59

I bought a sample of this tea because of all of the hype over Xi-Zhi-Hao on Jas-eTea. I wanted to try what many others were calling the best Sheng out there. This one is younger (2007) but considering several of the highest end bricks I have are that young, I figured this one would be old enough to try.

The sample is a nice loose compression with big arbor buds and leaves. Very nice visually! I had high hopes for this brick. I am using 5 grams of leaf material and around 200 degree water on this one. There really isn’t all that much to say about this tea to be honest. What I did recognize right away is that it is not offensive. Usually with sheng pu’er of this age you will get something unbearably drying and smokey right from the start. This tea tries to steer clear of any of that. It doesn’t necessarily want to say anything however. With some sheng of even higher quality than this one you will get something that is not only non-offensive but also minutely complex and interesting.

This one is not.

By steeping 3 the classic “Sheng” flavor of smoke and a common astringency start to creep in. But overall I would actually say that this is a better sheng than probably 80% of what I’ve tried. Not really worth investing money in a brick but certainly wasn’t a bad experience.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec
Spoonvonstup

Do you think this would have the potential to grow into something interesting? Or is it just sweet and flat? If there’s really nothing there and it’s boring, I wonder what all the hype is about- just “super acceptable!” sort of thing?

the_skua

Funny, I think the 2008 pressing of this tea is outstanding. Interesting to see that perhaps the 2007 is not all that great.

Nathaniel Gruber

Hmm, good question. Honestly, I wouldn’t buy a brick of this to age simply because there are better options out there. As you said, I was amazed at how flat the tea was. I thought that with something touted as being some of the best Sheng available in this country that it would have more complexity than it did.

In a weird way I am almost happier with a much much cheaper brick of Sheng which is much smokier. It’s as if it’s better that something is going on rather than nothing, even though the cheaper one has that classic Sheng smoke.

Nathaniel Gruber

Hmm the 2008 must have been a better year.

It’s not as though this tea was bad by any means. A 59 rating is really high above average for me. I think that perspective for each of us individually is important as well…for example; had I not had a couple of my best Sheng’s earlier in the day I probably would have thought this brick to be better than I did. I had the Artisian Stone Pressed Sheng by Verdant Tea earlier in the day, so I think that my palate was a little bit skewed. Perhaps if I drank this for the first time after not having Sheng for a week it would taste better.

the_skua

Every day, every tea is different than every other day you’ve ever brewed it.

Nathaniel Gruber

I couldn’t agree more, and I find that to be particularly true with Pu’er. Luckily, the best stuff might change but usually in a good way.

Chad

I would say that it’s unfortunate, if this really has no smokey drying quality, as that is one of my personal favorite qualities known to this style. Why anybody would NOT want that totally escapes me.

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Spoonvonstup

Do you think this would have the potential to grow into something interesting? Or is it just sweet and flat? If there’s really nothing there and it’s boring, I wonder what all the hype is about- just “super acceptable!” sort of thing?

the_skua

Funny, I think the 2008 pressing of this tea is outstanding. Interesting to see that perhaps the 2007 is not all that great.

Nathaniel Gruber

Hmm, good question. Honestly, I wouldn’t buy a brick of this to age simply because there are better options out there. As you said, I was amazed at how flat the tea was. I thought that with something touted as being some of the best Sheng available in this country that it would have more complexity than it did.

In a weird way I am almost happier with a much much cheaper brick of Sheng which is much smokier. It’s as if it’s better that something is going on rather than nothing, even though the cheaper one has that classic Sheng smoke.

Nathaniel Gruber

Hmm the 2008 must have been a better year.

It’s not as though this tea was bad by any means. A 59 rating is really high above average for me. I think that perspective for each of us individually is important as well…for example; had I not had a couple of my best Sheng’s earlier in the day I probably would have thought this brick to be better than I did. I had the Artisian Stone Pressed Sheng by Verdant Tea earlier in the day, so I think that my palate was a little bit skewed. Perhaps if I drank this for the first time after not having Sheng for a week it would taste better.

the_skua

Every day, every tea is different than every other day you’ve ever brewed it.

Nathaniel Gruber

I couldn’t agree more, and I find that to be particularly true with Pu’er. Luckily, the best stuff might change but usually in a good way.

Chad

I would say that it’s unfortunate, if this really has no smokey drying quality, as that is one of my personal favorite qualities known to this style. Why anybody would NOT want that totally escapes me.

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I am a lover of everything good. Rivers, fields, plains, forests, lakes, mountains, valleys, deserts – people, tea, beer, cheese, wine. But mainly, more than anything, I love God. None of these other things are worth a cent without Him.

P.S. If you’re ever in Milwaukee and looking for someone to drink tea with for an afternoon, don’t hesitate to send a message.

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