I may need therapy … I’m developing an unusual obsession with this tea. There are about 75 Pu-Erh selections in my stash if you count samples, and I keep coming back to this. I’ve had the bing for two weeks and it’s nearly half gone.
I bought this in my quest for a reasonably priced every-day shu. I have numerous other ones that range from acceptable to pretty good, but this one continues to stand out.
It’s color starts as a dark red-brown, moving through coffee-color, then into the ruby red range over 6 or 8 steeps. It’s always been clear, never cloudy. There is a powerful sweetness in the aroma starting with pralines, moving through raw cane sugar and into brown sugar, which accompanies a scent of shiitake mushrooms. Flavors of cedar and leather are underscored by a strong sweetness that ties them together very nicely, and the flavors vary in prominence over the steeps. A delightful citrus note makes an appearance in the middle steeps. A hint of spice in early steeps gives way to pepper in later ones. There is a liveliness on the tongue in the aftertaste. I find this flavor profile to be amazing in such an inexpensive shu!
I’ve tried various leaf quantities and steep times, but have settled on 6 grams to 100 ml water, one 20 second wash, then letting it sit for two minutes to allow the tea to open up. I use steep times of 15 / 10 / 15 / 15 / 15 / … seconds until the flavor starts to fade around steep 7, then either lengthen the steep time significantly or dump the leaves into the iced tea container in the fridge.
I’ve over-leafed this by 20% with good results when I want an even stronger flavor profile. Doing so introduces a pleasant bitter note to the mix.
To use a dating analogy, I have some fine sheng and shu varieties that are like that best girl you would take out to dinner on a Saturday night. But when it’s Wednesday and you just want to have a great time with the girl next door over bowling and pizza, this is the one I keep turning to.