When I tasted this tea, it was by accident. I meant to grab the shou cha cake from the same year and factory, but picked up the sheng cha by mistake. I prepared the tea as I would any other pu-erh, with a quick 3 second rinse, then a 30-45 second first steep.
The aroma was stark and rich. My first sip assaulted me with astringency that I couldn’t help but think was out of place in, what I thought was, a shou pu-erh. I remember thinking that it didn’t taste like it had been cooked at all. I was definitely entertained later when I realized that I had grabbed the wrong cake and had, indeed, just tasted this raw specimen.
In regular fashion, I prepared further infusions and each successive infusion was milder and less abrasive on the sense with astringency. In the end it was a very pleasant experience. Not what I was planning on tasting at the time, but it did end up providing something of a small challenge for someone such as myself, who is still relatively new to the world of really understanding the tea I’m drinking. In my own way, I won a contest I never knew I was a part of, so it was definitely a victory in the end!