Method: Gongfucha with 8 grams of leaf to 140 ml of water with a quick rinse in a Zisha Pot
(The Pour speed of the pot used is ~5 seconds, so subtract 5 seconds from the time to get the actual steeping time.)
The Leaf of the cake is yellow-ish. It’s not sickly looking, just an interesting turn of color from the grey-ish greens that I usually find in Sheng Puerh (possibly because this is an Autumn harvest, but I’m not really sure). The dry leaf smells smokey, with light touches of honey. After sitting in my preheated pot, however, it changes to become more honey scented.
1st Steep (10 seconds): The Color is a honey-yellow, which I expect will darken in the steepings to come. The liquor Smells unambiguously like honey with a touch of smoke; it’s sweet, but has that slight smokey bite to it. The Taste is very light and sweet, which I do not think will last (I probably should have rinsed this twice or infused a bit longer). The Aftertaste, even though I probably under-brewed this, is thick in comparison to the taste, with a lingering honey taste.
2nd Steep (15 seconds); The Color has a good bit more orange. The Smell is an interesting melange of honey and smoke. The Taste is still incredibly light, which is very surprising in the world of Sheng. There’s not much of an Aftertaste, unless you want to count a slight lingering honey in the back of the throat.
3rd Steep: (25 seconds): I doubled the idling time! The Color has gotten a touch more orange, which is nice, I’d like to get some flavors other than weak honey from this. The Smell still has that interesting “smoked honey” scent on it. The Taste has gotten more interesting. There’s a fruit presence now which is aided by the sweet tones of honey. The Aftertaste is on the middle of the tongue, but it’s flavors are still fairly muted, just a lingering sweetness, not bad, but not too impressive either.
4th Steep (35 Seconds): Ten more seconds! Color still looks nice, holding up. I must admit, the color is more orange than this tea’s year of age would attest to. The Scent is still nice, but hasn’t gotten any more complex. The taste is like fruit that has been put in a smoke-house for a minute or two, it’s not too weak, but’s again, it’s not too impressive. The Aftertaste is clean, but that’s about all that can be said for it.
5th Steep (50 Seconds): The Color is still that nice orange. The Smell hasn’t changed noticeably. The taste is just weak at this point. Not really an Aftertaste.
Bonus Round!: (3 minutes at boiling!): Color’s a bit darker. Smell is strong (comparatively). Taste is more interesting. Fruity, smokey, honey-ey(?), with some slight bitterness int he background. THIS is what I wanted!
Summary: This is a light and smooth tea, but for a Sheng puerh, it’s unbearably delicate. If someone wants something smooth for just occasional drinking, this would be okay, but I can’t really recommend this. If a beginner wanted an introduction to Sheng, there are far more representative selections out there for almost the same price ($22 USD).
I will be trying this again in a month or two. I will admit that the Zisha that I used is young (possibly too young to make great tea) and is also un-seasoned, possibly a mistake(?).