4 Tasting Notes
Pretty new to pu-erh, including sheng. I’ve never had a tea from Lincang that I knew was from Lincang, have never had a white bud pu-erh, and have not yet had another 2011 pu. Basically, those are the salt-grains one should take along with my review.
Cake itself was fairly loose; I managed to pry out about 10g with my hands alone. The cake appears to be the same pretty leaf inside as on the face. Dry leaf smells slightly sweet, like a white.
Using 5.2g of leaf in a 100ml porcelain gaiwan, with 195F-ish tap water [that I don’t know the composition of]. Gave the tea a 30-sec rinse with hot water.
Wet leaf smells spicy-vegetal-minty in a way I can’t really put my finger on, much less describe. It’s a very strong smell, amazingly different from the taste (the taste carries only the vaguest hint of the spice), and I’m quite bothered that I can’t place it or even decompose it into recognizable elements. Maybe this is what people describe as “medicinal”, though that’s not an association I would make with this tea.
First infusion was ~10sec; very pale yellow liquor. Tastes very slightly dusty, slightly sweet in a white tea sort of way. Found in the centre of my cup, prettily enough, what appeared to be a feather. Very perplexed that I can’t identify the leaf scent.
Second infusion ~20sec; slightly darker yellow liquor; may have overdone it, but if I did, the tea is not punishing me for it. Kind of a sweet minty floral taste — not strongly floral, just a bit. Round flavour; I wouldn’t say buttery, but similar. Still a light dusty note on top. Liquid smells kind of summery. Astringency is hardly present. Pleasant light aftertaste, sweetly floral with hints of wood.
Infusions continue to be ~20sec apiece. Slightly more sheng-style astringency comes out, though not a lot. The previously-observed not-buttery mouthfeel progresses into something I would tentatively describe as “chewy”. Liquor continues to smell and taste sweet; almost like a candy-tea, though not what I would call overwhelmingly sweet, and it does have a sharper dusty-spicy scent on top. This is the strength of sweetness I always hoped to get out of white teas and never managed, so it’s interesting to get it out of a raw pu-erh processed white tea, though I suppose maybe that’s what Norbu means when they say it’s bolder than a normal white tea.
This might be lovely as a dessert tea in any season, being lightly and cleanly sweet with hints of spice and having a clean aftertaste of reasonable lifetime. A very interesting flavour; I’m wondering what will happen if I provide a good aging environment.
Received a sample of this with my order from Norbu, consisting of two roughly 5g chunks. Compression seems quite loose, though I’m no expert. Brewing the first 5g chunk up at work in 100ml porcelain gaiwan — tap water. Temperature unknown, but last measured at 195F.
Rinsed twice at 30sec, resting 20sec in between. Like another reviewer mentioned, the wet leaf does indeed smell like acrid leather, reminiscent of horseback riding as a child. Over subsequent infusions, this smell transforms into slightly sweeter, but remains a clean scent. The brewed liquid smells sweeter.
First infusion is light orangey brown, very little astringency, sweetish aftertaste somewhere between floral and vegetal. Second infusion brings in more of the astringency I’m starting to become used to in sheng, though the mouthfeel remains rounded. Aftertaste is more sweet — actually reminds me of jasmine green. Further infusions remain similar in character. I can’t quite articulate the main flavour, though it is there.
I like this tea a lot — it’s impressive even with the sub-optimal brewing environment (an office kitchen).
Post-brewing leaf dissection reveals mostly smaller to medium leaves, with a few huuuuge (!) leaves mixed in. Fairly stemmy.
Strongly and unmistakably sweet/milky/creamy; I love it, but I can see how it might be offputting to some. Definitely something one has to be in the mood for. I don’t see how it can’t be flavoured, though the milkiness lasts through quite a lot of infusions; I’ve had milk oolongs that were of unknown flavouredness and Taiwanese High Mountain milk oolongs that were definitely not flavoured, and this is nothing like the latter category.
The leaves are still intact; maybe medium to large in size?