out in steeping 13 with increasing zestyness. I increased the temp to 90° C for minute of steeping. After 16 steepings I stopped as I was quite tea drunk and it’s becoming late, but I think there would have been 4-5 steepings left which I will try to drink tomorrow.

Clearly this tea is not at it’s prime now but already shows some of it’s great potential. It’s a quite unique blend of delicate aromas and bold / harsh bitterness. I don’t think the bitterness will disappear completely for at least a decade as this tea was bitter from start to finish. By any means this is enduring fellow is nothing for a quick and easy sip, but it’s nice to see how many faces a tea can have. This review and rating reflects my experience now and not a potential future. It’s a pity that this tea isn’t available anymore as I like this style of Sheng. If you got a bing, store it for some years. And if you don’t have the patience or just don’t like it: PM me :D

Flavors: Bitter Melon, Camphor, Citrus, Cocoa, Fur, Licorice Root, Orchid

175 °F / 79 °C 0 min, 15 sec 10 g 3 OZ / 90 ML

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