Crimson Lotus TeaEdit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
first time trying this, and i did not get a shot at last year’s. brewed gongfu after a long work day; 4g:60ml in a porcelain gaiwan. i drank the rinse because i’m gross. ;) it was sweet, and cucumbery. the tea has picked my day right up.
it’s definitely on the sweet side. i haven’t been able to pull astringency out of it yet; closest that i’ve gotten is a tingling along the sides of the back of my tongue. it’s somehow light but thick-feeling? my teeth feel clean-shiny, too.
early on the wet leaf smells spicy-vegetal, and early flavour notes are reminiscent of cucumber. has some flavour components of a green oolong, too; kind of a buttery green vegetal flavour. there are definitely some other interesting flavours in there, particularly in some of the early steeps (i smelled them!), but i’m more in an enjoying mood than a dissection one.
this is really nice. for me, it’s probably suited to a particular tea-moodcraving. i look forward to drinking the remainder of my cake. :)
“whispering sunshine” seems like an appropriate name for it. i see the whisper — the flavours are there, you can hear the words, but they aren’t shouted at you. it’s got that sunshine warmth to wrap around you like a blanket, filling in all the nooks and crannies, just gently, like in the spring.
i’m into it.
Flavors: Cucumber, Sweet, Vegetal
Pleasant, relaxing, easy drinking shu, good for after dinner or evening tea.
Very clean, no fermentation flavors, smooth and delicious. Subtle ripe plums. Drying finish for first 3-4 steepings, then it was mouth watering til the end. No aftertaste, flavors faded as soon as you swallow. Mid-full bodied mouthfeel.
Almost a slight camphor cooling thing going on about 3/4 of the way through my whole session, but only when the tea had cooled down to room temperature. I wouldn’t consider it huigan though.
Relaxing, not getting caffeine jitters. Soothing to the stomach.
Made me sweat a little towards the end but that soon passed.
Nice longevity, well over 12 steepings.
Steeped in Crimson Lotus jian shui dragon egg 100mL teapot. Love this little guy! Someone said this same tea in maocha form (that came in jian shui jar) had unpleasant fermentation and was bitter. I got neither fermentation nor bitterness. Perhaps this jianshui teapot removed those flavors or they disappeared during pressing into cakes? I’ll have to test this tea in a gaiwan and update if necessary. (http://steepster.com/AllanK/posts/338033)
2x rinse, gongfu session
At $.16/g this is an easy affordable choice for a daily shu to drink now. I may pick up another cake or two for that reason. I’m not sure if more age will improve this any, so this is a tea I’ll be drinking now and not sitting on.
Flavors: Plums, Wet Earth
Dry leaves are whole and intact. That aroma! Wow, the aroma of the dried leaves is very strong and translates into the tea. One of the best parts of young sheng is that stone fruit honeysuckle apricot aroma.
I brewed this 3 steepings at a time, mixed together in a chahai/pitcher. Each set was different. This tea is interesting, and different in each set. I think I’ll need to break this tea down to separate steepings to fully explore its nuances.
First impressions: Once hot water hit the leaves there was a remnant of a very rich sweet burnt sugar/antifreeze-like smell, maybe remnants of processing? But it went away after the first steeping. Very mild flavor, malty sweet, very full body. Very full body (worth repeating). Thick liquor with lots of bubbles. Underwhelming flavor at first.
Second set: Slight sour/astringency and subtle bitterness developed throughout the session, then converted into a long lingering sweetness and long lasting aftertaste. Not much flavor complexity. Grassy honeysuckle dew.
Third set: Here’s where the huigans started along with throat cooling effect. The gentle bitterness has faded but that aftertaste keeps building. Its wonderful to see it develop throughout the session.
Good longevity, lasted over 10 steepings without fading.
Last thoughts: Seems a bit too raw for me at the moment. Very pleasant, but stomach was a bit uneasy. I may need to let it get some age. I think I’ll revisit this tea in a few months.
Brewed in bone china gaiwan, 2x rinse, gongfu
I’ve been drinking this for nearly an hour now, with an occasional break from the tea to drink water. I’m pretty tea drunk, I must say.
Anyway, this is a nice sweet mushroom/honey-esq tea. Definitely a great tea to have on a daily basis, or if you’re trying to wake up, but getting extremely giddy while doing so. I’m on steep six, but I had to stop for a moment to gather my senses (however, how I feel momentarily isn’t bad, of course). My wife’s tea-loving friend is stopping by later, so maybe I’ll continue the session with her.
I used 6.5 grams for a 120 ml Yixing pot. I steeped this for 15s, 20s, 30s, 30s, 35s, & 45s.
Also, it’s hot inside the house. The AC crashed, so I’m having to sit in front of a fan while drinking the tea. The landlord said that he can’t get here until Thursday to fix it, so I’m going to have to make several trips around the block to cool off….That, or go ahead and buy that kiddy pool I’ve always wanted for the backyard.
This is a very tasty shou with a moderate amount of fermentation flavor. The fermentation flavor is not unpleasant or fishy. There was little to no bitterness to this tea. This tea was mildly sweet from the start. Somewhere along the line it got listed as having a mushroom flavor. That is not out of the ballpark. This tea is quite good. This is one I am tempted to buy more of to age, we shall see. It’s good enough to warrant a tong of the stuff.
I steeped this tea twelve times in a 150ml yixing gaiwan with 10.1g leaf and boiling water. I gave it a 10 second rinse. I steeped it for 5 sec, 5 sec, 7 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 25 sec, 30 sec, 45 sec, 1 min, 1.5 min, and 2 min. It was pretty much finished at twelve steeps but I think if I upped the time I could get a couple more steeps out of the leaves.
Flavors: Earth, Sweet
Really glad I snagged one of the 10 jars of this tea, and hope Crimson Lotus continues to deliver more teas like this one. Total blind buy without sampling, but based on other Jingmai teas I’ve had from Crimson Lotus I couldn’t pass up an 8-year old Jingmai maocha. It was totally worth the gamble. And it paid off! Wow! High quality material, clean, no off flavors, really good sheng.
This is an interesting tea. At first I wasn’t sure what to make of it, but don’t think I used enough tea initially so I held back those tasting notes, and used a lot more tea in later sessions.
It brews a really nice amber color, on the lighter side of amber, but what I expect from a 2008ish sheng. Signature Jingmai honeysuckle and honeydew, less-so than some other younger Jingmai shengs, and an underlying creaminess that brings it all together.
It still leans to the bitter side but quickly turns into sweetness, and a gentle astringency that causes my mouth to water…if a tea can be juicy then this one is juicy. Nice mouth buzz from first 4-5 steepings that fades away after that. Very long lasting pleasant aftertaste, one that you don’t want to eat anything because it may ruin your palate and the flavors you’re enjoying. This speaks to the concentration of polyphenols and minerals in these leaves. High quality stuff! I absolutely love these aspects of shengs, and what I look most for in mid-age shengs.
Large thick and intact leaves, beautiful to look at.
Very slight huigan, no camphor, qi is relaxing and gentle. Not getting any caffeine kicks or jitters, and around steeping 10 I started getting a bit tea-buzzed and had to eat something.
After about 12 steepings it started getting straight bitter, which means I probably need to be fine-tune my steepings later in each session, or pay attention more. In my own defense, this tea had me buzzed :) Some longevity! Its outlasted me every single time with 12+ steepings consistently.
The strength and qualities of this tea give me a really good sense that it has lots of potential for long-term aging, and that its not even close to hitting its peak. But after 8 years, it also has me wondering if there is a bit of younger material blended in? How can this tea reach this level of bitterness after 8 years as maocha?
High quality material, glad it was left to age in Jingmai for 8 years. I’m really looking forward to growing with this tea, and only wish I had more!!
Flavors: Apricot, Astringent, Bamboo, Bitter, Chestnut, Creamy, Honey, Honeydew, Honeysuckle, Sugarcane, Tannic
This tasting note is for the maocha version which was available for purchase in a beautifully made Jianshui Zitao Storage Jar. I will review the cake once it has been released.
Aromatics of apricot as well as similar flavor notes along with sweet nectar and a slight vanilla buttercream that fades after a few steeps and becomes vegetal wherein the youth of the leaf shows itself. So much smoother than I expected this would be and a luscious creamy soup with a bright yellow hue. Takes multiple infusions well without fading quickly and I expect to continue to enjoy this session right on through to late evening as I enjoy the happy feels.
10g of absolutely gorgeous looking leaf strands in about 180ml at 200F with one 20s wash, a 30s rest and followed by a 15-20s first and increasing in 5s increments from there.
I’m absolutely loving this sheng and expect it to be even more amazing with age. I will definitely get it in cake form as well.
Update: I managed to seriously oversteep this one infusion midway through which produced this beautiful golden hue. Major bitterness definitely present but with it a heavy sweetness and overly ripe peach quality not present in the shorter steeps. Sometimes distractions leading to mistakes/accidents lead to pleasant results. Though this led to lesser infusions it did not affect later infusions in terms of flavor and bitterness.
*Note: After two days the leaf finally waned. Huge leaf without tears, holes or in pieces.
Overall this was a nice tea. It had a lot of fermentation flavor to it and that flavor was somewhat unpleasant but not fishy. There was a little initial bitterness. There was a sweet note that developed and became dominant. Overall this was very good. This came in a Jian Shui tea jar so I wonder how this will effect the tea aging.
I steeped this twelve times in a 120ml gaiwan with 10g leaf and boiling water. I gave it a 10 second rest. I steeped it for 5 sec, 5 sec, 7 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 25 sec, 30 sec, 45 sec, 1 min, 1.5 min, and 2 min.
Flavors: Bitter, Earth, Sweet
Wow this tea is good! Broke off a bunch and threw it into the new Crimson Lotus dragon egg Jian Shui teapot 100mL. 2x rinse. First three brews were a bit “dusty” with muddled flavors, needs probably 3 rinses next time.
Steeps 4 and 5 this tea started to wake up. A slight mouth buzz developing, sweet aroma, but not so much sweet taste, hint of nutty/chocolate undertones, wet wood, no astringency, no bitterness, slight wodui fermentation but in the background. Lots of golden tips in this cake, and very clean. Rich, thick, full bodied, creamy mouthfeel but no cream flavors. If a tea was chuggable this one is chuggable. Easy on the stomach. Not too complex, but not bland or cloying either. Not getting caffeine jitters, so for the price, this is a great daily drinker. I see myself buying at least another cake and drinking lots of this in the future.
Flavors: Dark Wood, Mud, Mushrooms, Musty, Paper, Round , Smooth, Sweet, Thick, Umami, Walnut, Wet Wood
This is excellent tea. It was really quite good. The surprising thing however was it has not cleared completely. I figured a 16 year old ripe puerh would have no traces of it’s fermentation left. This one had a noticeable amount. It had cleared partially but not all the way. The fermentation taste that I noticed was not unpleasant and it certainly wasn’t fishy. The tea was slightly bittersweet at the start. The bitterness steeped out after about two steeps and what was left was a tasty and mildly sweet ripe puerh. I didn’t find either notes of chocolate in this or a fruity taste for what it’s worth. This was still really good puerh. I’m not entirely sure what to call the sweet note that was there. This is a tea I might find myself buying more of. It seems to me that in another year or two of storage all traces of fermentation should be gone. This one was just surprising as I didn’t expect to find any fermentation taste. Not that in my experience ripe puerh ever loses that taste completely in a sense. You always know you are drinking ripe puerh. No matter how many years you age a ripe it does not start to taste like sheng. But overall this was an excellent tea and I highly recommend it to anyone who likes ripe puerh.
I steeped this ten times in a 220ml solid silver teapot with 14.2g leaf and boiling water. I gave it a 10 second rinse. I steeped it for 5 sec, 5 sec, 7 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 25 sec, 30 sec, 45 sec, and 1 mini. I could have kept going but at this point I have had something like two liters of tea. I have had enough even of a tea this good.
Flavors: Dark Bittersweet, Earth, Sweet
Crimson Lotus offered the opportunity to purchase this aged Jingmai maocha in a custom made Jianshui tea jar and I could not resist. This is a very nice tea! The leaves are whole, long and beautiful to look at. The tea liquor is a deep gold color which when exposed to the air begins to shift toward a copper color. The aroma is full of a thick sweetness and this same sweetness is found in the first sips. Active mouthfeel which continues into the throat where the sweetness lingers. I also found a decidedly citric component in the tea which led me to think of it as having an appealing sweet charm while a tiny bit tart at the same time. Overall the tea has a solid, potent character and is indeed a treat. This is one to be enjoyed now and in the near future.
This is a really good shu. I’m usually not overly excited about shu, but this one changed my opinion. It is full bodied, sweet, with a nutty cashew-like complexity to keep you engaged throughout the session. I recommend picking up a cake or two..
What? I never did a 2015 review. Bad, bad on me. I had so much fun sharing the previous incarnation of this with everyone I know… and my green tea loving sister loved it… it was the only sheng she actually liked… and I tried a lot of fancy teas on her, including a few high end w2t club ones. I am pretty sure my family is biased Kunlu, it’s also dad’s favorite shou.
Kunlu gushu tastes like the wild. Instantly transporting to a forest in the middle of nowhere.
So the kunlu sheng is much less pineappley than the younger trees… but has this really great wild after taste lovers of the 2015 version will instantly recognize. The wildness that evolves and changes as the tea matures.
I will update this after I try the cake version, as well as do a side by side comparison with the 2015 (please remind me, I have one more maocha sample session left and half a cake coming) but wanted to share some initial impressions with people before these went on sale. Because they went fast last year.
So if you tried a sample last year and loved it, the good news is… you are getting a tea with very much the same character as last year. The second time I tried it I was able to confirm this.
What is different?
The aroma. Goodness! This year has aroma in spades. Like I had a small sample of this with some jian shui cups come in the mail last month… and as soon as I stepped out of my car, about 10 foot for the door step, I was all kunlu? o.O? At around 3 feet, everything still sealed was Kunlu! o.O it is delightfully pungent. I’m not sure if this is because it is maocha rather than a cake, or this year is just super pungent.
Also, beneath its still upfront wildness, there is a bit more of a fruity note than I detected last year. Almost a pear.
Also… longetivity… this baby goes on forever and ever until you are done with foresty tastes and decide to grandpa it. I don’t think I’ve ever found Kunlu’s end by gongfu alone…
I need to session more with this to find subtle differences… and how diff notes aged out… but more or less, if last year’s was your jam, chances are you will love this one too. It is a worthy sequel.
The ever kind and benevolent Glen sent me a sample of this with my Kunlu order to haunt my dreams!
It’s amazing. I raved to a tea friend about it after the first steep… then the second…
“omg… you NEED the 2008 jingmai. Am just super hyper and happy I can taste things again. And I brewed up the sample Glen sent with jar… and holy shit
its aged and floral and fruity and minty
and yes… its all fig and honey in a snow storm”
In later steeps I notice the apricot and some kind of stone fruit element more. It kind of reminds me of an oolong in some ways how it brews up, but still has the feel of sheng.
And then I went on chat and pretty much tried to convince everyone I knew to buy up what is on stock so I won’t be tempted to ask what a dragon’s egg tong looks like… I mean they are still in Yunnan… so the danger is real!
I followed up by telling another person on IG " omg yes. I think the biggest shocker though is the 2008 jingmai sample! It is just blowing me away with fig honey and apricot goodness. While still having some of the more abrasive qualities I love in sheng! Like the super cooling aftertaste. If this is how maocha ages… I need to get a hold of more of it o.o only ever had aged cakes before this."
At which point I think Glen saw how much I was raving about this and made a review thread for it.
This shit is good… don’t buy it before I get paid! I mean buy it all up! I’m so confused right now. But this tea is really really good. Like maybe rivaling my love for slumbering dragon good… it doesn’t have the stamina of dragon… but damn those first handful of steeps are magic.
Flavors: Fig, Honey, Mint, Stonefruits
First experience with Crimson Lotus tea and pleasantly surprised. Straight up honeysuckle, honey, gentle sweet flavor, very pleasant to drink, nice longevity, but didn’t get any chi. I was confused how a 300 year old tree could have no chi? I’ll see if this changes in later sessions and update review then.
Lasting huigans, gentle bitter/astringency that converted to gentle sweet lingering honeysuckle which is one feature of shengs I love most!
I enjoyed this tea. it was entirely pleasant and mellow and you could tell made with quality material. I think these will age well. I will buy another 5-10 balls and see what happens to them over the years.
brewing: 2 flash rinses with reused rinse water, so water was cooler each time. Didn’t want to fatigue the exterior leaves while I tried to hydrate the interior. The interior was packed very hard and was dry even when the outter leaves were soaked and loose. After 2-3 rinses, I left lid on teapot for 1 hour 45 minutes and then came back and gave it another flash rinse with boiling water. Then when it cooled enough I used my hands to slowly and gently separate the ball leaf by leaf until it was completely loose maocha. Then I started my gongfu sessions.
Flavors: Honeydew, Honeysuckle
From the Pu TTB
This is my first tea from Crimson Lotus. The tightly rolled tea takes a few steeps to fully open up. Nice floral and honey notes on the first steep. Moderately bitter and lightly mineral and fruity. HONEY! The honeyed taste only seems to become more prominent with further steeps. A very nice sheng that I would consider buying, though a bit pricey for me at $6/planet.
I made my first order with Crimson Lotus a couple of days ago; a little black jian shui pot! Did anyone pick one up from them last year? I look forward to trying it out and comparing to yixing
Flavors: Floral, Honey, Mineral
I received a set of two handmade Jianshui Zi Tao Bamboo Tea Cups from Crimson Lotus Tea today so I thought it fitting that I christen them with one of these awesome little planets.
This tightly compressed orb of love needed a little extra TLC to awaken to the world so in the pot it went for a 30s bath followed by a couple minute steam rest, then back in for a couple more baths as it slowly started to blossom. I admit with zero shame that I drank every subtle thin rinse and enjoyed the not yet strongly flavor noted goodness. On the final awakening bath I could really see what this would become. Early steeps were slightly bitter but nothing overwhelming and notes of light apricot were present as well as some slight vegetal characteristics that disappeared in later infusions. As the session progressed the liquor became sweeter and the apricot almost transitioned into honey sweetened peach. At this point all I could think is how this felt like what would happen if bug bitten oolong met sheng. Even further in some slight black pepper, light smokiness and some spice like you’d get in a spiced rum. The leaf really opened up and took multiple infusions well to the point that after about seven I stopped and will finish tomorrow.
This is not only beautiful to look at in its planetary form but also as it unfurls into beautifully sized green leaves of love. Nicely aromatic and full of some serious flavor notes that keep evolving. I definitely need to purchase more of these beauties.
Around 8.5g, 120m Duan Ni, boiling temperature with 30s pre bath, 2m steam bath, another two 30s baths and then 15s steeps and climbing from there.
I expect at least a half dozen more infusions at least until the leaf wanes.
The Lonely Planet:
The Evolution of Leaf:
A day later and the twelfth and final infusion…
It was hot as hades today, with nearly 100% humidity, and it rained on and off. I spent most of the day making trips back and forth between my storage unit and my house, prepping for a coming yard sale. I moved the contents of a 10 × 15 storage space filled to the rafters; furniture, dozens of boxes, and was so determined to throw the Stuff Monkey off my back that I attacked the accumulated craptastica of my life with a ruthless disregard for sentiment. Still, this was emotionally taxing work, and when I was finished for the day, all I wanted was a shower and some tea. I had neglected to make some cold tea in advance of my endeavors, so I needed a hot tea that was going to be light and not make me sweat. Also, something easy. I was in no mood for jacking around with steep times and persnickety brewing parameters – sometimes I get in a mood like this and I just want to fill my pot with some leaves and put some hot water in it, count to ten or whatever and not be disappointed with the result. So this tea was the perfect choice. Fruity, light, sweet, floral (but not in a nasty gut-punch kind of way), and cooling. Refreshing, and calming. If there’s a 2016 version of this tea coming, I will consider purchasing a cake for the summer.
Grabbed one of these when I ordered some teaware from CLT. I’ve heard about its reluctance to open up so my first few steeps were long and included me steaming the ball in the gaiwan as well as manually trying to pry the damn thing apart. I managed to do so and then realized it’s much too much leaf for the gaiwan I was using. I think maybe you need a 200-250 ml container? I removed about half of the leaves to continue steeping later but then lost them in a tragic fridge accident that also managed to take a large chip out of one of my gaiwans :(
The first few steeps of this I got pure apricot. It was quite possibly the most apricot tasting thing I’ve ever had including most actual apricots. I was a little suprised by this as I don’t remember it being mentioned in anything I read when I decided to pick one up. The second steep was almost a bit smokey which was strange. Later steeps continued with the apricot along with some light drying astringency coming out. Then it mellowed out into honey. It steeped for awhile, but I lost count with all the fumbling around with the leaves and the mess I made. I’m steeping out the last of it in the fridge now to see if I can’t get a bit more.
It’s more leaf than I really need at one time for home use but I would love to see how this fairs in a travel mug for all day at work. I’m a little bummed I didn’t grab the set of five…one lonely planet indeed.
Flavors: Apricot, Honey
Beautifully clear golden liquor with a strong savory pu erh scent. I really enjoyed this one, it had a good, meaty mushroom/earthy flavor throughout most of the steeps that really accented the sour apricot/stone fruit flavors that showed up in the middle.
At ten grams per ~90-100 ml, this had a nice savory, cleaaaan mineral body that served as a good background for the plethora of interesting flavors that played across the steeps—I detected a bit of smoke and some wood at the beginning, something like barley and mushrooms and earth in the early to middle steeps, and then various stone fruit, sour apricot, and hay for much of the rest, emphasizing the mild sweetness.
Many of these flavors revisited and played in and out in various strengths and roles with some mild to moderate astringency across steeps. Not much of a body buzz, but it had a nice relaxing energy.
Flavors: Earth, Hay, Metallic, Mineral, Mushrooms, Smoke, Sour, Stonefruits, Wood