348 Tasting Notes
I don’t often purchase Chinese green teas, and dragon wells even less often. So, this is an off the beaten track thing, for me.
These dry leaves have a very sweet set of notes under the more typical hay and meadow notes.
By Contrast, the wet leaves are extremely vegetal, bordering on pungent.
The liqueur is actually pale yellow, not green, but that is not too surprising, I’ve only ever found shaded greens to actually turn green in the cup. The flavor here genuinely splits the difference between the dry and wet leaves. Oddly, the flavor reminds me a great deal of the great shaded greens out there — deeply vegetal, but still bright and green, like fresh snow peas or fresh string beans.
I think it says a lot about “good leaves” that a tea produced under such radically different conditions can still produce, in the end, a similarly excellent cup. This is a lot more reasonably priced than most gyukuro, or sincha however.
Another sheng style pu-erh for me from CS. Whoo-hoo! I think I am officially hooked, as if I wasn’t already.
If you have never spent time in a rustic cabin, a very old, rustic cabin, I cannot explain this to you in any meaningful way. There is a way that lumber smells when it spends a lot of time in the sun, and fabric smells when it spends a lot of time exposed to damp nights, and even the way soil and dust smell when they both come from and interact with these warm boards and stones and mildewing fabrics.
That is exactly how these tea smell dry, and wet, and how the liqueur presents in the cup. The dry leaves bring out more of the warm lumber and dust, the wet and the liqueur bring out more of the mildew and wet stone.
This is like drinking camp. And I love it.
This is my first sheng pu-erh. Sheng being the “raw” pu-erh, rather than “fermented” style.
The dry leaf has almost no odor, but there is a faint dark chocolate present.
The wet leaf is extremely pungent and reminds me of a combination of black Cavendish and Syrian Latakia pipe tobaccos.
I rinsed the leaves because they were packed into a bamboo shaft and with such a short steep, I wanted them to open up quickly. I’m trying to do this “right” as a first tasting so that my notes have any value to anyone else.
After a three minute steep, the liquor is a tarnished bronze color. The aroma off the cup is all pu-erh, all earth and loam and damp mornings on the moor.
The flavor of the liqueur is also straight up the middle pu-erh flavors. But I am realizing I haven’t had a decent cup of pu-erh in a long, long time, now. Even my bench mark “aged celestial tribute” pu-erh from Upton is not as flavorful as this cup, and the Omni International (actually Rishi) just doesn’t even come close. But, I’m going to have to bump my Upton ranking down several points now.
There is a note here I cannot put my finger on. I will think of it in about 8 hours, I suspect.
There is also a numbing effect on the tongue, a bit like clove or menthol. The vendor references eucalyptus, so maybe I’ll defer to them and say that’s what it is.
At $18 for 25g this is not weak in the knees expensive, but sadly, I don’t think it can be my every day cup, either. If you enjoy pu-erhs, this is a great one to pick up.
During my early morning quiet time, today, I got a huge hankering for this tea — specifically. There’s something about the balance of an almost Darjeeling quality, almost oolong quality, and the lack of assam keeping it from having too much bite, which makes this tea a marvelously gentle black tea without being thin or wimpy.
It always happens this way, here. We get a day where the humidity is like sludge and then the next day we get a huge storm. Storms are predicted for tomorrow, so hopefully today’s sludge moves on. Meanwhile, light, bright teas keep me sane, and chugging my genmaicha is cheaper than burning through all 100g of Pai Mu Tan in 24 hours.