I have a brick of this because it was a good price on Verdant’s site and I had impulse control issues at the time. Since buying it, I haven’t tried it. I was drooling over Mandala’s site earlier and thought to break into the one brick I do own. I don’t have the right tools so I picked a sharp slim paring knife with a good point and tried to gently squeeze it in various spots as I recalled from David Duckler’s video. In general it worked but I also broke leaves that I might not have if I had a better tool or more experience. Lots of fun though! Excavation with my tea.
Rinse of 15 seconds, 90 degree water.
Steep 1, 15 seconds @ 90 degrees, Light yellow, smells floral and sweet like hay. Reminiscent of greens and green oolongs. Taste is very mild, a little bitter. Not much, not enough to feel drying. Nothing really stands out or lasts.
Steep 2, 20 seconds @ 90 degrees. Deeper yellow, more like watery apple juice. Smell is similar, but a little less fresh hay and more like older hay that got damp. Flavour is stronger but I still have a hard time naming it. Definitely astringent, my mouth feels dry. Not a fan of that.
Steep 3, 25 seconds @ 90 degrees. Similar colour, aroma has faded. No more hay, no more sweet. Smells a bit like a barn. I know, I always use the same words with pu-erh. I need a class or something. Taste is not as astringent or drying. No sweetness, no floral, not much at all. I like this better though I do notice more bitterness lingering.
Might be a good time to mention I am fairly inexperienced in puerh and that sheng is not my favourite of the options. I prefer black teas and others that are similarly flavoured. So, shu.
Steep 4, 30 seconds @ 90 degrees. Hardly any aroma at all, but what is there is back to sweet hay. Say what? Flavourwise, it’s still not sweet but also less astringent again. Perhaps it’s mellowing out? I see people saying that young sheng mellows after the first few steeps. Am I experiencing that?! More pleasant, for sure. Beau says it’s the best.
Steep 5, 35 seconds @ 90 degrees. More sweet hay in aroma, which was finally represented in the taste. I get sweetness. Yiss. Nicer again.
Steep 6, 40 second @ 90 degrees. Not much aroma, unless I really get into it. Maybe a little spicy. Obviously, mild. Taste took a turn toward earlier flavours with a hint of astringency and a dearth of sweetness. Oh, you. Stop that!
Steep 7, 45 seconds @ 90 degrees. Completely unobjectionable but not interesting for me either. I’m calling it quits. I’m sure I’ll learn to like this, I’m just used to the boldness of black tea. This is not that.
I can only imagine what this would be like at boiling. I will try shorter times at boiling some day and see if I prefer it. I certainly have enough to experiment with. For now, this doesn’t impress me at all but I won’t rate since I don’t know how it holds up for what it is, only that I prefer blacks and shu.
PS – I just read all the other tasting notes. i don’t get any citrus or cabbage or apples or anything fun like that. Oy vey.