Review long overdue as promised…. Sample provided for review, which is based on the second of the two balls. I used my own parameters rather than the website’s. Brewed the 6.3g ball in a gongfu session, using 105ml zitao jianshui pot, at boiling water. Rinsed for a few seconds, rested for a few minutes. Steeping times: 10 seconds, 20, 15, 20, 20, 30, 40, 50; 1 minute, 5.

The dry leaf has a very light floral and sweet aroma. After letting the ball sit in the pre-heated pot, I smell more complex aroma that is buttery, sweet, and youthfully bitter. Again, not very strong. The wet leaf aroma, in contrast, is much more fragrant: stronger youthful bitterness, sweet, tart with citrus zest, and herbal-like with oregano.

The soup has a dark gold color, surprisingly dark having been presumably pressed in mid-2017. This sheng – made out of Jinggu material, fyi – is difficult to brew. The odd steeping times from the website didn’t work out for, but my personal familiar parameters didn’t work out either. It probably could have used longer and fewer steeping times in spite of the ratio not being that low (about 1:16), though 10 infusions is fine.

The first three infusions are somewhat cloudy. It took till the fourth infusion clear up completely and to really get on the ball with flavor and texture. The young bitterness is medium – not soft, but not a punch in the face. Young sweetness is also present. Good balance. I also taste lemon/citrus. The texture is creamy. The soup itself smells like mandarins. Huigan is at its strongest in infusions four through six, the last of which also fills the mouth with a minty flavor. The sweetness becomes an under-flavor in seven and eight. Bitter, vegetal notes take over. Huigan decreases in intensity. Texture loses creaminess but is still thick. The ninth infusion has nearly lost all flavor. A final five-minute steeping produces a heavily bitter soup with light huigan.

As for qi, my head felt stuffed early on in the session. Couldn’t concentrate on reading… I had to take a break to eat something.

Not the most enjoyable young sheng. The wet leaf aroma was complex and lovely, and I liked drinking the very middle infusions. I might be curious of how this could age 20 years down the line.


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I began drinking tea because its complexity fascinated me. I love learning about its history, its manufacturing processes, and its place in various cultures.

Japanese greens were my first love and gateway into the world.

My favorite teas are leafhopper oolongs, pu’erh (shou and sheng), and masala chai. My favorite herbal tisanes are spear/peppermint, lavender and chrysanthemum.

I’m currently exploring pu’erh, and any Chinese and Taiwanese teas in general. I’m not much into flavored teas, unlike when I first started. The only teas I truly dislike are fruity tisanes and the ones that have too much fruit. I do like hisbiscus, especially iced.

I like to write nature essays. I’m a birdwatcher as well as a tea enthusiast. The kiwi is one of my favorite birds. I also like Tolkien, Ancient Egypt, and exercising.

IMPORTANT NOTE, PLEASE READ: After two and a half years of having an account here, I will no longer will provide numerical ratings as an addition to the review because the American school system has skewed my thoughts on numbers out of a hundred and the colors throw me off. Curses! My words are more than sufficient. If I really like what I have, I will “recommend”, and if I don’t, “not recommended”.

Key for past ratings:

96-100 I adore absolutely everything about it. A permanent addition to my stash.

90-95 Superb quality and extremely enjoyable, but not something I’d necessarily like to have in my stash (might have to do with personal tastes, depending on what I say in the tasting note).

80-89 Delicious! Pleased with the overall quality.

70-79 Simply, I like it. There are qualities that I find good, but there also are things that aren’t, hence a lower rating that I would have otherwise like to put.

60-69 Overall “meh”. Not necessarily bad, but not necessarily good.

0-59 No.

If there is no rating: I don’t feel experienced enough to rate the tea, or said tea just goes beyond rating (in a positive way).


Westchester, NY

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