Crimson Lotus TeaEdit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
CL was kind enough to include this sample when I ordered a cake of Whispering Sunshine and I was happy to discover a very good shou with medium body and great energy. The first couple of infusions featured a fairly strong tobacco flavor and a somewhat lighter menthol taste both of which persist through successive infusions. I especially like that the tea isn’t in-your-face sweet, like so many other shous that mask their imperfections under a layer of confection.
As I continued with the session, a pleasant tang emerged along with a nice mix of fresh bread and black cherry. Around steep five or six a pulse of sweetness entered the mix but it was far from cloying.
This tea drinks like a much more expensive one—Thanks to Crimson Lotus for offering it.
This tea is very different from any pu erh I’ve tried. It is very interesting! And so different, that I really don’t know how to describe it. First, I will say that I thoroughly enjoyed it. It has a wonderful energy. My fingers and toes were tingling after the first cup. And I feel just very wide awake and present. I often judge a tea based on how it makes me feel, rather than analyzing the flavors, and this felt very nice. That being said, the first steep was just surprising. It was very bitter, with almost a charred type bitterness. At first I thought maybe the leaves got burned in processing, but this was not the case after seeing the leaves. It was a very different kind of bitterness than one usually finds in pu erh. The flavor was – I don’t know, just different. You just have to try it to see what it’s like. Today, me and my wife got through probably 10 steeps. The bitterness cleared after 3 or 4. The broth was a bright and deep gold. The flavor kept changing, it was a very dynamic tea. It just kept getting better, and I found it quite addicting. We are going to have more tomorrow, as I’m sure there are a few steeps left to go.
CL has some pictures of the wild giant trees in the forest from which this tea was picked. From such trees, I can see why it would be very different than a typical pu. This tea is expensive, but really cool to try.
I am FINALLY getting a chance to make this well reviewed tea! I have been meaning to try it but have not had the time to sit down and properly brew it, but today is the day! Thank you so much Crimson Lotus Tea for this sample that came with my teapot!
The appearance is so cute. I love that it’s a planet! A nice little sphere :) the dry smell is very faint as it is so well compacted but there is a touch of hay and honey. I am going to brew as per CLT’s gaiwan instructions on their website.
For rinses, I did the first rinse as a 30s steep and then let it rest for a few minutes, same thing for the second rinse. The rinses smell nice and light.
As for the first actual steep I am drinking (a 30s steep btw), this tea is, simply put, awesome!!! It’s smooth, definite honey flavor, a light vegetal body, and a hint of bitterness at the end. The honey flavor intensifies after the sip, lingering and making me want more.
I will continue to steep this all afternoon, in between errands and what not. Delicious start to the day!! Thank you so much Crimson Lotus Tea for the free sample!! I may have to place an order in the near future for a few teas, I have one more sample to try then I will see! :)
ETA – here is a link to my IG photo of this tea today :)
Was really happy to give this tea a try along with the Slumbering Dragon, thanks for the samples Glen and Lamu :).
This tea had a really pleasant aroma that was both sweet and vegetal and I also was able to pick up the aroma of edamame that was mentioned.As for the taste its quite easy to realize how fresh this tea is, the first couple of steeps reminded me a bit of a fresh green tea but I was able to pick up some nice sheng flavors that became more pronounced after the first couple of steeps(was able to get a total of around 10 steeps). I was quite surprised at how smooth this tea is for being so young, but it wasn’t too flat either as it had some nice tangy/bitter flavors as well. I would definitely consider buying this cake and would say its definitely drinkable right away.
Flavors: Fruity, Green, Smooth, Vegetal
So, this is one of the three samples sent to me more than a month ago by Crimson Lotus Tea. I’m sorry for my tardiness, but still grateful for the opportunity to try these out! Unfortunately my life hasn’t left me with the time to sit down and gongfu lately, but I carved out an hour yesterday to try this one out a bit. Glen billed this as a sheng that even shou lovers would like, which was very compelling as I am not very experienced with sheng.
I did four steeps back to back and lined them up for the beau and I to compare. I actually really liked this approach as we could see/smell/taste each one and compare it immediately to another. It helped us be sure of our impressions as it gave second chances. It still has plenty more to go and I hope to do that tonight if the leaves are still good.
The details: 7 g sample in 150 ml gaiwan (I finally measured it!). 95 degree water, 3 second wash.
Dry: The compressed piece is beautiful. Green/black/golden leaves all pressed together. Looks like camo but more attractive. Smells like light smoke and hay. Sort of like a roasty oolong. There were some broken crumbs along with the one larger piece and I steeped it all up. Those pieces inevitably slipped through into the steeps but they didn’t create any adverse affect.
1st steep: 6 seconds. Pale amber. Not bitter, but not much taste. Slightly dry tongue so a hint of astringency. We came back to this one repeatedly but there just wasn’t much there that we could detect.
2nd steep: 6 seconds. Slight smoke is emerging, and a bit more drying on the tongue. Sill no bitter. I mention it because all I hear about sheng is that it can be bitter (and that should be pleasant). I hate bitter, so I’m pleased to not be getting anything like that.
3rd steep: 8 seconds. Sweetness is coming in gradually and building with each sip. Not as sweet as I expected but it is starting to emerge. This is the first steep to really have an aroma. Increased astringency, and continued light smoke.
4th steep: 10 seconds. Aroma is shou-esque. Reminds me pleasantly of a barn. This one is less astringent but it can build up on the sip. There is a mineral taste and remaining light smoke. I made a note that this is “very sippable.” This was both of our favourite, by far. Hubby felt it tastes like a black/oolong mix at this stage which explains why we preferred it.
Unfortunately we had to stop here but I definitely think if we had the opportunity to continue it would have kept getting better. I look forward to having a second round tonight and will try to update with my notes.
EDIT: We did another four steeps last night and took a few notes. All at 95 degrees again. Why not? I gave the leaves two flash rinses in warm water to “wake them up.”
5th steep: 15 seconds. Aroma was like salt fish. Not that it was fishy, but it smelled salty and slightly smoky. Weird. Taste was mineral and slightly bitter, with some astringency which remained to the end. Not a fan of this steep, but I think it had something to do with waking the leaves back up.
6th steep: 20 seconds. Aroma was mineral and smoke, flavour was mineral but not bitter. Hubby found this the best of all and thought it was almost fruity.
7th steep: 25 seconds. Aroma of toasted rice. What the? It smelled and tasted like Laoshan Black Chocolate Genmicha on the second steep if it were left too long (slightly bitter/astringent).
8th steep: 30 seconds. No discernible aroma or flavour. Not much for the leaves to give without ramping up the time/temp and we’re tea-ed out. I know it could go further but it has more endurance than I do. Off to the compost with these leaves. What an interesting experience!
Flavors: Mineral, Smoke
First of all, a huge thank you to Crimson Lotus Tea for the opportunity to try this tea as a free sample! I am so sorry that I am so late reviewing this tea, but I am finally getting to it now!! Very excited as I’m craving a shu today, even though it’s ridiculously hot outside again.
I am also doing this with my gaiwan, which I haven’t used in AGES!! So nice to have a gongfu session again! I used the large piece from the sample pack and still have a bit left, as my gaiwan only holds about 4 or 5 oz.
The dry smell is deep and rich, a bit fermented, some wet wood and earthy notes. I did two short rinses of about 5s each and then first steep was about 5s as well. The cake piece started breaking up on the second rinse, so the first steep is quite dark!
The steeped smell has a caramel note to me, along with damp wood in the rain. Rich and yummy smelling. Also heady, it could be the heat, but my head spun a bit from just smelling it :P
As for the taste, mmmmmm shou, it’s been far too long. The flavor is thick and rich and grounding. Not too much fermentation to me, just smooth, with some dark wood notes. The aftertaste is sweet, a brown sugar melding into burnt caramel flavor. It’s cozy and warming haha, not that I need that today, but it’s just the flavor I was craving, even on this hot day.
The second steep is even darker than the first, and also smells thick and luscious. Tastes very good as well, maybe a bit mellowed but still very deep and delicious.
Overall, this is a great shou, not too strong and not weak, just right for me! I will continue steeping this throughout the afternoon, I wanted to try a sheng but this one might go for too long for me to try that today :P thanks again to Crimson Lotus Tea for the free sample! This is a great tea, and I definitely will consider it for purchase in the future, it’s just so mellow, rich, and delicious. Oh, and so far, a more calming chi than energizing. I like that :D
6g of tea, gongfu, water just about boiling, two short rinses, then 5-10 second steeps. This came as part of an “intro to pu’er” set from Crimson Lotus. The first thing that really hits me is the aroma of the dry leaves. They smell delicious, like candy or fruit (mangos). Wet leaves have the same aroma, plus a note of tobacco. Light soup, looks like a roasted oolong. The aroma of this tea is amazing. This is unlike any other sheng I’ve tried: the aroma and the flavor don’t match up. You expect sweetness, but it’s not really there. The flavor is more smoke, pepper, tobacco, with a fair amount of bitterness.
I got this shou as part of an “intro to pu’er” set from Crimson Lotus. 6g of tea, 200 degrees, gaiwan, two short rinses and 5-10 second steeps. The wet leaves smell kind of funky at first (is that fermentation? I don’t know, but it fades). Dark soup. Flavors: smoke, sweet, grass, oak.
EDIT: drinking this tea again about a week later. Noticing more complexity in the brew now. It’s really a nice shou. I would purchase this again.
I am enjoying this sample from Crimson Lotus Tea immensely. The dry aroma is hay and barnyard. That used to make me nervous. Now I rather expect it. I did two rinses. The first cup was at 10 seconds. It is root beer colored with a pink tint. The first thing I notice when tasting was the thick creamy feel running along side the initial bite. Kind of opposing sensations but they work together. After the bite settles, I get mild horse tack that drifts into a sweet smooth finish. Cup two was much darker, pouring ruby red. Similar in taste to the first. The difference is this introduced a cedar note at the beginning and moved the bite to later in the sip. I also caught a light smokiness when exhaling. I only noticed the smoke after ‘testing’ a hot out of the oven chocolate chip cookie made with sugar free chips. Did the cookie bring the smoke out or add it? Who knows. Both the cookie and the tea were very enjoyable. Highly recommend both.
Purchased as part of an “Intro to Pu’er” set, along with one other sheng and one other shou. This is the first one I am trying. About 7g of tea, boiling water, two rinses, starting with 5 to 10 second steeps. Interesting. Reminds me a lot of the shou I had last night (2002 Gu Fo Aged), maybe not as sweet though. It’s really dark, definitely the darkest sheng I’ve ever seen. Grassy, but also a bit peppery in the back of the throat. Interesting, I’m about 9 or 10, or maybe 100 steeps in, and my mouth is getting reaaaally dry. So bizarre. It’s like drinking grass, and then suddenly hey, I taste hay. HEY! Is this what tea drunk is? The brew is so, so pretty. Hay, I bet I will not be sleeping tonight. Changtai: 1, Curly: 0. BOOM.
Had this sample along with a couple of others from Crimson Lotus sitting around, decided to revisit them and review them.
I think this is a really good tea which is quite easy to drink with some nice sweetness. It seems to be a good representation of a nice light pu’erh, I would definitely recommend it
Flavors: Cocoa, Earth, Sweet, Wood
Breaking this out of the pumi. I think it’s ready now.
I picked 8 grams off to brew in the Gaiwan. I gave a quick rinse and inhaled the aroma. Vegetal and sweet comes up from the Gaiwan.
I did 3 short steeps to start with. The tea is a pale yellow color when poured. It started a bit light and I increased the steep time to about 7 seconds and did three more for the big cup. The increased steep time amped it up. The tea has much more to it. It has a touch of bitter and then the sweetness arrives fast. I got notes of pineapple in this one. It does get a bit more of a bite as the brew cools a bit. It gives a little buzz on the tip of the tongue. It is a very subtle drink that seems to mellow me out a bit. The leaf hasn’t fully unrolled all the way after six steeps and I think there is more goodness to come.
Flavors: Bitter, Floral, Pineapple, Sweet
Wowzers, thanks very much for the sample Kieblera5 aka KIEBS!
This tea was an ALL DAY tea for me. I drank on it for 8 hours straight. The first few steeps it tasted like a cross between a green and a sheng. Very buttered sweet green veggies for me, and then it opened up and became fruity complex sheng flavor, and just ended up honey sweet gold by the end. Very much a FEEL GOOD tea. Felt so pleasant and happy all day drinking it. A little buzzed but not crazy tea drunk. Very VERY nice!
I got two samples of this tea, and I first tried a basket in cup brew that was just ok. The other sample I brewed gong fu and my first steep was my favorite, chocolatey, smooth, yummy. Subsequent steeps lose the chocolate, but are replaced by a smooth woodsy taste. An enjoyable cup of shou.
Flavors: Chocolate, Dark Wood, Smooth
Wow. This is the best young sheng I’ve tasted to date, though I am still fairly new to pu. I’m extremely impressed. The first steeping was thick and viscous, which is something I find very appealing and often lacking in shengs. The flavor was both very easy going, like “Whispering Sunshine”, but it also had a touch more bitterness and was more bold and aggressive. I think those are good signs, especially for aging. The flavor has pollen in the background, and honey sweetness in the foreground. It is very tasty. The steeps were very thick for the first five or so. I got quite stimulated and a bit tea drunk for about an hour. The next five were a little more bitter, still fruity, and of course less thick. I really love this tea, it is of very high quality. It’s not cheap, but I think it stacks up very well against teas of this price range. My strategy for sheng buying these days is to spend more per tea on fewer teas that are of high caliber. This fits the bill! Thanks for producing an awesome tea, Crimson Lotus!
Tea provided by Crimson Lotus Tea for review
For my second and final sample, I wanted to wait until it was raining outside so I could enjoy the Shou puerh with the nice scent of rain and not feeling hot and sweaty in the summer!
First sip had a bit of sweetness along with the familiar woodsy, earthy, deep shou puerh flavours I love.
Second through fourth were consistent in flavour, getting a bit of a deeper earthier flavour with a hint of menthol.
Fifth steep was my fav, it became much smoother and had the best balance.
I ended on the ninth steep, which was still quite dark and retained fruity and menthol flavours.
Overall Bulang Shan Imperial Grade 2008 met my expectations. I didn’t have any fuss steeping it, or noticed any off putting flavours. It was nice to try a shou puerh with a bit of a sweeter side than most of the bold earthy ones I seem to always get.
Flavors: Forest Floor, Fruity, Sweet, Wet Earth
I drank Crimson Lotus Whispering Sunshine 2015 raw puerh for the second time. I’ll admit that the first time around, it missed the mark for me. It was too subtle for my liking, but i decided to give another try two weeks later.
The first time, as usual i couln’t help myself and drank it the same day that it arrived. Well I guess it needed some time to air after shipping cause this second time around is lovely!
Very clean as young sheng should be, but with very little astringency. There is a certain bite to it which i love but it’s very light. It’s grapey and apricoty, sweet and a little citrusy with a nice vegetal feel.
It also gave me a pretty strong head buzz which lasted throughout the whole session. I lost count of how many steeps i did.
Now i’m a little puzzled about something…i read somewhere that it was smokey. I am not a fan of smoke in general and trust my taste buds, i will find smoke if there is some to find. I got absolutely none in this, which was fine by me. Just a super clear and clean liquor.
I really enjoyed it and i’m glad I have a whole cake.
This is an excellent “drink now” pu erh. Very aromatic, and heavy on the pollen flavor. No astringency and very little bitterness, just easy going to the max. It is a great example of this style. I’m not sure I would want to hold onto this for aging, as it is fairly light. But who knows, I think the jury is still out on how well these young easy drinkers will age. The leaf quality is excellent, and I got many many steeps. Later infusions were a bit lemony. All in all, a great tea.
Dry – Sweet, thick, creamy, red dried fruits, faint bitterness.
Wet – Thick, fruity, bittersweet, rich, burn-sugar sweet.
Liquor – Red-ish brown to a coffee-brown.
Initial Steeps 1-5 Are thick, creamy, bitter to bittersweet notes with apparent richness and full body. The liquor is thick and becomes smooth going down while turning sweeter, but retaining some of that rich bitter-sweetness. Hints of dried dark and red fruits in the sweetness that stays behind.
Mid Steeps 5-7 Still thick, though not as thick as the first few, it holds its ground pretty well with the similar notes of a Bitter to bittersweet front that has rich and tart notes, coating the tongue with a thick layer before transitioning into a sweeter and smoother note. The sweetness lingers in the tongue and throat if you allow time between steeps. Some minor astringency shows up at the end.
Final steeps 8-11 The first steep here still has some body to it, but this declines with each steep, thi is the collapsing portion of this tea (which is REALLY damn good for a shou). The steeps begin to get ‘cleaner’ with less body and even barely retaining any bitterness, just holds on to enought to not make it just sweet, this steeps are still pleasant and satisfying, but in a more juicy way than filling.
A very satisfying every day shou. I would recommend drinking this one next to W2Ts 2005 Bulang Maocha. Its not fair to do a 1:1 comparison due to age and possibly storage factors, but you can get an idea of how loose leaf/maocha vs compressed Puerh behaves in terms of taste. Both great shous to have in your collection.
Flavors: Dark Bittersweet, Sweet, Thick
Tea provided by Crimson Lotus Tea for review
I haven’t had a lot of puerh recently, so I was super excited to dig into my two samples provided by Crimson Lotus Tea.
Going into my steeping, I didn’t have a lot of expectations. The first steep tasted buttery, slightly floral, with roasted tobacco. Most importantly it wasn’t bitter at all, just very smooth and palatable.
Third steep brought out a more mellow, soothing experience. With notes of apricot and ‘woodsy’.
Winding down to my sixth steep, more of the tobacco flavour was present, but was otherwise smooth with a bit of menthol sensation.
Overall the sample exceeded my expectations. I don’t drink sheng puerh very often, and most of it has been young and bitter. That being said, I really enjoyed it. Unfortunately I’m not in a great position to keep/store sheng. But I love having a bit occasionally.
Flavors: Apricot, Butter, Floral, Forest Floor, Menthol, Tobacco, Vegetal, Wet Earth