This was a two-fer session. Last night and tonight. I bought this why? idk. Probably because of the awesomely orange daylily flower and I ran out of shou. Comes as a scored brick. I think the chunk I snapped off was 8.5g but it might’ve been 9.5 I was a little leery of placing the whole chunk in a 100mL gaiwan but it turned out pretty well.
Gave it a 10s rinse at 205F then had 12 steeps: 7 at 20/10/12/14/16/18/20s last night and 5 tonight at 25s/30/45/1m/1m30.
Dry chunk smelled like blackstrap molasses and red miso. After the rinse, which was pretty light, I picked up on that lily, freshly tilled dark soil and molasses. The first steep produced a very thick and dark liquor, like used motor oil. It tasted of molasses, dark wood and taro (from Verdant’s notes but I totally got it) with some moist, dark soil. Subsequent steeps were kind of muddy but smooth and carried the same tastes. Those moved into a clearer liquor with notes of an alkaline taste, metal like both iron and steel, a faint orange spiciness and a very light bitterness. The final 5 steeps tonight were pretty light but still good. It was a good tea for the nighttime but it’s a sneaker. I started to feel the caffeine effects ramping up an hour into last night’s session and was awake later than I wanted to be. The lily flower is darker than in the pics but it really brightened up during the brew. They’re whole, large and very pretty flowers that float to the top of the brewing tea. I’m not sure how much they contribute to the flavor of the brew since I’ve never had anything daylily before. I’m only familiar with white and calla lilies.
Last night, I also tested out a new silver-lined cup I bought. I was using my 100mL clay gaiwan to brew and tested the difference between a clay cup and the silver-lined one, splitting the liquid between both cups. The silver one produced a noticeable effect, clearing up the muddy notes that I got in the second through seventh steeps. Finished the session tonight with the clay cup. The tasting notes are entirely based on the clay cup.
Overall, this a decent shou. Nothing spectacular, nothing offensive. Not fishy at all. This isn’t for those who enjoy sweet puer as it’s more of a savory tea. Not sure if the light muddiness will clear up with some short aging. I went in blind and was not disappointed, which was nice considering this vendor doesn’t specialize in puer. I can’t say I’d buy it again, but I am now willing to try the other flower-pressed shou bricks offered by Verdant.