Opening up the last of my sample, I was surprised to be met with a bit of a spicy, woodsy “aged” aroma in the dry leaf, more akin to older sheng than the fresh stuff. Somehow my attitude towards this tea has change. Perhaps I’ve gotten better at brewing it, or my palate is shifting. Regardless, I could smell mint pouring off the freshly wet leaves. The sourness I remarked on before was absent and this tea gave a great array earthy wood, mushroom, tannin, and leaf tones. Sure, there’s some cooked black-tea-esque character too it, but I don’t find it shallow, hollow, or empty.
Shuang Yi Factory
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Thick. Texture transitions from oily in the mouth to dry. More interesting aftertaste than actual taste. A bit sour, a bit bitter. Small leafed.
Three steeps down the road this tea gradually heads for a ditch of generic sweetness. It loses any of that funky complexity and just gives a plain, sweet graininess that’s not bad, but not that much fun and not really worth it. Too bad, because the sour and spice play was rather enjoyable.
After a two weeks hiatus from sheng, this tea proved to be a unique reintroduction. Leaves were well compressed, but flaked relatively easy, throwing off nice big curls. The sheen and mottled appearance of the cake was satisfying to the eye. The first two steeps gave an even clean soup, with very low astringency and a slick oily character. A breath of morning dawn cool mint camphor exhaled in the smack of the tea. The third and fourth steeps got a little funky, with palpable sourness (which I enjoyed) and some almost wheat-like, chewy bread notes. Light on the smoke, tobacco, and musk. Minerals and sandy soil. I like the eclectic blend of characters in this beeng, as they’re all pleasant, if a bit odd. Darker soup, with some oranger leaves present, but not so many as to give a hongcha character to the flavor.