2016 Slumbering Dragon

Tea type
Pu'erh Tea
Pu Erh Tea
Bitter, Fruity, Astringent, Bark, Fir, Forest Floor, Sweet, Cream, Sour, Vegetal, Herbs, Pleasantly Sour, Citrus Fruits, Mineral, Citrus, Creamy, Green, Nuts, Pineapple, Sage
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Loose Leaf
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Edit tea info Last updated by Crimson Lotus Tea
Average preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 3 oz / 103 ml

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From Crimson Lotus Tea

This is a rare puerh. Of all the tea we sell this is the hardest to source and the hardest to pick. There is a village in Kunlu Shan that isn’t even on Google maps. Once you’re there you need to hike another 3 kilometers into the mountains to get to these trees. The hike is often steep. You gain 500 meters and it takes more than 3 hours to get there. No one there knows how long the trees have been there or anything about their history. When you ask locals the age they simply reply that they are as old as the earth itself.

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14 Tasting Notes

111 tasting notes

I want more of this tea. It’s outstanding. Glen sent a sample in the spring and I read reviews of how undrinkably bitter it was so I began with cool 75 deg steeps for like 5 seconds and ramping up the time and temp. Using this method I was able to get aggressively bitter tea that was balanced by honeysuckle and apricot flavors. It truly reminds me of a new school west coast IPA. The qi of this tea made me more aware of my surroundings and boosted my creativity while I had a permanent smile. Can’t wait for the 17. If anyone wants to trade some of this I’d be willing as C lotus sold out.

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127 tasting notes

As the 2015 version of the Slumbering Dragon very bitter and wild. Great Tea!
Images and more at https://puerh.blog/teanotes/2016-kunlu-slumbering-dragon-clt

Flavors: Bitter, Fruity

8 g 3 OZ / 80 ML

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89 tasting notes

Slumbering Dragon was powerful, as much as it was bitter. I got amazing body feels from this tea, and even past the bitterness, there was still some pleasant attributes to this tea. It had a velvety-like texture that almost reminded me of white tea and black tea, and had a good underlying flavor profile.

You can read my review here…


185 °F / 85 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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1 tasting notes

Definitely my favourite tea of 2016. Its very bitter, but it has an amazing and unique taste. This bitterness of this tea is a really good thing.

Another plus: I usually find young pu er hard on my stomach, but I never feel that with this tea.

It’s a really special tea – I have never had anything else like it.

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec 8 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

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2960 tasting notes

6-7g leaf (did not weigh it), 93 *C water, brewed in my 155 mL yixing-style pot (not true yixing clay, but an unpolished clay teapot that brews my tea just fine).

Rinse (5 seconds)

Steep 1: 7 seconds (way too long, had to dilute it half and half)
Extremely bitter, but smells amazing. No fungus or storage flavour, but way too bitter to be enjoyable.

Steep 2: 3 seconds
Extremely bitter, but also notes of sweetness and lots of tea flavour/tannins. I find this quite drying in my mouth due to its astringency.

Steep 3: 3 seconds
Still bitter, less in your face bold and a bit more mellowed

Steep 4: 3 seconds
Nice clean raw pu’erh taste, a bit of lemon rind, notes of pine bark and forest floor. How do people drink/enjoy this? Still bitter, I’m not doing to keep going because I don’t do bitter teas. I gave it a try, but it isn’t going to happen. I hate how the bitterness lingers as a strong aftertaste.

Flavors: Astringent, Bark, Bitter, Fir, Forest Floor, Sweet

200 °F / 93 °C 6 g 5 OZ / 140 ML

I’ve recently been craving the strong bitter sheng with lingering taste, I’ll have to give this one a go


This tea is quite the bitter bomb. It reminds me of yesheng.


If I had any more, I’d send it to your Rasseru! I guess I didn’t realize this tea was going to be bitter. I’m sure Crimson Lotus makes amazing teas and this one is also great, but it is one of those niche flavours where most people aren’t going to enjoy it. The actual flavour was fantastic, but I couldn’t get over the bitterness.

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98 tasting notes

The amroma of the dry leaves is heavenly! Smells almost of marzipan it’s so sweet. Maybe that’s just the holidays. Think candied plums, peaches, apples and dates. Awesome!
Wet leaves smell a bit more vegetal but the fruity sweet notes are still very upfront.

Steep/Time: Notes
1/5s: What an odd first steep! Highly vegetal with a bitter finish yet the taste of fruit is very apparent while the tea is in the mouth. Interesting mouth feel too. More body than I’d expect on the first cup. Still, the bitterness is very upfront. Perhaps too much leaf in my little pot or too many broken leaves? What’s weird is how sweet the tea is in the mouth to end so bitter. It’s just about the exact opposite of what I’d expect with a sheng. I had enough tea for just under a half cup so I topped it off with hot water and got something more along the lines of what I was expecting by way of vegetal broth with fruit soaked in. Clean crisp finish. Lets see how later steeps go.

2/3s: Vegetal, sweet, oddly fruity, with a bitter finish. Pretty much a flash steep.

3/5s: That bitter note is agressive and persistent. Taste otherwise the same.

4/3s: Bitter, sour, vegetal, fruity. Sooo damn weird. The interesting thing is if you cut with water you get something that’s actually quite good. Makes me feel like I used too much leaf. Cut with water it becomes quite palatable with the sour taste receding the bitter note softening into something almost pleasant.

5-8: Same as steep 3. Just taking the bitter head on.

9/5s: Just doesn’t quit with the bitter/sour notes. A tad more manageable at this point. Cha qi is a nice punch in the face though.

10/5s: Same as previous

11/8s: Vegetal note peaking back in over the bitter/sour note. Sour is more noticable than the bitter

12/10s: Guess the leaves were just waking up on that previous steep. Bitter note back up front, but better blended with the sour and vegetal notes.

13/10s: Hmm… bit of sweetness showing up in the mix of bitter, sour and vegetal.

14/12s: Sour note is tapering off, bitter still very present. Vegetal note will blended, but I’m also picking up a bit of fruit in the background.

15/12s: So obviously this tea has lasting power. Also great qi as 5 steeps in I’m feeling it again. Bitter and sweet mixed throughout, even at the back of the throat and in the aftertaste. Vegetal and fruit notes still present. What an interesting tea.

16/14s: Wow, sticking it out pays off, LOL! Sweetness has finally overtaken the bitterness in the mouth. The sweetness lingers on the tip of the tongue, but mid way back to the back of the throat the bitterness is prominent. Still about to pick out the sour note in the background

17/14s: Ok, this would be the first up of this tea that I can say tastes good. Only a tiny taste of bitterness and no sourness detectible. Sweetness is now upfront and the taste leans more fruity than vegetal. Qi felt in the head, sort of relaxed but energized and very alert.

18/16s: Fruity note is upfront now. Still bitter at the back of the throat, but less so. Vegetal note has mellowed to something almost hay like. No sour notes apparent now. Probably need to push the next steep to get more flavor.

19/22s: More mellow but similar to the previous. Really quick drop off there. I’ll push the steep time a bit more.

20/30s: A bit more vegetal and the bitterness is up just a touch. I think the leaves are done here. One more for fun.

21/35s: Oh there’s a mouth full of bitter and fruit! LOL! At this point I can’t decide if it’s a good or bad thing, but the qi is definitely up.

22/45s: Man, gotta love having the mind of an experimenter. Decided to take this a step further. Moved the tea leaves from my 90mL teapot to my 300mL teapot with the thought that it would better allow the leaves to expand and might give up a bit more flavor and perhaps a different flavor profile. The taste is now brighter though there is a small amount of lingering bitterness in the aftertaste. The most noticable difference is the mouthfeel. Previously it was very dry, almost puckering to the mouth. Now it has a very creamy sort of feel. More sweetness at the tip of the tongue too. Still has a very dry finish. And man does that bump the cha qi WAY up! Of course that may be because I’m downing 300mL pretty quickly, LOL! Much more palatable here though some of that likely has to do with being so

23/90s: Fruit and vegatal notes are gone. Tastes more of hay. Sweetness has mellowed, but for the first time is more prominent than the bitter note. Not much left in the leaves at this point.

I REALLY wanted to like this tea, but the bitter/sour notes in early steepings was just too overwhelming and completely contrary to the sweet, fruity aroma of the leaves.

The early steeps of this tea seem to be on a mission to disprove the notion that you wouldn’t know bitter if it slapped you in the face because it walks up and introduces itself by slapping you in the face. Hard.

If I had more of this tea I’d spend a bit of time playing around with water temp and the amount of leaf to use , but as it stands I’ll be setting this one aside for a couple of years to see how it evolves. It’s quite possible that the very things that make it unpalatable now will make it amazing in a few years.

Flavors: Bitter, Cream, Sour, Sweet, Vegetal

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 3 OZ / 90 ML

You ran the course on this one. I think with some age this will mellow out. I don’t think I have hardly touched the 15’s I have from themyet. Might be time to check them out a bit.


Nice thorough notes you got there. It sounds like quite a ride!


@mrmopar Yeah, I try to always respect the leaves. :) I’ve had teas that started out rough and ended amazing so I always want to do my do diligence. That said, I think in a year or so it’d be really interesting to sample this one again. This is the first sheng that I’ve had that fit some of the harsher descriptions of what a young sheng can be.


@tanluwils Thanks! It most certainly was! I like taking notes per steep because I can get a better sense of a tea’s complexity if there’s any to be had as different tastes and notes show up throughout a session. Just dawned on me that it could be hell for anyone reading through all that much, but there’s nothing wrong with skimming, LOL!


Brilliant review and pretty accuratly mirros my first session with this tea. On my 2nd run i then tried to steep at 80 – 85°C which helped a lot. The bitterness still takes center stage but isn’t as in your face anymore and gives some room for more of the fruity and sweet notes which makes it much more palatable. Also i found that even though it got this overwhelming bitterness when drinking, the lingering aftertaste is actually quite pleasant and leaves you craving for more.


@nebu78 I will try a lower temperature next time and perhaps 1g less on the leaves. All part of the process. _ I have an unbelievable amount of tea to go through so I figure I’d let it rest a bit.

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106 tasting notes

So… the dried leaf is interesting looking, quite dark and speckled in color. The aroma is not very distinct, but different. Wet leaf is even more vibrantly hued and a strongly unusual aroma of some herb I can’t identify and a powdery smell. O…kay. Well, that’s certainly new, let’s try some!

Starts off predominately citrus with a strong creaminess that is both texture and taste. I’ve heard pineapple notes in reference to this tea, and I can see that, although without the sharp acidic tang flavor I characterize the fruit with. By the 3-4 steeps, the milk/cream flavor is getting stronger, almost cloying, and lingers heavily throughout. The tea seems to begin to commit to those predominant sour fruit and cream flavors more heavily, removing a lot of the muddled flavors I couldn’t identify at the very start that made me lean toward pineapple, save for an odd herbal aftertaste/body, maybe some mix of basil and something else. A mineral sweetness blooms behind the dairy, but I can’t get over that weird sour, curdled milk taste that I am NOT digging at all.

It’s not very bitter or astringent despite that sourness, so eventually, I cranked up the heat to boiling in a bit of a desperate attempt to somehow get rid of that flavor/flavor combination by later steeps (somewhere around 6-8) after consulting with other people who have had a better time of this than I was. Success! The seriously “off” milk taste and texture is now gone, at least, with that predominant sour citrus lemon taste remaining and sharpening, giving room to a nice throat feel and a more center stage for the sweet mineral flavors that swiftly follow. The cream is still detectable as it blends with the herb aftertastes, but is more of a lingering memory that it was there and much harder to discern, which is completely fine by me.

All in all, this tea was a bit of a ride for me, and leaves me a bit torn. It is complex, unique, and very different from anything else I’ve ever had with many interesting feels and taste transitions that wow-ed me, but at 205 F, the predominant taste to me was almost exactly like my childhood memories of pouring cream AND squeezed lemon into my complimentary watery hotel tea, resulting in a pretty disgusting cup of curdled milk-lemon-tea-ish something which I drank anyway because I was seven and it was my own creation, goshdangit.

Perhaps it was my water. Perhaps it was the brewing parameters. It’s generous, but I was definitely getting to the tail end of the steeps when I made the change to hotter water, so I feel a bit of regret I didn’t have that idea sooner. I think I’ll have to try this again with the hotter water from the get go before I really form an opinion one way or another on the taste, but so far, was not a fan.

It does have a nice qi though, in my opinion, although not the stoner kind that I’m used to in a lot of strong sheng, more chatty and aware and pleasantly… acutely observant feeling, which was nice, as I like to be able to walk around and do things after tea. I do suspect it to be quite a strong effect, though, as it shucked off the limoncello buzz I had going before starting this tea like peeling off a layer of onion before wrapping me in its own special warmth of emotion and clarity that I quite enjoyed, despite being unable to really fully process it.

Flavors: Citrus Fruits, Cream, Herbs, Mineral, Sour, Sweet

205 °F / 96 °C 7 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

I’m having this one now and the bitter/sour note is killing me. The qi is good, but man!


Heh, yeah, the sour on this one was real strong. I wonder what a milk tea made of this would taste like… :P

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149 tasting notes

I was not expecting to get tea drunk off of this.

Crimson Lotus Tea

The energy in that one can sneak up on you.


i got super buzzed last night. whew

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16 tasting notes

Dear GOD this is an incredible tea. One of my goddamn favorites from the batch of 2016 stuff, that’s for damn sure.

This is a wild tea. It’s definitely in the same bitterness family as a lot of purple puerh. But, while purple stuff was one of my first loves, a lot of the times it’s just big and fun and dumb. Like: fat satisfying bitter warmth, but not much evolve.

This stuff on the other hand: this is the magic stuff. This is the real goddamn deal. This huge central bitterness that just emanates weird life, radiating this ever-changing tentacles of sweet and vegetal and other stuff.

It’s interesting – it’s a very different bitter than the Lao Man E’s I’ve been drinking. The Lao Man E’s tend to have this more rubber/quinine note, quite distinctive, that rides over and above the more conventional puerh vegetal flavors. This stuff, on the other hand: the bitter is the center. Everything is connected to the bitter. Everything binds into and comes from the bitter.

Also: this is brain-zap tea. I was intending to actually, you know, get some work done, and instead ended up basically collapsed, draped over the side of my couch, blasting the new Frank Ocean album, joyously zonked. This is MASSIVE tea. This is tea to put into your skull and blast some thick, textured tunes to.

I kept texting my wife while I was drinking it. “Oh shiiiiit.” “Oh this is legit.” “Holy crap… THIS TEA.”

Also, weirdly, underneath, elegant. Something about the texture and overall… cleanness… reminds me of the ultra-delicate W2T Last Thoughts.

Anyway: thank you Crimson Lotus people. This is the real stuff. You have brought a new kind of joy into my life.

Crimson Lotus Tea

Great review! Thank you. :-D

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19 tasting notes

A very powerful tea. If you brew this with >5g/100mL with flash steeping you’re in for a bitter and sour brew – which for me was enjoyable! Underneath the bitterness and astringency is a lot of aroma, with tonnes of fruit and floral notes, very complex and enjoyable. The aroma notes come through in a strong sweet and sour aftertaste that lingers and lingers. Underpinning all of this is a full body, a little oily and some mineral notes. The tea will go on and on, getting slowly but surely sweeter and fruitier as time passes.

Finally the qi, strong and warm, I felt like I was wrapped in cotton wool, high as a kite and happy as Larry :)

A tea that can be enjoyable now, if you’re into this sort of thing, or I think a worthy ageing investment :)

5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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