I was very excited to try this tea. Doubly so, because I was going to debut my new sesame duanni teapot from Yunnan Sourcing to make this tea! No other sheng would do to break it in. It’s a bit on the large side for solo drinking (5ish oz with leaves in) but given how fantastic this tea was, it was hardly an issue drinking all the deliciousness over two days.
So 6g to 5oz at 212F, each steep around two seconds. Later steeps closer to 4 seconds. Made it to steep 8 on the first day, steep 17 on the second. I feel like the leaves had more to give even then. I gave the leaves a brief 5sec rinse at boiling before starting all of this.
The dry leaf smelled sheng-y to me. I’m a bit ashamed to say that I don’t know what else to make of that scent. Maybe with some experience I’ll have more to say about that. Wet, I picked up some tobacco smell from the leaves, which again, I tend to think of as “sheng-y”. There’s a whisper of mulled spices. It’s amazing how much the leaves expanded after the the rinse. From a compressed little clump, to endless, big leaves inside my pot. I love it.
My first impression, drinking the first few steeps, is how amazingly thick the tea is. It just coats your tongue and your throat, and it’s the most gorgeous mouthfeel ever. I was getting a tingling sensation over the tip of my tongue. I’m not certain I got the taste of mole, but there was a definite spiciness that reminded me of white pepper. Near the end of the flavour arc, I’m positive I tasted sesame seed candy. So sweet, so delightful!
By the middle steeps, starting around 6 or 7, the tingling had faded out, as had the sesame taste. At this point, my vocabulary fails me. The closest I can get to articulating the experience, is a dark and deeply nuanced older sibling to a chinese green tea. Astringent, darkly tangy, and then fading into an intense and never-ending aftertaste of grapefruit that reminds me intensely of the Sun Dried Jingshan’s aftertaste.
Then finally, in the last few steeps, a thick buttery sweetness. Definitely cinnamon-esque, though a lot more delicate. Maybe closer to a glass of almond milk with some cinnamon and nutmeg sprinkled across the top. So soothing, so energizing, so delicious. I’m so glad I have loads in my cupboard! I think this is the beginning of a beautiful (tea) friendship.
(PS – I suspect the rating will climb as my palate learns a bit more about puerh.)