19 Tasting Notes
Many thanks to David, Weiwei, and the rest of Verdant Tea for such a delicious sample. I was initially greeted by jasmine. A nice surprise! But, then there was apricot, which combines well with the jasmine to add just a slight hint of vanilla. Touches of hard wood and honeysuckle ballances things out nicely, and crafts a very smooth and lingering aftertaste.
This is a truely remarkable tea. There is absolutely no bitterness to speak of. It tastes more like a oolong than a black, but with a stronger flavor and aroma. It reminds me of Big Red Robe, and other Wuyi mountain oolongs. There is also a slight bean flavor. It’s like roasted soy nuts, only without the bitterness. Could it be from the fertilizer? One of my biggest complaints with oolong is that it’s flavor is a little too light, for my tastes. This tea is a perfect alternative for anybody seeking a stronger flavor and aroma, but without the typical bitterness found in other black teas. It combines the best of both worlds, and would be an excellent way to begin any day.
I was actually pretty excited to try this one. I must admit, it’s lighter than I expected. Still, quite complex. There’s a little honey suckle. Some definate floral, fruity, tangyness. Sandlewood. The finish is actually a little bitter. I recommend a second wash. Maybe a slightly cooler water temp, as well. 2nd & 3rd steeps: Less wood, more floral, finish is still a bit bitter. I’m not sure about this one. The woodsy and floral notes are pronounced, and that’s great. But, it could stand to be a bit sweeter, by my standards. Also, it’s a little drying. Perhaps, I’m just not in a oolong mood, today?
I like this shu better than the nuggets. It’s less sedimenty, and more smooth. This tastes more like a beverage, and less like dirt. I don’t know if other folks would enjoy it, if they like the sediment flavor, but I prefer it. It’s very smooth, and light, but flavorful. The color is a very nice redish-brown. 1st & 2nd steeps: The flavor is like old wood. It makes me wonder if it was keep around rotten wood, or something. Not at all bitter. Just rotten old wood. 3rd steep: Old wood, and now leather. No more sediment, at all. Just lots of leather. Like chewing on an old belt. 4th steep (slightly cooler temp): Strangely, sediment is makin a come-back. Leather is fading. Less everything. I’ll have to use higher temp, next. 5th: Lighter flavor, but the leather taste is back. This one feels flatter, and less tangy. I think the water might be getting stale. It’s time to replenish the kettle, anyhow. 6th: Wood and leather are stronger, again. Sorta tangy, too. The aroma is getting a bit smokey. It’s not quite like sheng, though. 7th: I increased the temp a little, and the steep time a lot. The flavor is hanging in there. It’s still wood and leather, though. No new developements, except in the after-taste. It’s like portabello mushrooms, and was rather brief. 8th: Steeped at boiling for 2.5 mins. More of the same, and I’m bored. Over-all, I’m glad I tried this one. There was no fishy odor, and the sediment was minimal. This is a very smooth and approachable shu. Although, it was a little one-dimensional, to me. I enjoyed it, but I wouldn’t get too excited about having it again. However, if my goal were to drink shu on a regular basis, and I wanted to avoid anything gross. This would be an excellent choice. Although, I doubt it would keep me interested for long.
EDIT: Oh! I forgot to mention that I was doing double steepings. So actually, I drank around 16 steepings. By double steepings, I mean that I was steeping once into my cup, and again into my pitcher, and counting that as one steeping, but it’s in fact two. Sorry for the confusion.
This has the most amazing aroma. I only wish it tasted a bit more like it smells. It really is quite good, but I guess I’m used to sencha. One thing I found distinctly remarkable is that I was getting that tangy-sweet flavor in later steepings, simluar to that experienced in later steepings of sheng. It was definately intriguing. The smell, alone, is by far one of the best aromas I’ve ever encountered. I tried it western-style length, in gaiwan, and it was definately too strong. Therefore, I might’ve liked it better had I not over-done it.
Being my first shu, I can’t really rate this by any measure, other than my general impressions. I have to admit, to me, this actually tastes simular to a dark roasted oolong, or black tea, except that it has an earthy, sedimenty… something. I wasn’t sure I’d enjoy it when I first smelled it. But thankfully, it doesn’t taste like it smells. I can deffinately see why it’s an aquired taste. Although, I do find it enjoyable. I can totally see why people like shu. Again, I can’t vouch for this one in particular, being my first. However, I can say that I like it. I chose it as my first, mainly because it was sent as a sample in a plastic baggy and exposed to the light. So, I worried about its shelf life. Also, I figured it would be the least popular out of all the shu samples I received, and I didn’t want to spoil myself, and give it a prejudiced rating. I never read anyone else’s ratings, or reviews, and so I can’t compare it to what other people’ve said. I thought I’d go the unbiased route with all of my samples from Verdant. As good as this one is, I’m looking forward to trying the others. If they’re any better, then I’m certain I’ll enjoy them, too.
I loved this tea! I received it as a sample from Verdant Tea. Thanks David! This is a relatively green tieguanyin, and not bitter, at all. It’s robustly floral, creamy and sweet. Not thinking, I used boiling water, and so I didn’t make it to 30 steeps (It was a long day, and I was pretty brain dead). However, it didn’t hurt a thing, and it was still quite excellent, and not bitter, at all. In fact, there was a distinct evergreen, sort of pine, flavor and aroma. It was most delicious, and a big part of why I rated this so high. After a dozen or so steepings, the floral and evergreen flavors started to taper-off, and the sweet, creamy flavor began to take center stage. After 15 or so, this started to take on more of a classical tieguanyin flavor. It’s very clean and smooth, and the beautiful color really held on, well into the later steepings. The sweetness lingers in my mouth, and keeps it watering. I can totally see this becoming a favorite!
Wow! Now, this being my first pu-erh, I was a little nervous, because so many times people say that it’s an acquired taste. What are they smoking? This is awesome! I liked it right away. It has a brisk, oolong-like, taste. It has very appealing color, too. It’s sort of blush, like apple cider. In earlier steepings, I noticed a faint earthy, sort of mushroom-like, background. It wasn’t musty, though. It was still sweet, and floral. I can sort of taste the sweet tobacco flavor, too, but it doesn’t have that sharp bite. It’s very smoothe. In mid-later steepings, just when I thought it was done, judging by the lighter color, it was not giving up! In fact, it took on a honey, raisin-like flavor that is soooo good. It’s now taking on an even more floral, plum, tangy, somewhat citrus, flavor. It just keeps getting better! I can probably push it even further, still. I guess, we shall see. ::sip sip:: mmmm
So, I got to around 20 or so steepings (lost count), and the flavor is still there. I have to steep so long the water cools, now. That’s my fault, however, because I’m not very skilled at gongfu cha, yet. Some of my steepings were too long, and tasted slightly bitter. I was over-focused on the color. Now, that I know that it’s OK for it to lighten, and it’ll still pack a flavorful punch, I think I probably could’ve managed 30+ steepings out of this. I’ll have to chalk that up to live and learn, I spoze. Definitely worth the experimentation! Plus, there’s still plenty left. This is a very delicious, and flavorful tea. I totally enjoy it better than oolong.
The only thing missing in the experience, is that intense cleansing, centering feeling I get from drinking sencha. It’s more fun, though. Due to the fact that it requires so many steepings, and some skill, I can’t call it the perfect tea. The perfect sheng pu-erh, however? Definitely maybe. Even though, I haven’t experienced anything else to compare it to, I can’t imagine it being any better.