95

This was the first shu I bought based upon reviews here, but could not seem to warm up to it at first. To my palate it was all mushrooms, minerals and astringency. Based upon it’s relatively high energy, however, I kept returning to it whenever I needed a boost while working. In doing so I kept playing with the steep parameters until, finally, I hit upon a combination that really made it shine in my book.

I believe I was initially steeping too long for the amount of leaf I used, running in the 15-30 second range. Turns out it’s really good with shorter steeps. The combination I eventually settled upon is 7.8 grams in a 130 ml pot, one 20 second rinse, a 2 minute pause, then I gently break up most of the now-pliant clumps with a toucha pick. A steep pattern of 10/8/8/8/10/15/30/60 seconds brings out wonderful cedar flavor with undertones of sweetness, citrus and spice. I get hints of mushrooms and/or minerals in some steeps but they no longer dominate the flavor profile, and the astringency is gone.

To me this is a rich, robust, full-bodied shu and has moved back into my rotation as a favorite.

Preparation
Boiling
mrmopar

Yeah these rascals are pressed pretty tight. Sometimes I hit them with the rinse and let them set (after draining) in the Gaiwan or Yixing till the next day to open up. Lao cha nuggets are even harder than these are.

TeaExplorer

This one comes apart pretty easily when allowed to sit a couple of minutes after the rinse. Will try the overnight-sit-after-rinse with the lao cha nuggets.

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mrmopar

Yeah these rascals are pressed pretty tight. Sometimes I hit them with the rinse and let them set (after draining) in the Gaiwan or Yixing till the next day to open up. Lao cha nuggets are even harder than these are.

TeaExplorer

This one comes apart pretty easily when allowed to sit a couple of minutes after the rinse. Will try the overnight-sit-after-rinse with the lao cha nuggets.

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Bio

I’m fairly new to the world of fine tea, having begun my exploration in earnest in mid-2013. I had given loose tea a try a decade ago but what I chose was not to my liking and I never finished the couple of hundred grams I ordered.

I’ve spent most of my life as a coffee drinker, and have studied and practiced the art and craft of coffee roasting for the past decade. I drink coffee until about noon, at which point my palate needs a change.

This eventually led me to try good quality tea one more time. The Internet is a great resource and I got pointed in a more solid direction this time. I started at Upton Tea with mostly black teas, a Jasmine-scented green and samples of some flavors. I’ve been enjoying three or four cups a day.

Then I stopped into a tiny Chinese restaurant in rural Pennsylvania and in response to my request for hot tea the proprietor brought me her personal Pu-Erh, which had just arrived from China, in a portable Gong Fu teapot. OMG … I found something new to obsess about! She kept bringing me hot water and I did multiple steeps until I could swallow no more. My research on this tea eventually led me here.

I’m a voracious reader and can consume a book a day when I have the time. I’ve been an obsessive geek since childhood and that spills over into all areas of my life, driving me to try to attain competency in more areas than I can count, especially technical subjects. I once took “The Visual Display of Quantitative Information” on vacation and my wife asked why I wasn’t reading something fun. I had no idea what she meant.

I love almost all genres of music, but am most fond of Jazz (Miles’ Blue Period, Mingus), Delta Blues (Sleepy John Estes, Son House) and 80’s British alternative rock (The Smiths, Bauhaus, The Pogues). I also followed the Grateful Dead for a short while. Yup I’m getting old, but then 50 is the new 30, right?

I hope to make some of your acquaintances, and swap both knowledge and tea.

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Palm Bay, Florida

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