Crimson Lotus Tea
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Recent Tasting Notes
So even though we have take home boxes from both of my birthday dinners (one with my boyfriend and then one with my family), my boyfriend decided he wanted to get subs for lunch. I dot know if it’s all the bread or what, but subs always seem so heavy to me. Nursing a full belly, I decided I wanted shou, and remembered that I had these leaves in the fridge. I had started a session with it on my birthday, but then my boyfriend wanted to go to an early dinner and my session got cut short after only 2 steeps.
6g, 8oz water, boiling, two 10 sec rinses, 10,10,15,15,15
The first two steeps, I remember them being smooth and silky, dark cocoa, which seemed to fill my mouth and make me think of it as more like a good cocoa powder, a little earthy, and a touch of something spicy. I had a sip of the second steep several hours later, after it had gone cold, and there was a sort of smokey note to it.
Third-fifth steeps were less cocoa powder, and more dark chocolate. Along with some dark sweetness, a little lighter than molasses, almost like dark brown sugar.
Sixth-ninth steep continue to get sweeter and the chocolate gets more creamy and milky. I just got back from Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios, where it rained all night, and it was opening night and a really busy for September. Now I’m winding down with one last steep of this, and but the leaves in the fridge for later.
This shou is very easy to drink. From the steeping leaves, you pick up the scents of wet wood and leather. Dark brown tea soup yields a sweet and fairly mellow sip – woody and earthy with a definite dark chocolate overtone. Absolutely no bitterness found. The leaf seems to have staying power – 8 steeps in and the cup is still very flavorful with a 20s steep time.
Mmmm, a delicious ripe pu’er! This one is very smooth, rich, melty dark chocolate flavor with spice notes. With later infusions the chocolate goes from dark to milk with a wild honey like sweet flavor. Very easy to drink and desserty. No bitterness, dryness or fermentation funk. I got 17 infusions from 6 grams of tea, prepared gong fu style.
2012 Bulang Gushu also has a gorgeous reddish color that is bright and clear – a pretty pretty tea! Totally for someone who loves a rich chocolate note tea!
Full review on my blog, The Oolong Owl http://oolongowl.com/2012-bulang-gushu-ripe-puerh/
Light, sweet, with some slight woodiness. Mouthwatering aftertaste. I have no idea why I sometimes think I taste the tiniest hint of banana in this. (The last time this happened, it was more prominent and with Mandala’s 2009 Bulang Gong Ting shu but I don’t think the leaves are from the same region…)
The first time I brewed this, I used my 150 ml gaiwan. It tasted pretty good, but I wasn’t getting much of an aftertaste or the “mellow sweetness” mentioned in the description. It didn’t really impress me, to be honest.
I decided that I wanted a mug of tea earlier tonight, rather than multiple little cups. Normally, I go for flavoured teas or black teas at this hour (caffeine doesn’t really affect me, which is a blessing as a tea drinker and a curse as a student) but for mysterious and unknown reasons I reached into my box of pu’er samples instead and randomly pulled out a pouch.
So, I brewed it with my infuser and mug (quick rinse x2, 5 second steep). I must have messed up with the ratios in my gaiwan the first time around, because I can certainly taste the sweetness and mouthwatering aftertaste now! Definitely a huge departure from the earthy, dark shus I usually prefer.
I received 3 samples from Crimson Lotus Leaf. I couldn’t decide which one to start with, so I just picked this one at random. The smell is earthy, woodsy, and a touch like pond water.
I rinsed twice, 10 second each. 15,60,45,60,60,60,90,90,120 second steeps. 5g 8 oz water, 200F.
First steep is sweet and gentle. A little earthy, a little woodsy, a little cocoa powdery. Second steep I stepped away and accidentally steeped it for 60 seconds instead of the 30 seconds I intended. The result was thick and yummy. Still sweet, still earthy, still super smooth. It sort of coated my throat and lingered around for a long time. Third steep is much like the last two. Some caramel or honey like notes.
I’m noticing that while this puerh is thick and lingering, it’s not heavy. In fact, it’s sort of up lifting. Forth and fifth steep, the earthy note is a little toned down. And there’s an almost fruitiness now. 7-10th steeps stay smooth and sweet.
This baby can keep going, but I think I’m going to call it a night and maybe cold steep the leaves.
For the last three days I have been having the Crimson Lotus tea’s 2007 Qiao Jun “Huang Zhi” shou pu-erh. The website states: “This puerh brews very light even with longer steepings. This will brew very smooth with a pronounced mellow sweetness. It’s moist in the throat with a pleasant aftertaste.” I completely agree with this note. The tea is simply pleasant, has a certain lightness to it, and has a hint of chocolate in its finish during early steepings. I found it grew on me over the three days it took to go through 10 steepings. Seems like a pretty good bargain for a pleasant everyday drinker at $22 for a 250 ml brick (also available in 25 gram sample size). More info available at http://crimsonlotustea.com/products/2007-qiao-jun-huang-zhi-250g-shou-ripe-puerh-brick. My tea was from a sample purchased last month.
Flavors: Chocolate, Earth, Wood
Trying my third Shou from Crimson Lotus today. This is one of the best shou’s I’ve had. It is very deep and rich, a little earthy, very hearty, and quite smooth. A touch of astringency and sweetness balance the flavor. It lasts and lasts. It has a high kick factor. It has all of the qualities I like in a Shou, and it’s harvested from trees from the Bulang region so I’m not too worried about chemicals. It’s currently $30 for a 250g brick, so it’s not terribly expensive. I’d highly recommend giving it a try! I am gaining a lot of respect for Crimson Lotus. They have excellent taste in ripes. You can watch a little video about them and this tea here:
Trying another Crimson Lotus ripe today. This is another winner. It is interesting and a little different. It is earthy and sweet, some hints of chocolate, no harshness though I wouldn’t call it super smooth, and brews a deep brown. What I find most interesting is that it has a palpable thickness, almost a grittiness. It’s a nice drink. A bit expensive at $60 currently, but you can buy a sample to see if you are interested.
This is my first tea from Crimson Lotus. It is a rich and fairly smooth ripe. Very tasty, and reminds me a bit of a mix between Special Dark and a Dayi ripe in terms of its flavor profile. Its staying power is a little on the lighter side, but it makes up for it by being delicious. High kick factor.
This is an interesting tea of depth and complexity with bright, well balanced flavors and a deep sweetness. Good earthy flavor, hints of tobacco, and perhaps even a whisper of cherry and forest in the flavors, this is quite a good tasting tea. Just a hint of astringency in the long lasting flavors. Quite enjoyable (from a sample).
Flavors: Cherry, Earth, Sweet, Tobacco, Wood
Crimson Lotus is new to the tea scene, and founded by a married couple in the Seattle area, the wife hailing from Yunnan, China originally. Their main interest is in Ripe puerh, and they have some fine teas to try and gorgeous tea ware which they scout personally from small Jian Shui pottery houses. Lamu’s family lives in Yunnan, so they are well placed to get started selling tea. It is a labor of love indeed.
I think this cake is one of their earlier efforts, their new cakes they pressed this spring have not arrived yet. This is one of two sheng cakes they currently carry, and they have some interesting cakes coming up from a farm family who has a few old trees in their garden, I will be looking forward to tasting those.
I ordered a 25 g sample of a 357 g cake. Leaves are very dark green, this seems to not have much age on it, probably dry storage has held this back, but that might be okay. Brewed up two sessions so far of 8 grams per 115 ml water. One rinse does the job, this is very clean. Proceeded with 15 second steeps onward.
Description is apple juice liquor and the result lives up to that. First brew is a mild bitter which steeps out quickly for me in subsequent steeps. Has a nice peachy taste, this too is rather mild, no storage flavor at all which again points to a very dry, preservation type of storage. Very cool on the mouth for the finish. I continue to get color in the tea past 8 steeps but the flavor is mostly gone. Wouldn’t want to age this, I think it will fade, it is best right now.
Flavors: Apricot, Green Wood, Peach