I had three gongfu sessions with their sample. This review is based off of all three, mostly the last one. Brewed with a ceramic gaiwan. 10 second rinse. Steeping times are from the second and third sessions: 6 seconds, 10, 10, 12, 12, 15, 15, 15, 18, 20, 25, 30, 45, 60, 90; 2 minutes, 4, 8.
I paid more than usual attention to the aromas for this sheng. I didn’t think it would change so much over the course of two months. After I broke the seal and opened the packet, I left the remainder of what I took out inside. It’s been warm and dry in the house. The aroma of the dry leaf as soon as I opened the packet was buttery and vegetal. After the rinse, the leaf smelled of apricot, and then the wet leaf aroma had green grass and white sugar. One month later, there was vanilla and lemongrass in the dry leaf, blackberry preserves in the rinse aroma, and lastly apricot – followed by vegetal and smoky notes later – in the wet leaf aroma. By the third session, two months later, the dry leaf aroma offered vanilla cake batter and apricots. Smelling the wet leaf directly – apricot preserves. The underside of the gaiwan lid – citrus and vanilla. Of course, I had to move on to the real show as soon as the water came to a boil.
Crimson Lotus gives the name imagining that the “tea trees were close enough to hear the gentle voice of the sun.” The sheng produced from these trees seems to be the one that whispers. The liquor (very pale yellow) has a very light feel in the mouth, akin to Silver Needles. Gentle, pleasant, soft, laid-back – name the synonyms. There was some bitterness in the beginning of the first session, but by the third, there was none. Notes of sweet grass and apricots are consistent. As each session goes on, the sweeter the liquor becomes, and little fruitier, with slight tang. I’m still surprised at how light this sheng is. The texture is smooth. Silky ‘round the middle. As for qi, I didn’t feel much. Caffeinated for sure. Also a little relaxed.