Sipdown! Thanks for sending me a sample of this tea to satisfy my curiousity, Boxermama!
I wasn’t sure how I should go about brewing this (I always entertain notions of properly gong-fu brewing pu’erhs and other fancy teas)… but rationality won out, and I went with Western-style gong-fu, which is more what I usually do (if not strict Western-style). Hence, a full tbsp of leaf in about 8oz. water (instead of 4 oz.), and a 20 second infusion. And no, I didn’t rinse.
First impression? Wow – this sure coloured/flavoured up nicely with such a short infusion! And the taste? Light, a bit spicy and earthy. And now for a momentous occasion… while sipping, I thought to myself “gee, this sure tastes like a sheng. I wonder what type of pu’erh it is?” And sure enough… it’s a sheng! Woaaaah I can differentiate the two major types of pu’erh! What an accomplishment. (Yes, there’s a bit of self-directed sarcasm there.)
Anyhow, as per usual, I really have no other taste descriptors for the flavour. It’s enjoyable, and it reminds me of other shengs, obviously, otherwise I wouldn’t have guessed correctly (or likely thought to guess, for that matter). Providing descriptions for things has always been a weak spot for me; while I do think I am capable of tasting nuances in fancy, expensive, delicious teas, I am incapable of describing them. [I’m the sort of person who picks up on off-flavours in various items quite readily.] It’s kind of annoying, but certainly nowhere close to the top of my current list of annoyances, so perhaps sometime in the distant future when my life no longer belongs to my thesis, SAS, my advisor, the university… I will attempt to remedy this. Until then, you get “tastes like sheng” and “tastes like yabao”. Le sigh.
On that note – my memory for flavours is also rather crappy sometimes, and I can’t remember the last time I had a sheng… and so really couldn’t tell you how this ranks up against others. I do enjoy it though!
ETA: Second infusion 30s, stronger sheng flavour, still with a bit of sweetness. I suppose smoky or leathery might be some good descriptors here.