After I finished my oolong session this morning, I knew I needed to open up one of the reserved sheng samples I have. Being that it was nice outside, I wanted one with no smoke and little to no age on it. The selection was down to about 12 things so I kind of just grabbed this one at random, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, which is quite odd but I learned something interesting" The word ‘fecked’ means stolen. I hope one day I can tell a girl she fecked my heart because that’ll be witty :)
At first I looked at the leaf and there was a mixture of dark and light colors to it. Also to note, there were no silver hairs or white leaf within the piece. The first brew came out much lighter than I thought it might. I was expecting something strong, like ‘THIS IS MY LAST THOUGHT, YOU GONNA REMEMBER IT’ but it was nothing like that. Interestingly enough this tea wasn’t that complex and I nailed it down pretty quickly which to me says that this tea exemplifies in one area: clarity.
At first I thought there were notes of sugarcane, but then I quickly realized it was more of the sweet notes you get from a pickled vegetable. The theme for this was asparagus for me. Bang Dong has always been a zucchini tasting sheng and now that I am tasting something like it I am able to say that this has more of that texture taste that asparagus has; with a little more of a distinct sticky taste. Now this liquid is lip smacking which you’ll hear said about sheng that has some syrup likeness to it; which this has. While some may say it’s like honey, for me it’s like syrupy with the main difference of being a runnier sweetness rather than a honey which is thicker and for me sticks around longer.
Now the taste was great, very light which agreed with me 100%. Still taste quite new without that bitterness coming through as the leaf opens and settles. This leaf doesn’t open for a few steeps and was a little unique. At first I thought it was smaller and then I noticed as it opened up it almost looked like some wet dancong leaf. Some of the veins were twice the size of others which looked funny next each other.
My first session with this tea last about 90 minutes and then I went and ate some jalapenos and drank some Irish cream soda to reset my taste buds. Came back to the tea later on to see if it was the same. The sweetness was as I thought because it wasn’t near sugar, but clearly had some sweetness you find in a pickled mango (which I dislike); but no sour notes. Liquid still brewed out pretty clear. The sharpness was faded when I came back and it was dying out as I could tell which sucked, but I was at around 22 steeps by time I realized I didn’t have long before I said goodbye. I probably ended at 26 steeps, but this was meant for the clarity and taste for me rather than the longevity so I was quite pleased with it.
Price. Yes, that’s a thing as many have remarked on.