Apparently, a year ago I steeped 2g of leaf about 10 times. Today I only had time for 2 mugs. First had that in your face metallic sheng thing going while this was very hot. It pretty much disappeared as it cooled. It was replaced by a creamy sweetnes that bordered on syrup. Yes I added sweetener but not enough to explain this. It was kind of honey and caramel flavor. The second cup was not as enjoyable. It was sort of bland. Wish I had time for a third to see if it came back to life.
A really rough day mentally at work but I arrived home to find three packages of tea sent to me for review. Yep, the end of the day was much better than the start.
An ‘old tree’ tea. I have been trying to drink my teas with the shorter shelf life first but I just needed puerh today. It’s been a long time since I steeped this one. Maybe two spoons of leaf (almost filled the scoop that came with the French Press). Boiled the water then decided to let it cool a bit before pouring. I steeped just over a minute. Did not do a rinse. The wet leaf has a tiny amount of seaweed smell but mostly it has the aroma of a mild green. This is still a young tea and the leaf is mostly green in color. The first cup is very mild. The main characteristics are a side tongue tingle, a bit of a metallic taste, and a thick mouth feel. Otherwise it is a very mild sheng with no nasties attached. Halfway through the first cup my tummy is singing the hallelujah chorus.
Second cup I decided to use the boiling water and steeped two minutes. The liquor is amber/green and not inky black like a shu. The leaf is a bit vegetal now but the brew hints at earthy. More flavors in the sip but they are all subtle. Metallic taste is gone, replaced by mild earth, mushroom, and maybe my imagination but a hint of smoke. Flavors intensify as the cup cools but never overwhelm. This even suggests it would develop some leather notes if it were allowed to age properly. That’s not going to happen as I have only enough left for one more adventure. Maybe I can stall it months but it definitely won’t be years. I may never know what aged sheng tastes like as I like the young stuff entirely too much to wait.
Third cup of the morning is the best yet. I will be drinking on this leaf the rest of the day, maybe longer.
10th and final steep. 7m, boiling water. Queue fireworks and thunderous applause. I’m stopping, I’m stopping. I have 8g of this left and 4 others to try. Pretty sure a brick of this stuff would last me a lifetime. I am impressed. The last cup still had a lot of good flavor in it but I’m quitting. I’m quitting. O sweet leaf, I miss thee already. Oddly, before steeping I noticed the leaf is back to brown and it has taken on the most unusual flowery scent. Good ending. Can’t wait to read other’s experience with this tea.
I just noticed the tea info says 2010. I am pretty sure I entered this as 2011 but maybe I messed up?
6th steep. 50s, boiling water. Never have got a hint of bitterness and nothing that I would consider grassy. Increasing the time helped. The clarity in the press is still very good. I only used about 2g of tea, I am on my 6th cup and this stuff shows no signs of giving up. In fact I think this is the earthiest cup yet and this is a good earthy, not fish tanky. I am impressed. This is probably the last steep of the day. Tomorrow I will start again where I left off. I have to know how far this tea will go.
4th steep. 40s, boiling water. I noticed the third steep left some grit on the sides of the press. Next time I do a rinse I need to remember to stir the leaf a bit before pouring it off. This cup is close in taste to the third cup. I am digging this. I just realized it has lost the pungent earthiness of the first couple cups and replaced it with mellow. This is probably what I was noticing in the third cup.
9th steep. 4m, boiling water. Ok its getting weak again, so I should stop while I am still enjoying it. Almost tempted to go the 10th steep just to get to 100oz out of 2g of tea leaf. More tea and less steeps might have given a more intense experience but I am really pleased with the results as I have done it.
8th steep. 2m, boiling water. Remember I am using a 10oz mug. If I were using a 6oz cup this would be the 13th steep. Increased steep time helped. This is similar to yesterday’s last steep but mellower. Just figured out what that syrupiness reminds me of – ever bought potato chips prepared with fat free Olean? Yeah, its that sticky feeling on your lips.
7th steep. Day 2. 1m, boiling water. Last night I drained all the liquid that I could, spread the leaf out on the bottom of the press, and covered. I worried how it would survive the night without me. After steeping, the leaf still looks good and smells like veggies. The liquor is clear amber. Waiting for the water to cool is killing me. I need my fix. Please, no interventions. I like the monkey on my back. First sip, aaaahhhh, sweet release. Just as I left you, my precious. Actually, it’s a touch weak. I’ll have to up the steep time! I also notice it still feels syrupy.
5th steep. 40s, boiling water. Think I need to bump up the steeping time. This is light like the first cup. Still a ton of flavor. Back to earthy but not pungent. Or it could just be the smoked pork I had for lunch cleansed the palette of the salsa taste from last night. Man my wife got it oniony – but sure was good.
3rd steep. 35s, boiling water. Leaf more vegative smelling. Brew gets a little darker each time but still amber. Best cup yet, but I really can’t explain how it is different from the last except to say it is smoother and fuller. Interesting. Oh, and the caffeine is beginning to make me jittery. How do you people do 10 cups a day?
2nd steep. 30s, boiling water. Now I detect the aroma of spinach in the leaf. The brown is gone – all green now. There is a slight film on top the cup. The flavor is more even, pronounced, and complex. Still very smooth with a heavy dose of earthiness. No grass. No bitterness.