94

First Tasting…from a sample I received with my last Verdant order. (Prior to my full cake purchase arriving.)

Intro
I didn’t realize at first that the sample I received with my order was the same as the 07 cake I later purchased. The label was marked 06 instead of 07.
I thought I had received one of those extra’s that are never going up on the Verdant site, or a future tea that might be released in a few weeks. You never know with tea, things are always changing.

Tasting at H.L.
So I took my little sample to Happy Lucky’s to taste with my tea friends, Sam and Joe, and my granddaughter Schey.
Joe set up a little Gaiwan and 4 cups, then rotated through 7 short steepings.
From the beginning I didn’t think he used enough leaf and the steep time was instant, but he thought otherwise.
The first steeping was tongue numbing, and tasted ashy. The smell was sweet tobacco. The Pu’er was never bitter or harsh, just ashy tasting and vegital.

That didn’t concern me, I knew how a first steeping was so often unreliable in judging what future steepings would taste like.

It took 3 additional steepings for the ash and tobacco taste to subside, finally allowing a lighter, green tea flavor to emerge with a slight astringency.

I determined then to spend time at home brewing this Pu’er ‘MY WAY’. Something wasn’t right.

Curious about my sample, I sent David Duckler an e-mail. He said the handwritten sample said ’06 but was really the 2007 Fuhai Sheng. Aha!

Now I knew how to brew!

Prep
I decided to do a Western Style brewing to get a larger amount of tea all at once to envelop myself in the aroma and flavor. I also wanted to use lots of leaf.

I used SPRING WATER!!! (I do believe this made a big difference)

Steep time….1 minute! 8 oz water 5 grams or so leaf

The aroma of the leaves was lightly vegital with a background scent of Grammer School paste.

The color remained pale yellow.

The scent of the tea changed in such a peculiar way. I smelled sweet tobacco in the beginning then sweet spiced pickle, cinnamon, savory and sweet green tea.

Second Tasting Western Style
With the very first sip I was stunned at how instantly the tea numbed my tongue. Not just the tip but under the tongue.
The flavor was an ash-vegital taste that wasn’t too salty. The Pu’er was never bitter or harsh and had a natural sweetness.
I had the sensation of cream without a thick mouth-feel.
As the tea cooled just slightly there was a growing presence of cinnamon.
I was pleased that my choice to brew Western Style using more leaf and longer steep time had worked out so well!

The second steep was like the first and the third was less ashy, dryer and a weaker cup.
I needed to make an adjustment!

At Stepping #4, I changed the time to 1 minute 45 seconds. Perfect!

Always the experimenter, and following a hunch…I took a small break, took a bite of chicken and came back to my tea (just seconds away to keep the tea hot).

By taking that break, I discovered the Pu’er’s Savory personality! Sipping the Pu’er was really good with my light chicken dish in a way that an excellent light savory broth would be.
I could still feel a bit of tingle, that numbing feeling in my mouth that was kind of cool and a green plantain starchy flavor that is a little sweet as it begins to ripen with a hint of cinnamon (super light). (The cinnamon was sometimes only on the nose)

Conclusions
For my first encounters with this Pu’er, I didn’t taste apricot or nut.
The environment often changes what you taste from one day to another too. This is why I seldom eat before tasting tea.
Perhaps in the future my experience will deepen and I will taste many things as the Pu’er itself changes.

My recommendation is to use the best water, don’t skimp on leaf and steep long enough to get good flavor. If at first you don’t succeed try again. I bought a cake and a sample size to play with. Sheng is not like Shu Puerh. This is not earthy, fishy or mushroom tasting.

Sheng are a whole different adventure in the world of Pu’er and I for one have a lot to learn.

TeaBrat

nice, I ordered one of these too. ;)

Terri HarpLady

I ordered the sample, which arrived today, but did not order a full cake (although I almost talked myself into it when there was only one left…). I’m looking forward to giving it a try!

Mrnixonpants

Well, today’s the day. I’m going to that tea bar to see what I think. Wish me luck – hopefully I’ll be making friends! =)

Bonnie

Good Luck…have fun…at least we get a story out of you!!!

Mrnixonpants

Okay it was awesome! I’m so glad I went. It was strange because it’s run out of an upstairs apartment so going in you feel like you’re going through someone’s house you don’t know, but once we got inside there was a little bar set up and a friendly guy behind the bar serving gongfu tea. He was very informative and the tea was great! There were 2 other people that were there and they were very friendlly as well. It was so much fun to drink tea with other people who actually enjoy tea and not people I’m forcing to drink tea who have no clue what I’m trying to do when replicating gongfu with stuff in my kitchen lol!! Yeah…I think I’ll make it a regular friday thing. So happy I read your reviews and decided to check my area again because they defintiely were not there before!! =)

Bonnie

Hooray!!! Probably this will be your tea bar or pub! As you get to know people you might even share samples. I take tea to drink with my servers and they give me tea sometimes too or a free pot of tea. You learn so much more that way. Good for you!

Mrnixonpants

I’m so excited I even got to buy some tea from the tea farm he worked on over the summer in Hawaii. I can’t wait to go again next Friday and I feel like he can really teach me a lot about puer because he loves it and I don’t know much about it, so I am hesitant to include it in my online orders. Yay tea friends! Woohoo!

Terri HarpLady

Yay, Mrnixonpants!! Sounds like an awesome experience!

Bonnie

Woo Hoo indeed!

ashmanra

Awesome! I wish there was a place like that around here – I would be all over it.

Bonnie

Sunday I was invited to a Sunday google+ tea chat group that meets at 3pm at a local shop. I was recommended by Eric at Happy Lucky’s…still another benefit of visiting places LIVE and seeking them out!. The group sips tea and blogs about it on google+ just for about an hour.

Terri HarpLady

Well, that’s cool! Fun with tea drinkers!

Bonnie

Still, I’d rather be on a cruise ship riding around with all you guys sippin…

tperez

Hehe, that would be awesome!
Teatanic: The unsinkable tea convention… :D

Thomas Smith

About how much leaf was used in the gaiwan and was there a rinse? When I read you used more leaf at 5g/8oz I kinda choked a little on the bran flakes I was eating, hahaha. I always start around 4g/100mL with both sheng and shu, though I vary the time and temp between ’em.

Bonnie

Thomas S- Well, the first time (using a Gaiwan) was about 2g in 4oz water for about 20-30 seconds and weak (remember I said I told the guy he needed more leaf) so I knew that going to 5g in 8oz water would be fine. I did 1 rinse. It was the time that mattered. I increased the time to about 1 minute right off.
(Verdant suggests 4g for 8oz water starting at 30 seconds for Western Style then increasing to 1 minute)

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Comments

TeaBrat

nice, I ordered one of these too. ;)

Terri HarpLady

I ordered the sample, which arrived today, but did not order a full cake (although I almost talked myself into it when there was only one left…). I’m looking forward to giving it a try!

Mrnixonpants

Well, today’s the day. I’m going to that tea bar to see what I think. Wish me luck – hopefully I’ll be making friends! =)

Bonnie

Good Luck…have fun…at least we get a story out of you!!!

Mrnixonpants

Okay it was awesome! I’m so glad I went. It was strange because it’s run out of an upstairs apartment so going in you feel like you’re going through someone’s house you don’t know, but once we got inside there was a little bar set up and a friendly guy behind the bar serving gongfu tea. He was very informative and the tea was great! There were 2 other people that were there and they were very friendlly as well. It was so much fun to drink tea with other people who actually enjoy tea and not people I’m forcing to drink tea who have no clue what I’m trying to do when replicating gongfu with stuff in my kitchen lol!! Yeah…I think I’ll make it a regular friday thing. So happy I read your reviews and decided to check my area again because they defintiely were not there before!! =)

Bonnie

Hooray!!! Probably this will be your tea bar or pub! As you get to know people you might even share samples. I take tea to drink with my servers and they give me tea sometimes too or a free pot of tea. You learn so much more that way. Good for you!

Mrnixonpants

I’m so excited I even got to buy some tea from the tea farm he worked on over the summer in Hawaii. I can’t wait to go again next Friday and I feel like he can really teach me a lot about puer because he loves it and I don’t know much about it, so I am hesitant to include it in my online orders. Yay tea friends! Woohoo!

Terri HarpLady

Yay, Mrnixonpants!! Sounds like an awesome experience!

Bonnie

Woo Hoo indeed!

ashmanra

Awesome! I wish there was a place like that around here – I would be all over it.

Bonnie

Sunday I was invited to a Sunday google+ tea chat group that meets at 3pm at a local shop. I was recommended by Eric at Happy Lucky’s…still another benefit of visiting places LIVE and seeking them out!. The group sips tea and blogs about it on google+ just for about an hour.

Terri HarpLady

Well, that’s cool! Fun with tea drinkers!

Bonnie

Still, I’d rather be on a cruise ship riding around with all you guys sippin…

tperez

Hehe, that would be awesome!
Teatanic: The unsinkable tea convention… :D

Thomas Smith

About how much leaf was used in the gaiwan and was there a rinse? When I read you used more leaf at 5g/8oz I kinda choked a little on the bran flakes I was eating, hahaha. I always start around 4g/100mL with both sheng and shu, though I vary the time and temp between ’em.

Bonnie

Thomas S- Well, the first time (using a Gaiwan) was about 2g in 4oz water for about 20-30 seconds and weak (remember I said I told the guy he needed more leaf) so I knew that going to 5g in 8oz water would be fine. I did 1 rinse. It was the time that mattered. I increased the time to about 1 minute right off.
(Verdant suggests 4g for 8oz water starting at 30 seconds for Western Style then increasing to 1 minute)

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Colorado Grandma
http://www.teaandincense.com
Grandmother to 3 teenaged girls and 5 young boys. (we all drink tea!) I began teatime in the Summer over 30 years ago when my children were little. We took a break from play for tea and snacks every day. My children loved tea time.
There are several tea houses close to my home and a Tea Festival in Boulder. Fort Collins is a bit of a foodie town. We brew lots of Beer (Fat Tire is one brand) and have several Spice Shops (Savory was one featured on Food Network).
Colorado State University is a mile from my home and the Rocky Mountains begin to climb at the end of my street. The climate is semi-arid with LOTS OF SUN AT 5000 feet. (Heavy Winter snows start in higher elevations). Living my whole life in Northern California (Silicon Valley) I have to admit that I LOVE IT HERE!!!
I attend a wonderful Greek Orthodox Church and enjoy cooking ethnic foods (all kinds). I am disabled with Migraines and Fibromyalgia.
My family is Bi-racial (African-American, Scots) and Bi-cultural, (Peru, Cyprus, France, Mexico, Native American)
I’ve worked at a Winery, was a System Analyst, in telecom, been an Athlete and Coach, Artist, Vista Volunteer. Love healthy cooking (and delicious food!). Love to travel and have been to Italy, Greece, Turkey, Malta, Peru, Croatia, Canada, Mexico, Hawaii, Alaska

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http://www.teaandincense.com

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